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Pre-Theatre Dining in South Bank

July 8th, 2021 | by Tom Harrow-Smith

Pre-Theatre Guide to South Bank

Live performance and theatre have returned to South Bank, which means pre-theatre dining is no longer a relic of another era. Cut the drama out of choosing where to eat. With live theatre making a comeback this summer, pre-theatre restaurant menus are back. If you’re now stuck with the dilemma of where to eat before the show, we’ve whittled down the choices to make your decision a little easier. So, if you’re catching After Life or Under Milkwood at the National, a live classical concert at Royal Festival Hall or seeing Bagdad Café at the Old Vic, then this is the guide for you.

  • Skylon

    Skylon is set inside the Royal Festival Hall itself, making it the perfect place to head if you're catching one of the many classical concerts set to be held there this Spring and Summer. Skylon's set menu comes to £30 for two courses or three for £35, which given the quality of food on offer, is great value for money. And thanks to Skylon's location, you don't have to worry about rushing your food. 

    Affording stunning riverside views with its floor to ceiling windows, early evening makes it the best time to visit Skylon too, as you see the sun set, dusk settle in and the Illuminated River turn on its lights on Hungerford and Waterloo Bridges. The menu itself features such delights as Jerusalem Artichoke and Truffle soup to start, Seabass en Papillote for main and a citrusy Lemon Tart and Orange Sorbet to finish. Well, that's what I'd order, but you can make up your own mind by seeing the menu here.

    Skylon Restaurant & Bar
  • OXO Tower Brasserie

    Did you know that OXO Tower actually boasts two separate dining experiences? Whilst the Restaurant offers one of the best fine dining experiences in London, on the other side of this rooftop location is the OXO Brasserie, made for a more relaxed dining experience that reflects the buzz of London life, with pre-theatre dining welcomed. 

    Boasting great views (as you'd expect from the top of OXO Tower) and dishes on the menu such as grilled mackerel, whole roasted celeriac or beetroot, confit duck wings... it all sounds mouth wateringly delicious and we've only covered the starters! You can check out the full menu here.

    OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie
  • London Marriott County Hall

    What better place to match the atmosphere of heading to the theatre than dining in London Marriott Hotel County Hall? Set in the iconic County Hall building, Gillray's Chef's Hat Menu provides you with the best of an authentic British dining experience. Settle in to enjoy dishes such as 32 Day Aged Rump Steak or Crispy Pork Belly, before heading to your entertainment for the evening (if you have tickets to Witness for the Prosecution, you won't have to travel far!)

    Enjoy 2 courses of the set menu for £22 per person, or £25 for 3 courses. Valid for lunch daily between 12:00 and 16:45, and dinner Sunday to Friday 17:00 - 21:45. Max 6 per table. You can find their complete menu here

    Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar
  • Côte Brasserie

    For years Côte Brasserie have been known for their delicious French food with a regular Prix Fixe menu, served between midday until close Monday to Thursdays and from midday to 7pm on Fridays and weekends. These flexible hours give you a fantastic option, especially if you are catching a matinee rather than weekend performance. 

    You can view the Prix Fixe menu here, which includes dishes such as Crispy Whitebait and their classic Steak Frites.

    Côte Brasserie
  • Brasserie Blanc

    Another great option for those wanting proximity to The National Theatre, Brasserie Blanc serve up their Pre-Theatre menu Monday to Saturdays from 4 – 6.30pm. There’s plenty of summery dishes too, including the likes of; Cucumber gazpacho, lemon crème fraîche, cucumber & dill julienne; Herb-crusted cod fillet, sautéed leeks, mousseline potatoes, saffron sauce; and steamed lemon sponge pudding, confit lemon, lemongrass syrup.

    With a raft of gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options included on the menu, everyone will be able to enjoy. Click here to view the Brasserie Blanc menu.

    Brasserie Blanc
  • Wahaca

    Who doesn’t love a Wahaca? This is one of South Bank’s most striking restaurants, made from recycled shipping containers that straddle the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth Hall. Known for their speedy service, it makes a great alternative to the typical pre-theatre options, especially when you order one of their set menu's, which comes as either a meat based or vegetarian option.

    Even if you don’t have the time for a sit down meal, with Wahaca’s takeaway taco van parked right outside on the riverfront, you’ll always be able to pick up a delicious bite before your show. Plus, if you’re heading to the Old Vic, there is even another Wahaca restaurant just a stones throw from the theatre too.

    Wahaca South Bank
  • The Green Room

    Ideally located just behind The National Theatre, you won’t find a handier spot for a meal before you head over for the performance. The restaurant even gets its name from its close ties with The NT, as a ‘green room’ typically functions as a lounge for performers before and after their shows in theatrical venues. The Green Room is a single-storey pavilion surrounded by a beautiful garden. Designed by Benjamin Barfield Marks, the timber-framed building won the top award in the temporary category of the New London Architecture Awards in 2015.

    With a brand spanking new pre-theatre menu, it’s the perfect way to grab a quick, high-quality bite before watching a show. Mains include a choice of grilled sardines or miso rump steak, plus, there’s vegan and vegetarian options for each course too. You can view the Pre-Theatre menu in full here and please bear in mind the menu is only available for advanced bookings from 5 – 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

  • Marsha

    Lying on the riverside end of Gabriel's Wharf, London's oldest pop up market, Marsha boasts great views and an idyllic location, plus it's only a two minute walk along the Queens Walk to the National Theatre. Offering something a bit different for their pre-theatre menu, at Marsha you can grab six small plates for £35, perfect for sharing if you're heading on a date night to the theatre. It's available Monday to Saturday from 4pm to 7pm. 

    Marsha's small plates include an eclectic range of offerings, such as smoked cheddar mac and cheese, bang bang cauliflower, crispy chicken skins, padron peppers, flatbread and hummus and gochujang wings with a kimchi slaw. With 12 dishes to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice! You can see Marsha's full small plates menu here.


Find The Venues

  • 1 - Skylon Restaurant & Bar

    Royal Festival Hall
    Belvedere Road
    London SE1 8XX 

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  • 2 - OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie

     Oxo Tower, Barge House St, London SE1 9PH

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  • 3 - Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar

    London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB


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  • 4 - Côte Brasserie

    Festival Terrace, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

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  • 5 - Brasserie Blanc

    9 Belvedere Rd, South Bank SE1 8YL

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  • 6 - Wahaca South Bank

    Queen Elizabeth Hall
    SE1 8XX

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  • 8 - Marsha

    56 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PP

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