Bank holiday Monday was glorious, Ed and I decided to have a date day and booked tickets to see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at the Harold Pinter Theatre as it is his favourite book. So of course I went on the hunt for the perfect pre-theatre menu for some pre-show indulgence.
I came across Leicester Square Kitchen on bookatable.com and was totally sold by the fact they had been featured on celebrity Masterchef and the concept behind the food was sharing. I think it’s a given fact that girls love sharing food with their boyfriend’s and the boys all turn in to James Corden from Gavin and Stacey with his lamb bhuna. (If you don’t understand the reference google it because depending on who you side with it will say a lot about you as a person).
The pre-theatre/lunch menu works as follows: each person picks one dish from each section and there are three “main meal” sections and a fourth of deserts. We were completely full after three so it ended up being £22 each for six dishes. Considering how crazy London prices can be I think this is such good value as tapas style meals are notoriously expensive!
Before I dive in to the individual dishes, I want to give a shout out to our waiters as the service we received was excellent! Whilst the restaurant was pretty empty as we were eating early, the staff were so attentive and made sure out water was refilled, cleared away empty plates promptly and were very conscious to check we had everything we needed!
Whilst I haven’t taken a picture of every dish (we had up to three dishes crammed on our tiny table at any one time and I was honestly just too interested in the food) I have ranked all six dishes we had out of ten, to hopefully give you an idea of the ones you simply can’t miss out on! We did also have quac and chips to nibble at the start and the quac was simply divine. It came in pretty steeply at £7.50 for what was just a bowl of quac and tortilla chips, but I would hesitantly say that the price was worth it for one of the best quacs I’ve ever had!
cripsy duck and pomegranate ensalada with papaya chilli dressing 10/10
This was the absolute stand out dish for me! I’m not normally a massive salad person, I’d never normally order a salad in a restaurant but the thought of crispy duck and juicy pomegranates was something I couldn’t not try. For me, this dish had the perfect balance between the meaty duck, zesty dressing and the bursts of freshness from the fruit. Both Ed and I agreed this dish was one of our favourites, hence why it’s earned the top spot on my list. A lovely fresh addition to the line up!
CRIPSY TIGER PRAWNS WITH CAYENNE PEPPER MAYO 9/10
These were some of the juiciest prawns I have ever had in my life! This was our final course to arrive so by this point we were pretty stuffed, but the fresh and crispy prawns helped me power through. Despite being cooked to perfection in a crispy batter, the prawns kept their salty flavour and were delightful. The cayenne pepper mayo was such a great accompaniment and was my favourite dip of the day, as the others were a little too tequila-y for me.
MEXICAN MATCHSTICK CHICKEN WITH HABENERO 8/10
The matchstick chicken was simply divine. Ed and I have sampled a lot of chicken wings over the past few months after being in the states and even have tickets to go to wingfest (don’t ask) in a few weeks, but I honestly think this chicken will be hard to beat. The only thing that stopped it getting the full 10/10 was the habenero sauce. Obviously habenero is a hot chilli, however it really was just a bit too much after the multitude of strong mexican flavours we had already eaten by that point. Instead of leaving a full flavour in my mouth it just burned which was not the best when we still had a few dishes to eat.
ROBATA PISCO GLAZED SMOKED PAPRIKA RIBS 8/10
The ribs had an almost sweet yet smoky taste and were a really nice break from all the spicy Mexican flavours. The meat was so tender and was served sizzling hot in a cast iron dish. The sauce was sticky and very more-ish and if you are a rib lover then these are a must order, as they were so different to the BBQ ribs I am used to.
BLACK PEARL PEPPERED CALAMARI WITH TEQUILA LIME SAUCE 7/10
The only reason this dish wasn’t rated any higher was simply that I preferred the prawns and they were very similar. The calamari was lovely and crispy, let down only by the sauce. I am not a tequila fan, but mixed with food I don’t mind it, yet both Ed and I found ourselves saying that the sauce had an uneven tequila flavour and some times it was just too overpowering. Still, if you are a seafood lover then it is a lovely dish and worth sampling!
SMOKED TUNA TOASTADAS WITH TEQUILA LIME MUSTARD TOASTADA 6/10
I would say that this was the only dish I ‘didn’t like.’ It came in a platter of three and usually Ed and I would either fight for the third or split it, but after one bite I handed him the third instantly. To be completely honest I’m not sure what element of the dish it was really that didn’t do it for me, but I think the mixture of the raw tuna with tequila was just a little off. The flavours just didn’t quite mesh harmoniously together for me, hence it comes bottom of my list with 6/10.
I would definitely consider going back to Leicester Square Kitchen if we are ever in the area again, as there were so many other dishes we wanted to try! Even if it was just to order six of the duck salads… For a pre-theatre menu I think the value for money is excellent and if you like Mexican/Peruvian food, or are just a fan of strong flavours and trying something new, then I would definitely recommend a visit!
Have you ever been to Leicester Square Kitchen? Let me know in the comments! If not, leave a comment with your favourite pre-theatre menu in London and I’ll be sure to check it out!