It is a sad fact of almost all Londoners’ (or, more accurately, the myriad of people of varying backgrounds who currently call London home) lives that they don’t go out in the West End nearly as much as they should. The theatres, the shows, the musicals, the opera are all playing in their abundance every night and yet, we seem not to make it out there nearly often enough. My wife and I decided this year to try to improve on last year’s pretty dismal record and are doing relatively well thusfar. On new year’s day we took in a production of Henry V with Jude Law putting in a star turn as the eponymous hero. Last week we ventured for something a little different in the shape of Frank Skinner’s first stand-up show for six years.
One of the benefits, however, of heading out into theatreland is the plethora of pre- and post-show dining options that abound from the many fine restaurants that reside in this part of London (warning: there are also many not-fine restaurants, too). Prior to the show I decided to use the opportunity to trial a restaurant that I’d heard many good things about and had been on my “List” for a little while: the Green Man and French Horn. They specialise in French cuisine and wine and have an excellent pre-theatre offer which allows you to take two courses for a very reasonably £14.50 each, plus a glass of house red or white for a further £4.
My wife and I both opted to go straight for the main course, which was a fantastically hefty pork chop served on a bed of cannelloni beans and a rich, deep broth. This was non-pretentious, hearty, rustic French food – and I loved it. The pork was delightful; nice and fatty and flavoursome – just how it should be. I had a glass of the house white to accompany the pork, a 2013 Muscadet Nouveau from Domaine Joseph Landron (Loire). It was lightly flavoured with subtle hints of apple and citrus fruits. On the palate it was bright, light and acidic with a short to medium finish. Nothing to get particularly excited about, but it was a suitable match for the juicy pork.
For my pudding I decided to revert to form (following some rather sweet outings in recent times) and opted for le fromage. I was presented with a rather gorgeous portion of La Mojette (not sure on spelling there…) – a cows’ milk cheese which was rich, creamy and deep. I do so wish that I’d had a nice port to see this away with, but I was trying to restrain myself as this was only a pre-theatre supper!
All-in-all, this was exactly what I was looking for in a pre-theatre venue. They had asked me when I booked if I was on my way to a production so that they could make sure that I was served in time to allow us to make the curtain. The ambiance in the restaurant was charming (although I did take a wrong turn looking for the lavatories and found myself in the wine cellar – oops!) and the waiters were suitably French (charming, if a little cool). I will certainly be returning so that we can have a slightly more leisurely dinner off the full menu.