Find and book great restaurantsFind a Restaurant
|Address:||27-29 Endell Street, London WC2H 9BA|
|Tel:||020 7768 0275|
|Price: £52.00||Wine: £21.00||Champagne: £65.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sat 6pm-12M (Thurs -1am Fri-Sat -2am)|
This review hasn't been rated yet.
It’s easy to walk straight past Circus on Endell Street, Covent Garden, if you’re not paying attention. There’s no big top entrance, or street entertainers juggling or hula hooping outside. In fact, there’s nothing to betray the entertainment that awaits within, only a polite doorman who ensures you have the correct destination and bids you a pleasant evening as you enter a short corridor with a cloakroom at the far end, guarding the main doors to the restaurant and cocktail bar.
Since opening in January 2010, I’ve walked through those main doors on two other occasions. My guest for this particular evening had never seen what lies beyond the cloakroom. Her interest was immediately peaked by the Californian-sounding model attendant who took our coats and led us through to the main dining area with its catwalk showpiece table that doubles up as a performance stage.
Aware that the circus-style performances wouldn’t begin until after 8pm, I encouraged a visit to the bar before we settled down to eat. Circus’ bar cocktail list is designed by Henry Besant and the Worldwide Cocktail Club – the team responsible for the bars at Bungalow 8 and Notting Hill’s The Lonsdale. It’s a short but encyclopedic menu of cocktails from which my companion chose a Kumquat & Almond Caipirinha. Unable to decide, I asked the barman to surprise me with a bourbon-based creation. I already knew my drink would taste amazing however it was created so the requested surprise must have been its brink pink coloration when poured into a martini glass.
For dinner, I had the special of marinated steak in a tiger prawn and chorizo dressing whilst she opted for the cajun sea bass (I would have opted for the highly recommended 24 hour slow roasted beef short ribs if the special hadn’t changed my mind). For starters we shared baby squid and chicken and prawn satay skewers. The Circus menu is Pan-American (just like almost all the staff) and, just as on both my previous visits, the baby squid and steaks are divine perfection.
The first indication that a performer is about to take to the stage is the open kitchen’s shutters going down along with the lights. If you’ve timed your food order correctly this will coincide with the end of each course. If not, then it’s a straight choice between melt-in-the-mouth steak in the dark or an aerialist, performing on a hoop above the catwalk table.
On each of my previous visits the performances have been different so you never know what to expect. On my first mid-week visit, we stayed all night and witnessed the acts grow ever-more burlesque as the evening draws on. This time however was a Friday night and the DJ was playing more to the bar crowd than the diners who wished to talk. So after a hula-hoop girl, a fire-dancer and the aerialist, we settled the bill, saved our vocal chords and made our escape.
Thankfully, with Circus now catering for weekday and weekend brunch menus and quieter mid-week sittings, there are better times to plan a visit to ensure you get the full performance and dining experience in Covent Garden’s unique cabaret restaurant. The popularity of this particular Circus has ensured that it’s not about to leave town any time soon.