The Garden at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

British·
££££
·
London, WC2B 5JF ·Website ·Call020 3925 2910

SquareMeal Review of The Garden at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Covent Garden’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the oldest theatre in the world still holding performances, and with this grand title comes an impressive history and set of standards that the staff passionately uphold.

Before the pandemic the theatre underwent a generous renovation, which saw the cultivation of two new dining areas. Inside, the Cecil Beaton bar celebrates the glamour of this famous costume designer, with sketches of his designs for My Fair Lady decorating the walls. Outside, you’ll find a slightly more relaxed, but entirely enchanting casual eatery positioned in what was once - less glamorously - the theatre’s bin alley.

While The Garden may have originated from humble beginnings, it’s now an atmospheric Instagram heaven, decorated with fairy lit trees and glowing floor lanterns. Petite, brasserie-style tables offer somewhere to perch while theatre goers (or just those enjoying the shops and sights near Drury Lane) take the weight off.

The food menu has five options and most consist of sourdough toast and an accompaniment – so while these are tasty, this is a spot for a light bite. For example, the smoked duck breast rillette is full of favour, juicy and wonderfully thick piled on top of a thin slice of toast, cut by capers and cornichons for a salty twist. The organic black and red hummus with seasonal crudites is a pleasingly fresh snack, with raw carrots, radishes and salad.

Our top choice has to be the cheese board which is served on a platter carved from the wood taken from the old stage – you can even buy your own if you fancy bringing a piece of the theatre home with you. A generous serving of four cheeses includes Ossau Iratty, Comte, Gorgonzola Dolce and St Marcelin Fermier. This board is a good balance between soft and hard options, with a sweet quince paste to top each bite off.

For dessert, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane have teamed up with east London baker Lilli Vanilli to serve up her legendary chocolate cake and salted caramel chocolate brownie with peanut popcorn – both of which are said to be best sellers. For us, though, it’s all about the award-winning pastel de natas which are fresh, warm and very, very creamy. The crispy outer pastry and slightly crackly topping is just perfect.

You can’t visit The Garden without trying a cocktail, and as the delightful staff will tell you, the mixologists are quite talented. From the menu, we would recommend a Salted Caramel Espresso Martini which is a sweet take on the original (and no less punchy). You’re also welcome to request a classic cocktail – and, if you’re as basic as us, you might discover that the Pornstar Martinis are also pretty special. Think a wide brimmed coupe glass (which always gets extra points from us), a creamy consistency and zingy passion fruit taste.

Top tip: If you have time we’d recommend signing up for a theatre tour as the building’s story is fascinating and a new installation of Shakespeare-themed artworks from emerging talent Maria Kreyn is well worth seeing.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Under £30
Cuisines
British
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Late night dining, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Group dining [8+]

About The Garden at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Turns out a £60 million makeover can have some pretty impressive results. That figure is what Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber spent on the redevelopment and restoration of Covent Garden’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane. While there are four eating and drinking destinations within the complex, The Garden takes centre stage.

Here an all-day menu unfolds to offer guests a taste of seasonal British cooking at any time of day or night, and the best bit is you don’t have to be seeing a show to bag a table. Everyone is welcome. Combining indoor and outdoor dining spaces, The Garden is a little oasis in the middle of the creative chaos of Theatreland. The cavernous space is filled with natural daylights, oversized chandeliers and lush planting which combine to create a calming atmosphere.

Simple food is at the heart of the offering at The Garden, with classic light bites like potted shrimps or smoked duck breast rillette sitting side by side with sausage rolls and a platter of crudites and hummus. Cheeseboards are a specialty too, with combinations having been masterminded by Provisions fromagerie. Happy Endings provide ice cream sandwiches, while famed east London baker Lily Vanilli supplies a range of delicious bakes each day.

While the space isn’t a formal, sit-down affair, it’s all the more charming for its relaxed approach. The Garden is the perfect place to stop in after a spot of shopping or before seeing a show, and with no restrictions on what and when to eat there’s the freedom to order a generous selection of sharing plates for lunch or equally simply stop by for a few cocktails in the evening.

The drinks have a wonderfully botanical theme which is amplified in the signature cocktail list. Here the flavours of rhubarb and elderflower combine in the Brydge St Spritz, while a fruity punch makes the most of tropical flavours.


FAQs

Can you have afternoon tea at The Garden at Theatre Royal Drury Lane?

Afternoon tea at Theatre Royal Drury Lane is served in The Grand Saloon, a separate dining space

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Who owns the Theatre Royal Drury Lane?

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber owns the entire complex, including all the bars and restaurants

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Location for The Garden at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF

020 3925 2910

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