When we got an invite to check out the new Theatre Café Diner, an invite that included some free food, we knew just the musical fanatic member of our team who would relish the chance. And so we sent Sidonie along to sample the food, sip a little drink or two and marvel at the musical themed decor before reporting back about this new venture that is already looking like the place to go for any diehard musical fan.
Tucked away on Shaftesbury Avenue between Cambridge Circus and the Shaftesbury Theatre is a hidden gem of wonders perfect for any musical theatre fan. Daytime passers-by could be forgiven for not noticing what’s inside 154 Shaftesbury Avenue, with its musical theatre poster windows hiding the magic that only becomes fully visible as the sun sets, and the lights inside the Diner brighten the street, drawing in passers-by to find out what excitement lies within.
The concept is simple; great food, musical theatre themed décor, and waiting staff who regularly grab a microphone and belt out a number or two. Cheesy? Potentially. But it works. The vibe is great. The staff clearly love a musical just as much as the customers, and it shows as they dance around, singing along to whatever’s playing on the jukebox while serving and chatting away with customers.
The menu is a nice mix of diner food, with some fantastic names to boot – whoever came up with them is a genius – I can highly recommend the La Vegan Boheme (Burger) and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake. The cake tastes just as I always imagined it would. There is also as a great selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non, to suit everyone’s taste. My dining companion was a big fan of the Long Island Iced Tea-nage Dream.
A lot of thought has clearly gone into the Diner’s design. The décor is a lovely mix of iconic pieces from a both current and older musicals, including some costume pieces that fans will love getting so close to. I personally loved the Kinky Boots red boot stall seats. There are three bookable booths, which are surely going to prove extremely popular. Two are dedicated to specific shows – Six and Heathers (although both are downstairs with no lift access which is a shame) and the ‘Royal Box’ which overlooks the ground floor, although this also requires navigating a few steps to enter.
Saluting older shows there are table areas dedicated to Cats and Joseph, both with a little extra pizazz to them, while every tabletop has a production photo from a different show. You never know whose face you will be dining off! And let’s not forget the loos, they are just as much a work of art, and whoever’s idea the back of cubicle doors was, I salute you! #IfYouKnowYouKnow and if you don’t, you must go and find out!
If you are looking for a meal pre- or post-show, or just a good place for a cocktail or two before a night out and you love musical theatre then this IS the place for you. You can’t help but leave with a smile on your face. I’d also go as far as saying it’d make a great venue for Hen, Stag, Birthday and Christmas parties – but make sure you enquire early. I suspect the Theatre Cafe Diner is going to find itself a very busy place once word spreads.
Location: 154 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8HL
Opening Hours: Mon & Tues: 3:30pm to 11:30pm, Wed – Sat: 12pm – 11:30pm, Sun: 12pm – 10:30pm
Pre-booking is advised, walk-up spaces are not guaranteed.