Last weeks adventure took me to the cobbled streets of Covent Garden for an evening of fabulous fun.
Having wanted to check out the cocktail bar and cabaret restaurant CIRCUS, we decided to start our evening with a cocktail in The Escapeologist, a relatively new bar in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden. If you sign up to their website you actually get a £10 voucher to spend, so we went along for our free cocktail to experience the bars cosy charm with a modern twist. The blue leather seating and bronzed bar very much make the place feel like a Victorian Gentleman’s Club (not that I’ve been to many of them) but the super cool “galaxy sky”, the very un-Victorian playlist, along with the mouth watering cocktail list combines the old with the new in the most fabulous way. It even has some cosy little booths scattered around for good measure, so it would be a great place for a small get together, or for a larger gathering.
A few paces around the corner found us at CIRCUS, which promised an unusual dining experience with a pan- asian menu and intermittent circus act performances. I was slightly hesitant in thinking that it would resemble a naff cabaret, and if the performers were as graceful as me, they would probably end up standing on my Miso Black Cod (and I’m not being funny, but I were to pay £32.00 for Miso Black Cod I wouldn’t want anyone rubbing their toes in it.)
The bouncer opened the door and we were greeted by a very charming hostess who ushered us passed the cloakroom to our seats. We were facing the top table (which doubled up as the stage) placed underneath the vaulted ceiling. The opulent decor combined with atmospheric lighting and mirrored walls made the venue feel sexy. And even though every table was full, despite the busy atmosphere, it still felt relatively intimate.
Shortly after ordering our drinks, the lights dimmed and we were presented with the first act, which was surprisingly entertaining. It did not feel awkward or weird (as I had anticipated it might be). The performance was long enough to captivate you and short enough to leave you wanting to see more.
Blow Torched Salmon Nigiri
I am not overly keen on sushi, but as far as sushi goes, it was good.
Chicken Truffle Shumai
Possibly the tastiest thing I have ever encountered. The four small bites exploded with flavour leaving a lovely taste of lemon. Make sure you get these, they are delicious!
Black Angus Fillet with shiitake mushroom, asparagus & caramel soy
This was difficult for me because 4 days previously, I promised to stop eating Beef in a bid to help ‘do my bit’ toward climate change (did you know that 1 molecule of methane (from a cows burp) is the equivalent to 24 molecules of carbon dioxide… and that’s not getting started on the deforestation to provide land for grazing). Well, let’s just say these things take baby steps, ‘weaning’ is probably the right word in this instance. When the plate landed on our table I think I literally dribbled into my Prosecco. After one tiny teeny nibble, I can tell you that it really was amazing. (“… no more beef, no more beef…”)
Chilean Sea Bass with Chilli bean, black bean, shaoxing wine, garlic & ginger
The meat of the sea bass was so juicy, and had just the right amount of chilli. I was very happy with my choice and would definitely recommend this dish.
Throughout our meal we had a further two acts, consisting of a trapeze artist and a salsa dancing duo who used the whole restaurant as their stage. Both acts were entertaining and couldn’t help but leave you with a huge grin on your face. We had our table for 2 hours (the time flew) and we were invited to the cocktail bar to continue our evening after our food, but we wanted to check out the quaint little pub next door.
The Cross Keys looks like something on a postcard. The traditional theme carries on inside and I cannot wait to return at Christmas to fully embrace the atmosphere… who knows, maybe I could start a good old sing along to Fairy Tale of New York?
As much as I want to tell you how our night continued into the small hours and consisted of cocktail sipping and dancing on the tables, we were actually tucked up in bed by 11.30, feeling very happy about the 3 locations that hosted our evening.
The next day, I inadvertently took the ‘CIRCUS’ theme a tad too far and ended up sitting at my desk dressed as a clown. Nursing a slightly sore head, I felt safe in the comfort of knowing that my work load consisted of hiding behind my laptop, until my boss walked in (he was supposed to be on holiday) demanding that I go to a client pitch with him. I can’t say I have ever turned up to a client meeting wearing Converse before, but at least I didn’t start juggling or miming to walk a tightrope.
A trip to CIRCUS was very enjoyable, make sure you mix up your night by adding a few more bars to your itinerary because Covent Garden is lovely, but it would be just as enjoyable to spend the entire evening perched on the cocktail bar and watching the remaining acts. I would definitely recommend.