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Circus London

Circus London review: glitz, glamour and goddamn good grub

4 November 2018 Ellie Swain

Upon entry, you might easily mistake the restaurant for some sort of glitzy club. A white quartz platform table with steps leading up to it forms the centre-point, and dim lighting gives the darkened room a sultry glow. But this is no club, nor is it any ordinary restaurant: this is Circus.

A stylish West End restaurant and cocktail bar, found in the heart of London’s buzzy Covent Garden, Circus dishes up modern pan-Asian cuisine and is famous for its unique dinner entertainment: cabaret and – you guessed it – circus acts. Different acts entertain every half an hour or so in short bursts, which means arrival at the recommended time of 7.00pm allows guests to catch around four different performances while they eat.
 
And this is dinnertime theatre at its very best. Each act of the evening was different from the one before, from a writhing, glitter-clad showgirl showing impressive flexibility on hanging ropes, to a male performer dancing elegantly through suspended hoops. A particular highlight was the act in which the performer used a crimson umbrella as a prop, balancing it dramatically on one foot to the aptly chosen ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna as she laid sprawling across the table – now that’s talent. Between courses, we were greeted by the smiley and enchanting magician of the evening, Laura, who kept us on our toes with her impressive sleight of hand. Teamed with entrancing strobe lights, catchy tunes and roaring applause, the atmosphere in the restaurant is electric.

So, the entertainment is there, but is the food up to scratch? Well, the first good sign is that the acts are spread out sporadically throughout the evening, so you’re still able to focus on your food and company, meaning nothing is taken away from the dining experience.
 
The second good sign? The excellent and varied fish selection on the à la carte menu. To begin, we enjoyed crispy red prawn tempura dipped into zesty lime ponzu sauce and tuna sashimi, which proved a delightful explosion of intense flavour, and made it hard to resist another fish course when moving on to the main. Happily, both the black miso cod, served with pickled baby ginger and lime, and the teriyaki salmon with mustard, red onion and ginger were cooked to perfection, the succulent slices both coated with sweet, sticky sauces. And if you aren’t a fish fan, there are plenty of other options, including a vegan curry.
 
The dessert menu, too, listed a whole host of tantalising treats, but the fortune cookie seemed to fit the theatricality of the evening. Served with the delicious pairing of creamy banana ice cream and nougat parfait, the cookie was perfectly crisp.
 
From entry to exit, the service could only be described as faultless. Our friendly and glamorous hosts were constantly on hand to ensure that we were well looked after. In fact, in pretty much all aspects Circus is a perfectly executed, perfectly entertaining London night out, ideal for a celebrating a special occasion in the city. Just don't forget to don your glad rags - this dazzling place screams out for your best shoes.

Circus, 27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden WC2H 9BA
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