I’d been looking forward to the evening for a long time. I bought tickets for the great Tom Stoppard’s new play, Leopoldstadt, months ago. I asked my son if he’d like to join me. I go to the theatre quite a bit and usually with friends but I was pretty certain that Jonathan would love any Tom Stoppard play. And because he was coming with me, I decided the absolute best place for a pre-theatre menu would be Marcus Wareing’s Tredwells. Not only because it has become one of my favourite restaurants, but also because it was ideally situated just round the corner from Wyndham’s Theatre.
I arrived first, having booked a table for 5.45pm, with a view that we should leave around 7. I was slightly surprised to be taken down to the basement area having only eaten upstairs before. Just as I was mentally saying to myself that next time I booked I must remember to ask to be seated upstairs, I saw that the basement was really attractive too.
Jonathan was slightly delayed – updating me by text – and sitting there by myself for a few minutes it became impossible to resist the temptation of ordering a Gunpowder Gimlet (£12). I’m not a great cocktail drinker but this one has come as part of a fixed menu a couple of times and I love it. A mix of Opihr Gin, Cardamon, Green Tea Syrup & Lime, it’s just the most delicious drink to start an evening. When Jonathan arrived he thought he’d like one too!
The pre-theatre menu is priced at £25 for 2 courses; £30 for 3. There was a choice of 4 dishes for each course.
I chose Chargrilled Prawns, Taramasalata, Focaccia & Jerusalem Artichoke to begin (£3 supplement). It was gorgeous; a nice chargrilled flavour to the prawns and bread without being overpowering; a deeply indulgent smooth taramasalata and little slivers of artichoke.
Jonathan chose Miso Glazed Cabbage, Cavolo Nero & Hazelnut. My dish had been gorgeous; this one was stunning. It was so good Jonathan wanted me to try it and I was seriously impressed!
For my main I had Cornish Hake, Yellow Split Peas, Crispy Kale & Salsa Verde. The hake was perfectly cooked so it was still beautifully moist.
Jonathan knew what he was having before we arrived – the same as last time! And second-time around didn’t disappoint. He had Chargrilled Hanger Steak, Braised Onion & Peppercorn Sauce (£5 supplement). They’d asked how he’d like his steak and it was as gorgeous as the last time; the sauce in a small jug on the side.
We both needed ‘sides’ with these dishes so ordered some Triple Cooked Chips (£5), which are fantastically crisp on the outside and gorgeously fluffy in the middle. We also both ordered glasses of wine to go with our mains: a white Spanish Albariño for me (£7.50) and a red Rioja for Jonathan(£9.50). We drank tap water and although a carafe wasn’t left on the table, it was regularly topped up without having to ask.
It was a fantastic meal – again! – at Tredwells. The staff had been very attentive to our need to be fairly quick. We were asked as we went in if we were going to the theatre and everyone seemed to know and I could see them keeping a close eye on how we were doing, then clearing our plates and bringing the next course, or ordered drinks, quickly. It was more expensive than my usual pre-theatre meals (especially because of adding in the Gimlets!), but Tredwells is truly something special.
As for the play, Leopoldstadt was special too, extraordinary, moving and very powerful. Jonathan said it was the best play he’d ever seen; that its complexity, layers and use of language warrants another viewing and he wants to go back with his wife.