Circus London – Amazing Entertainment, Stunning Food
February 21, 2016
Sometimes you just want something a little extra with your dinner… A little bit of escapism, an extra dimension to your standard three courses with wine… And that’s where Circus London comes in. It’s not a venue you’ll go back to every week, but it’s definitely somewhere you’ll recommend to friends when they’re looking for a night out that offers sophisticated dining with a quirky, cool, entertaining edge.
So what goes on?! Circus in essence is a cabaret club serving up top quality acts between courses, with an excellent menu to match. You might expect a place like this to deliver highly with the food or the entertainment, but we were blown away by the level of service, the staff and the presentation of the dishes and of the acts.
We arrived just after 7.30 on a Wednesday night. Already the restaurant was in full swing, pretty much all of the tables occupied – one huge ‘quartz’ table which can sit up to 28 peoples doubles as the stage. For this reason, all tables are positioned so you great a great view from wherever you’re seated. The restaurant itself is an explosion of personality and a reflection of the off-the-wall action you’re going to see. It’s re-launch at the end of last year has brought the interior down a notch. Some of silver and gold bling remains, but with a more stylish, minimalist edge. It’s a beautifully contemporary space, with some French chic influences, beautiful lights and lighting and a somewhat eclectic mix of banquette, table and more loungey seating which together, just all works perfectly.
Lucas the manager is amazing. Although I’m not sure how long he’s worked at Circus, I have a feeling he’s turned this place around – in the past I’ve read some not so great reviews, but fast forward to 2016 and Circus is a recipe for success. He explained to us how the menu has evolved to offer an extra dimension to the standard pan-Asian cuisine you’ll find in many restaurants. Interestingly, the influences are quite Mexican – spicy and smokey with plenty of chipotle! I couldn’t wait to order. Lucas explained that the cocktail menu had also been dreamed up mainly by the native Mexican barman Oscar – ‘a crazy scientist’ with a penchant for experimenting with flavours and ingredients. Big groups can indulge in the party punch bowls which serve around 20 people; there’s also an extensive list of champagnes (and sakesurprisingly) and a really good selection of red and white wines.
We ate. A lot. Because when we started ordering, we just couldn’t stop. As the dishes started arriving, they were so delicious and so different, that we just wanted more! Our feast began with a selection of starters. Lightly battered giant sized padron jalapeno’s (£10.50) with quite a kick, oozing mozzarella to balance the spice. Great big chunks of lobster tempura with white truffle aioli and lemon ponzu (£28) were served with the most delicious truffle mayonnaise, which was so good, we kept it on the table for our mains! Soooo tasty and reminiscent of really posh fish and chips! Our favourite starter though (which came highly recommended by Lucas) were the chicken truffle shumai dim sum (£7.95). Normally, I’m not a fan of dim sum, but these were just amazing – slightly crispy on the outside and the flavours which came through with that first bite were sensational with the chicken and truffle combined. We were about to order another four, but then the first acted started! Taking to the stage first, it’s fair to say this guy was athletic – spinning, twisting and turning on the ropes – his control was amazing. Throughout the course of the evening, we were also treated to performances which included a guy on roller skates break dancing across the table, a brilliant female fire eater which came with a bit of immersive drama, some topless action (it’s for over 21’s normally) and a grand finale which can only be described as acrobats on motorcycles. Every act lasts only a few minutes but they’re all totally engaging and enjoyable to watch. They also change each night, but you’ll always get to see a selection of theatrical talent – acrobats, contortionists and ariel hoop performers with a risqué edge.
Equally as engaging were our main courses. The miso black cod with pickled ginger and lime (£32) was simply divine and was beautifully soft – the ginger a perfect kick to compliment its delicate flavour. A smoked aubergine side with white miso, palm sugar, chipotle and chili (£5.50) might not jump out at you from the menu, but your tastebuds will most definitely thank you for it. And the black Angus fillet (£25) served with shitake mushrooms and balanced on soft asparagus spears with a caramel soy on the side was absolutely to die for – I mean caramel soy – simply delicious.
Never a fan of Chardonnay normally, Lucas thought we might like the Brownstone Chardonnay £29.50 – a lightly fruity Californian balance of pear, pineapple and citrus with a really nice rich finish. We did and were both reaching for our Vivino apps at the first mouthful – it’s definitely a bottle I’d like to drink more of!
Later on in the evening, word has it that Circus gets pretty lively, although on a school night, we couldn’t stay to find out! Dancing on the tables and a DJ on the weekends keep this place full of life into the early hours and after such an adrenalin fuelled experience, it’s easy to see how!
Circus are lifting their usual over 21’s policy for Mother’s Day, so over 16’s can treat their mum’s to a fabulous three course lunch on Mothering Sunday with reservations available at 12.30pm and 1pm on March 6th. Book here, trust us, this place has to be seen to be believed.