When watching a theatre performance, no one wants the performers’ renditions of I Dreamed A Dream or Mamma Mia interrupted by the loud gurgling of rumbling stomachs. But fear not: there are a plethora of West End restaurants that offer pre-theatre menus, so you can sit down for your 7.30pm showing totally full, and dedicate all your attention to the going ons on stage. We’re pleased to report we’ve discovered the fabulous pre-theatre offering at Fatt Pundit, which is most definitely worth a standing ovation. Why? Let us list the ways…
1. Fantastic flavours
Fatt Pundit serves Indo-Chinese cuisine: originating in Kolkata, the cuisine combines traditional Chinese cooking techniques with the spices of India. I can only sing the praises of the flavours we enjoyed in our meal (though no one will want an encore with my singing voice…)
The pre-theatre menu at Fatt Pundit is a curated version of the larger main menu, featuring a starters, small plates, sides, and desserts. The menu starts with a serving of momo, which are Nepalese steamed dumplings. We opted for the chicken momo, which were warm and fresh, straight from their steel steamers, and kept the hunger pangs at bay until the rest of the food arrived.
After your starter, choose from the likes of sticky sesame vegetables, Bombay chilli prawns, Malabar monkfish curry, and more. Our favourite was the Szechuan honey duck, served with pancakes and cucumber. To say it marries my two favourite Chinese dishes – duck pancakes and crispy shredded beef – doesn’t even do it justice: the sweetness and the spice perfectly complimented one another, the crispiness of the duck strips was unrivalled, and overall, I’d never had duck cooked like it before. For meat eaters, it is a must try. I must also give a special shout out to the tamarind-glazed baby potatoes side dish; again, I’ve never had potatoes like this, and I couldn’t get enough. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and covered in sweet, spicy tamarind, they were little balls of delight.
Now, dessert would absolutely be the main character in a Fatt Pundit play. The restaurant has teamed up with their Soho neighbour, Snowflake Gelato, to create the ‘Snowflake Gelato sizzling brownie’, and let me tell you, it is a show stopper. Served in an iron skillet, the chocolate brownie is rich and indulgent, topped with Snowflake Gelato’s vanilla and chocolate honeycomb ice cream. Then comes the pouring of the chocolate sauce onto the hot skillet: the result is mesmerising, as the chocolate bubbles away like lava for a good 45 seconds to a minute. Once the dish has cooled, you’ll be chocoholic heaven with every spoonful – the smell, the taste, everything.
Fatt Pundit has two West End branches – one in Soho and another in Covent Garden – and both are well placed for theatre goers. We visited the Covent Garden branch, which when we arrived, had queues out the door (so we highly recommend making a reservation). As the curtain is pulled back and you make your way inside from the bustling street, you’ll be welcomed into a restaurant that is spread across two floors, tempting you to your table with delicious aromas. Come evening, the venue is lit with low lighting, illuminating the thoughtful interiors just so. The walls are mostly plain, with a few accents influenced by Kolkata’s varied heritage. Simple yet effective.
Chances are, unless you’ve bagged yourself a nice little theatre deal (good on ya!) your West End ticket would have cost you a pretty penny. However, your meal at Fatt Pundit does not have to cost the world. In fact, you can enjoy two courses for £30 per person, or three courses for just an additional £3 (£33 pp). Pretty reasonable for central London. We left the place absolutely stuffed, having had three courses, so you’ll most definitely get your money’s worth too.
I really liked that Fatt Pundit offer a range of drinks, whether you drink alcohol or not; non-drinkers are not limited to just soft drinks. At the top of the drinks menu, you’ll find a choice of juicy fruit coolers, which you can opt to enjoy with or without alcohol… however, I did dabble in a cocktail or two on our visit. I really liked the Hakka Garden cocktail, which combined white rum, passionfruit and black raspberry to create a zingy serve, while the Chin Chin Choo was lovely and fruity, but with a more tart edge, thanks to the gin.
The service at Fatt Pundit is particularly standout: the staff are very friendly, and impart little facts about your meal as they come to serve you or recommend a drink or dish. We found out little nuggets of information about the dishes we ate through general chit chat with staff, such as how the momos are served with the traditional sauce (sesame), but also the chilli option to cater for a wider audience.
The team aim to anticipate your needs in advance, and I appreciated that each table was laid out with both chopsticks and knives and forks, so any awkward requests for more cultery could be avoided. However, given the rest of the service, I’m sure any request would be met with a smile.
Overall, Fatt Pundit is a wonderful pre-theatre spot: the food is delicious, the staff is welcoming, and you are well placed to head on to your next destination. Outside of 4.45pm–6pm, the restaurant has a wider menu packed full of delicious small plates, so you can visit whenever you like!