Memory likes to play tricks to people’s minds. You always think the past is better than the present. I have visited the fascinating cabaret restaurant and cocktail bar that is Circus at Covent Garden on various occasions when it first opened. What was surprising was almost every aspect of the venue seemed that much slicker and sharper than I remembered from previous visits.
The entrance is still as hidden and discreet as ever on Endell Street in Covent Garden. The inside is however a hive of activity, as you would expect in a circus. The table to try to book is the stage table where you wine and dine a mere few centimetres from the performance stage.
The performers are stunning in every sense of the word from their looks to their performance. The acts are all likely to be ones you have seen before such as aerial acrobatics or fire-eating but the enjoyment derives from the close proximity to the artists. It is also packaged in an innovate format, such as a bout of boxing which turns out to be a dazzling gymnastics performance climaxing with a one-handed handstand on another performer’s head.
Thankfully the pan-Asian menu is as captivating as the performance on stage. The yellow tail sashimi is not just fresh but well-seasoned with jalapeno, pickled beetroot and fennel and the addictive truffle soy works incredibly well in any dish. Their prawn tempura isn’t just with standard prawns but the sweet red variety and flavoured with chilli aioli and lime ponzu.
The miso black cod is as stunning as any version in town including the version introduced to London by Nobu. The cod is firm and gently sweet and matched with pickled ginger and lime.
I haven’t seen many venues offering yoghurt cake for desserts. It is a very refreshing take especially when it comes with mango salsa and sorbet with coconut foam and lime. You do notice their love of exotic fruits with passionfruit as a cheesecake flavour and even an exotic fruit salad option along with lime and lemongrass granita.
Cocktails are no less tropical when you see ingredients like Asian spiced blood orange and homemade rhubarb and ginger purée. Their tropical take on the dark and stormy uses papaya, peach, mango, pineapple, guava and lemon and at only £10, their cocktail prices are very reasonable. The food prices are relatively on the high side, but you do have to factor in having performances included in the experience and the top quality nature of the produce used. Advanced booking is strongly advisable as they are very popular for private events and as a venue for dates.