Boom & Bang Circus image courtesy of The Hippodrome
I’ve walked by The Hippodrome Casino at Leicester Square a zillion times. Not a gambling man, I never thought there was much inside the large scale and lavish venue for me. However, taking up an invitation to give Hippodrome’s food, booze and entertainment a try, I discovered there’s more to this Central London landmark than gambling.
Dinner at Heliot Steakhouse – inside the casino with in-the-round seating above the main gaming floor – was much more of an indulgent treat than I had expected. A starter course of baby gem salad with blue cheese and caramelised pecans (£5) was delish, and I thoroughly loved my 18oz slab of USDA Prime beef rib on the bone (done medium rare, £26). Accompanying steak sauces were just okay in all honesty, as were the sides (£3 each) that I tried, such as fairly yummy fries and a so-so mac and cheese.
My dining compadres (Kemey and I did a Friday night double date with dynamic duo Krista and David from London blog, neon) seemed as pleased or more with their assortment of dishes. Although, if you’re not headed to Heliot in the mood for a steak you might be a little underwhelmed by the menu. But if you ever find yourself hankering a quality cut in Central London, by all means keep this place in mind. Indeed, I reckon its claim to have the “best value USDA Prime steak in town” is probably true.
A bottle of Armenian red wine – Zorah Karasi, Areni Noir, 2012 – (as suggested by our server Theo, £70) was an intriguing and commendable quaff. Service was delightful and prompt throughout our meal. I got a kick out of dining in such a buzzing venue. Keen to catch some live performance and grab a cocktail, we skipped dessert and headed across the casino to its cabaret theatre.
We saw two shows – a “kinkier and naughtier” Vaudeville 8pm act called Sensual Dreams and “exotic night time extravaganza” Boom & Bang Circus at 11pm. Both were immensely enjoyable providing lots of laughs via highly entertaining lowbrow performance. Perhaps taking itself just a tad too seriously, Sensual Dreams had a Twin peaks meets X Factor feel to it, though I don’t think that was actually the intended effect. Boom & Bang, with a cast including burlesque star Kitty Bang Bang and transvestite ringmaster Johnny Woo, presented edgier and more seductive reasons for applause.
The shows proved a perfect lark for the double date I was on. I imagine they would be ideal for bigger occasions such as hen nights as well.
Service was good during performances. Cocktails cost £10; I was pleased with the Old Fashioned enough to order a second one. The Hippodrome has live acts performing most nights of the week and predominately of the burlesque and cabaret variety.
Bottom line? A great steak and some saucy entertainment on a Friday night with close friends was a superb way to kick off my weekend. I’m happy to recommend The Hippodrome as a safe bet for a fun night out.
The Hippodrome is located at Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH (you can’t miss it). Find out more at hippodromecasino.com.