Cabaret craze in London


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To liven up the table talk at your next meal, I suggest adding a contortionist, an aerialist and perhaps a fire eater. That’s what you get at Circus, a trendy cabaret restaurant I visited in Covent Garden this summer.

By 8 p.m., the swanky hotspot was swarming with hipsters (but no sight of celebs like Leona Lewis, Jude Law and Sienna Miller, who visited earlier this year). Fortunately, they seemed to be of the unpretentious kind, as was the case with most Londoners I met during my trip. Chatty and unassuming. Another pleasant surprise: the menu was Pan-American, which in this case meant comfort foods galore like mac ‘n cheese and grilled cornbread. I opted for slow roasted beef short ribs and spicy crabs cakes with a mandarin and passion fruit mojito.

Beyond the sweet cocktails, there was an air of anticipation. What will the performers do? What will they (or won’t they) be wearing? Most important, will they encourage us to dance upon the tabletop stage, too? After all, the website does hint that the line between performer and audience member often gets blurred.

That’s the kind of place Circus is. Anything goes. Sadly, I didn’t have the chance to be a part of the Circus (that must happen later in the night), but I did get to dance like there’s no tomorrow at a nearby bar in SoHo, which was the perfect way to burn off the dessert calories. Although we were stuffed, my friends and I devoured the shared dessert platter. That meant sampling the raspberry ripple and white chocolate cheesecake served with a vanilla liqueur cream, the hurricane sorbet and the lime crème brûlée dish served with a lime coconut sorbet.

Overall, it was nice to escape the usual. That said, it’s not for everyone. If you’re not up for all the razzamatazz, using your outside voice to communicate with fellow diners or sharing a fishbowl-sized drink with the rest of the table, then steer clear. Otherwise, be prepared for food that is equally as enjoyable at the entertainment.

Go to to plan your cabaret night out.