Circus, Covent Garden

Dinner and a show

The Vibe

Down an unremarkable road in Covent Garden lurks a camp, glitzy and unforgettable dining spot called Circus. Leave your coats with the hostess and be led to the main room where you are either seated at a table of your own or get to share the head table with fellow revellers, a stage/dining table hybrid which you eat off whilst various characters parade on it, dancing, spinning, stripping, hula hooping, the works. Whilst the performative nature of Circus is key to why it is so popular, the shows are thankfully only every 15/20 minutes, giving you lengthy intervals to work at the conversation and menu. Expect to be warmed up with a nipple-tassled burlesque show and then have the pace picked up with a guy-gal sky high acrobatics set, gyrated to the soundtrack from Top Gun. It’s sexy stuff.

The Order

The food and drink are as showy as the setting. As you’d expect from a place that puts its gimmick at the forefront, the food is Pan-Asian, fussily laid out, made to pick at and share. Rather than choosing dishes for their potential gourmet credentials, go for what looks the most fun or the most decadent. Beef on burning hot rocks? Why not. Miso Cod for Mister Fancypants? Sure. If you order one of their special sake martinis be warned that it will not arrive in a slick cocktail glass but in a hefty receptacle that needs to be tampered with in order to get out the drink. You’ll either find this novel or annoying.

The Game

This is one of the few places where the game is stage managed by the venue. Your only job is to keep the cocktails flowing, make sure you’ve got a good seat (specify the head table or one of the bordering ones) and fill in the gaps between the show with witty repartee. If that fails, just critique the performances and guess at what will come next. The scantily clad performers and the steamy shows are a sure fire way to build up the sexual tension. Men will want to mimic the male acrobat, strip down to a bare chest and hoist you in the air. Women will mentally locate their nipple tassles and psyche themselves up for a second show. Just make sure you leave before Fat Elvis starts spinning his hula hoops, buzz kill.

The Faults

Mains average at £25 for a not particularly gourmet experience but really you’re paying for dinner and a show. There are few places like it.

Sex Factor

4. The focus is on cocktails, steamy performances and the high glam sex appeal of the place. It’s a sure fire way to loosen your date up and weaken some resolve.

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