Review: Circus Restaurant, Covent Garden, London
Style Points: 4/5
Circus is a restaurant that is far less conspicuous than an actual circus you might be surprised to learn. You'll spot a security guard outside an unassuming entrance in Covent Garden and will be welcomed over to your table at this pan-asian restaurant following an invite to use the cloakroom.
Circus has a long hall with square dining tables and an additional extra long rectangular table which doubles as a stage bathed in spotlights and this is where the regular entertainment takes place.
Every 30 mins or so, the room is bathed in darkness and music roars from the speakers. Dancers/acrobats then appear and climb the stage before dancing and engaging in circus-style acts (rest assured - there are no juggling clowns). The entertainment is very enjoyable, each section seems to have a theme and people on the lucky table which doubles as a stage are right up close to the action.
Would I Want Seconds?
The cocktail menu at Circus boasts an exciting array of cocktail fusions. After some internal deliberation, I opted for a Carousel And my guest went for a Bee Boy. The Carousel cocktail came in a glass that could pass as a large candle holder, crowned with a mini toffee apple and mini candy floss on each handle. The Carousel cocktail (Martell VSOP, Bold cherry, homemade dark Morrelo cherry sorbet, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, peach liquor) was served with crushed ice and was very sweet and fruity. My guest's cocktail Bee Boy (Beefeater gin, lemon juice, ginger cordial, Mexican honey, cloudy apple juice) was smooth and tasted of honey with a pleasant kick of ginger served in a wooden cup.
For our starters I ordered the yellowtail sashimi (truffle soy, jalapeño, pickled beetroot and fennel), this was beautifully presented and well marinated; perhaps a little too much marinade but it tasted delicate and flavoursome.
My guest's main course was the date and water chesnut gyoza (spinach and red sweet vinegar) was encased in a soft pastry, packed full of flavour, served hot with a delicious sauce. I was convinced it was duck gyoza, I had no idea I was eating a vegetarian dish.
Let's talk main courses, shall we? I ordered the miso black cod (pickled baby ginger and lime) which again was beautifully presented, it was wrapped in a leaf and the texture was very silky with a strong taste of that unique characteristic miso flavour.
My guest ordered the black angus fillet (Shitake mushroom, asparagus and caramel soy) ordered medium which although it had flavour, was quite charred on the sides and quite chewy.
On the sides were steamed rice (toasted sesame seeds) and smoked aubergine. The rice was tasty and was the perfect consistency. The aubergine (white miso, palm sugar and chipotle chilli) was quite dark, smoky and a little spicy; the taste wasn't really to our preference.
On to desserts and the waiter recommended the yoghurt cake (mango salsa, coconut foam, lime and mango sorbet) which my guest ordered. I wasn't sure what to expect but yoghurt cake reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake. It had a sponge cake like coating and was moist on the inside. The foam and sorbet that accompanied it was sumptuously sweet.
I ordered the churros and vanilla poached peach (dolce de leche sauce and green tea sugar) the kitchen kindly served the dolce de leche on the side as I had told them about my dairy intolerance. The Churros had a slightly crispy texture and they were lightly dusted with green tea sugar. This made them a little dry but of course this would not have been the case if I had them served in the sauce as they were intended. The caramel ice cream was amazing, perfectly made and balanced out the taste of the churros.
Could I Afford Seconds?
We had the yellowtail sashimi (£15.00) and gyoza (£7.00) starters, black cod (£32.00), Steak (£25.00), rice (£3.50), aubergine (£5.50) for our mains and the churros (£7.50) and yoghurt cake (£7.50) for dessert.
This worked out as £51.50 each or £56.50 if you include a cocktail which makes it more of an occasion rather than a regular visit for my budget.
Circus is a unique London evening out and that is always guaranteed. The entertainment is not just a novelty but becomes an integral part of the experience and leaves you on an ultimate high. The well-prepped and presented food and drink is a bright burst of colour against the monochrome interiors. A circus on stage but the restaurant is sleek and seamless as they serve around the entertainment.