Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Bend It Like Beckham The Musical & Hutong, The Shard

My mother in law is about to turn sixty and as a surprise the hubby and I arranged a little day out for her! We began with a matinee performance of Bend It Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre by Leicester Square tube station. We splashed out on excellent seats as it was a special treat and paid £70 each to sit on the front row of the dress circle. Drinks were expensive as always in the West End but as a guide for a Pepsi, medium glass of sauvignon blanc and a double gin and tonic we paid £19.50. They have a system whereby you can order at your seat, which worked well.

The show itself is amazing! It's hilariously funny and very true to the film. The cast are incredible and portray the characters superbly. The songs are catchy and relevant and the staging is clever, especially for the bending the ball! Even Becks himself makes an appearance! If you fancy a light hearted and different style musical then this is one for you. The Bollywood dancing and music brings the whole show to life, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Ensure you book seats in advance as the theatre was full hence you could not have bought a ticket on the day.

After the show we jumped onto the tube for an early dinner at Hutong, in the Shard. On arrival we were ushered into the lift for our ascent to the 32nd floor. Hutong is then situated one floor up on the 33rd floor via a large glass staircase with sweeping views across London. We were slightly early for our table so were seated in the bar for a pre-dinner drink. Cocktails begin at £15 each, which is pricey but I was on dry January so couldn't be tempted! The hubby tried a "no smoke without fire", which consisted of tequila, lemon juice, Chambord, passion fruit, pineapple juice, bitters, mint and raspberries and I was told it was like drinking a sunshine holiday!

We were then taken to our very spacious table with incredible views over the city. You cannot reserve window tables, however, all tables have a view due to the floor to ceiling windows in the restaurant. The staff cannot do enough to help you here and made a huge fuss of my MIL for her birthday including presenting her with a passion fruit and white chocolate desert complete with candle. The waiters explained the menu and helped with ordering.

We ordered from the a la carte menu and agreed to share dishes. We chose the vegetarian spring rolls, four pieces for £8.50. These were crisp and generously filled. Crispy prawn rolls, which were eight small pieces for £11.50. These were my favourite starter and I would recommend ordering them. They were light and crisp and super tasty. The wilted spinach was a generous portion but it was cold, which I hadn't expected. It was OK but for £12.50 a portion I am not sure I would rush to order it again. Our final starter was the roasted Peking duck for 2-3 people at a price of £30. The duck was sliced at the table and was enough for four people to have two pancakes each. Hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onion was topped up throughout the duck course.

Roasted Peking Duck

At this stage I was still quite peckish and worried we had not ordered enough food! However, the mains are far more generous and filling. I also think the mains are more impressive and tasty than the small starter selection. We had the Kung Po fried prawns with cashew nuts, they were slightly spicy but nothing too hot. There were eight prawns for £28. The sautéed crispy shredded beef with chili was delicious! Again there was plenty for four people to share and was priced at £27.50. The Mongolian style BBQ rack of lamb was tender and succulent, however, be warned, the accompanying sauce is incredibly hot! The lamb was £34 for a dish and again enough meat for four people.

Kung Po Prawns

Crispy Shredded Beef

BBQ Rack of Lamb

Spicy Fried Rice

Side dishes are expensive here. We were advised to order two between the four of us and we chose two portions of the Hutong spicy fried rice! It does have a kick but nothing too crazy and has some lovely juicy prawns mixed in, however, two portions was a bit too much and at £11.50 per portion quite pricey for rice. Our final dish was the second half of the duck. This was stir fried and presented with lettuce to make duck lettuce wraps. These were really tasty!

By the end of the meal we were completely stuffed! Three starters, three main courses, two side dishes and the duck were more than enough to feed four hungry guests. We ordered a bottle of red wine (wine begins at around £40 per bottle), a cocktail, a mocktail, three soda and limes, a coffee and the food, which came to £290 including 12.5% service charge. This restaurant should be saved for special occasions, however, the staff are great, the view is incredible and the food is pretty tasty too! Our guests were certainly impressed.

On your way home make sure you visit the bathrooms as they come with a view too! Reserve a table in advance if you have a date in mind as the restaurant and bar were full to capacity when we arrived at only 6pm on a Saturday evening. Also note that large luggage will not be permitted in the Shard and the restaurant does have a £25 per head cancellation charge for less than 24 hours notice.