Where to go for dinner in Leicester Square? the typical answer is usually ‘straight out of the square and go somewhere else’.
Leicester Square is usually the last place I would go for dinner, unless of course I was taking part in a sponsored Bella Italia crawl and trying to eat my way through cheap pasta in all 37 branches of the chain that are dotted amongst the 12 cinemas here. But… hidden away (well, not really hidden) inside the historic Hippodrome is Heliot Steak House.
I haven’t been to the Hippodrome since a birthday trip to the city 10 years ago; when the lights and clubs of theWest End was all I knew of – I knew no better. I was also too drunk to remember what the food was like back then. 10 years later I am older and wiser with a more critical palate.
Straight away Heliot offers up the service and courtesy of a fine restaurant but without you needing to put in the effort. I had come straight from work, as had other diners, whilst some tables were clearly tourists. So it’s not a black tie affair, nor is it a shirt and shoes dining room. Nonetheless the staff welcome you with a smile, walk you to your seat and are brilliantly enthusiastic about the menu.
Our waiter gave suggestions throughout the meal, letting us know what was popular and what he recommended etc which was really helpful.
We started with seafood starters; a sea bass ceviche and scallops. Both were full of flavour and fresh. Whilst the mains, steaks selected from a wide range of beef cuts, were cooked to a perfect medium rare. I opted for a large ribeye whilst my partner went with a smaller fillet accompanied by Lobster tail – an option we very much welcomed!
Our sides consisted of the usual seasonal greens and fries then a ‘millionaires mac n cheese’ – I dare you to not order this! Mac and cheese covered in truffle shavings and topped with a poached duck egg. Amazing! Maybe too rich for some but hell, it’s worth it to only finish half the serving!
Drinks wise we started with a glass of prosecco and some cocktails. The waiter made his suggestions for my partner who was unsure of what to order and he returned with his own choice which was suitably sweet and easy to drink for her. I went off menu and requested an Old Fashioned which came promptly and couldn’t be faulted. I later ordered a glass of the house red to go with my mains which was perfectly fine for a house wine. No complaints on that front!
So, as to the question of where to have dinner in Leicester Square? Definitely look beyond the chains and fast food windows and slip inside the Hippodrome. Particularly if you have someone to entertain or simply want decent service.
The Hippodrome consists of a few rooms with entertainment, bars and casino which we didn’t get time to fully explore so no doubt we will be back!