Steak & burlesque: Date night at the Heliot / Hippodrome

Huge steaks and burlesque cabaret: that’s got to be a good combination for date night, right? And last night, that’s exactly what me and my fella-me-lad got at the fabulous Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square…

It wasn’t our first visit to this unique and buzzing venue.

We originally popped in late one night last October. Celebrating a friend’s 40th, we were looking for a classy place to drink late night cocktails…with its 24-hour licence, the wonderfully restored and refurbished Hippodrome is outstanding in that capacity.

My partner was an instant convert and has been in for drinks and a few gentle gambles on a couple of occasions since.

But he’d never eaten there or sampled the cabaret, fearing it would be too expensive and too “porny”, respectively.

So when we were invited to a very special and exclusive dinner for two (to mark the first birthday of the Hippodrome Casino and the launch of a brand new menu in the Heliot Steakhouse on the first floor) followed by burlesque cabaret in the Matcham Theatre (residing within the casino) we absolutely jumped at the chance.

You’ve just got to try these

Integrated within the casino, and overlooking the main gaming room, the setting of the Heliot Steakhouse is treat enough. Add fantastic cuisine and out-of-this-world cocktails to the Vegas-style ambience, and you’ve got a great dining experience on the (poker) table.

Sampling as much as we could from the new menu, our (friendly and amazingly attentive) waiter recommended the prawn cocktail (classically British, very simple – with prawns as big as fingers) and the tempura fried oysters to start: gobsmackingly good.

Yum yum – ribs, wings and slaw

For main, I devoured as much of a mouth-watering rib eye steak as I could manage, given the fitted dress I was wearing (it was HUGE – the steak, not the dress) and Mister got his chops around the sticky shortrib and spicy wings, served with red cabbage slaw.

Being as we’re such ridiculous Americaphiles, we loved the stateside touches mashed-up with British staples (the house fries, rocket salad and lemon crème brûlée are not to be missed) and the casino-inspired cocktails are to die for (don’t you dare leave without trying the “Snake Eyes”).

It’s certainly not cheap, but given the sheer quality of the food and drink, it’s not prohibitively expensive if you’re after a dinner date with a difference. And as the casino itself smacks of old school, US-style elegance, the service is equally impeccable.

And the highlight of the evening? Scurrying through to the adjacent Matcham cabaret room, cocktails in hand, and being served an indulgent dessert as we absorbed the brilliance of the Soho Burlesque Club starring Jessica Rabbit lookalike (and cheeky Northerner) Miss Polly Rae.

Sexy, funny, risque, downright rude, innovative and slick; whether or not you’re into the burlesque scene, there is something irresistible about such a playfully intimate live show in the centre of the city, served as you eat, drink and make merry at your table.

I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll see “boylesque” acts flexing their muscles as well as the delightful Miss Rae (wearing some amazing dresses, as well as not very much at all) and friends giving it some burlesque magic with oodles of glamour, laughs and flaming (literally) nipple tassells (if you don’t fall instantly in love with Kitty Bang Bang and her hilarious antics, burlesque just ain’t for you, bitch).

You can catch the Soho Burlesque Club every Wednesday at 8:30pm, and there’s an even raunchier late night version every Saturday at 11pm.

Good times.

And just a quick mention of the dress: as I explained in my sneaky peek last night, it’s a vintage find from Lady Boo of Boo to a Goose and was absolutely bob on, I think, for the steak and boobies.

Dare I ask if you would agree?

Yes, my dress did indeed match the decor…you’d think I’d planned it that way

With thanks to Heliot Steakhouse and the Hippodrome Casino

Written by Johanna Payton