Boyd's Brasserie

Location, location, location: nestled inside the super-swank The Northumberland, Trafalgar Squate, this classic brasserie – a scenic 5-minute stroll from Covent Garden – is perfect for pre-theatre dining. But it’s worth a visit even if an evening of culture isn’t on the cards: the architecture is breathtaking – all glistening marble and sparkling chandeliers – but the atmosphere is informal and ultra-friendly.

The vibe: classic brasserie dishes are all over this affordable, simple menu. Starters range from English charcuterie (£9) to London cure smoked salmon (£9), while mains include variations on gnocchi – cured ham and salsa verde; cep sauce and parsley puree; crayfish, peas and roquette (all £14) – roast chicken for one with spring veggies and new potatoes (£17); and possibly the greatest haute cuisine burger you’ll ever taste (£13 and worth every penny).

Top tip: the pre-theatre menu is London’s best bargain – wolf down three courses of such delights as ham hock terrine, pea shoot and hazelnut salad; daube of beef with soft mash and grilled vegetables; and warm chocolate cake with cherry ripple ice cream, for just £19. Top it off with a bottle of wine from the reasonable list – a £23 fruity Malbec was heaven in a glass.

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Get there: 8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2. T: +44 (0)20 7808 3344. W: