Monarch Theatre at Park Row review

Monarch Theatre at Park Row review

Monarch Theatre at Park Row review

An incredible feast inspired by DC Comics

I have long been a Batman fan – not particularly for the Caped Crusader per se but more the whole set up, with glitzy seedy Gotham as the backdrop.

So, it was with much delight to learn of Park Row, a new opening in London based on DC Comics’ iconic superheroes. But this is no cornily themed offering – far from it, indeed anyone turning up in a costume will be turned away. The idea is to subtly pay homage to the DC universe and it’s in the ideal venue to do so, with the art deco building (once Marco Pierre White’s Titanic restaurant) a perfect setting to recreate the 1920s New York/Chicago vibes of Gotham.

Within Park Row, there are various areas such as Pennyworth’s, after the Wayne family’s butler (it helps if you know your DC references) and a ‘bar of inequity’ – Old Gotham City, inspired by the studies of Dr Pamela Isley and Dr Jonathan Crane.

And at the heart of it is the Monarch Theatre’s immersive dining offering – our destination for the evening. With just 20 guests, it feels rather more like a private dinner party than a theatre – no bad thing – and with a mix of storytelling and floor-to-ceiling screens surrounding you, the theme of the experience is good, evil and ‘the blurred lines in between’.

After a quick snifter at the bar, we headed into the ante-room of the theatre to meet our fellow guests. Everyone was looking rather bemused as we sampled nitrogen popcorn and cocktails based on whether we had light or dark personalities. It was a good ice breaker but a little cheesy, not really setting the scene for what was to come…

Without wanting to reveal too much as that would spoil the surprises in store, what you are in for is course after course of the most incredible food paired brilliantly with excellent wines.

There are culinary twists at each course (a syringe with miso, anyone?) but while there is clearly a gimmick factor, all the food is really well-judged. Stand-outs included a mushroom pate – deeply savoury, wonderful, and alarmingly fashioned to look like an agaric mushroom. Smoked eel and pork rib worked beautifully (especially with a glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle). And a perfectly pink piece of Black Angus with smoked onion was just divine (alongside another great wine choice with Wente Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon).

The only dish that didn’t do it for me was a warm savoury drink (a duck martini) served in a cocktail glass. Looking at it, you’d expect it to be sweet and cold so if you can get your head around the switch, you might enjoy it.

The projections change on the wall around you so that one minute there’s gold tumbling down, the next you’re in a forest; the storytellers ramp up the tension, and the table is continually set up with surprises – including levitating plates.

And it’s all incredible fun – clever, atmospheric and the food is sublime. The experience is £195 a head (£120 at lunch) but it is justified with the quality here.

If lockdown has left you jaded, this is one fabulous way to revive your spirits.

Monarch Theatre at Park Row, W1