Sarastro, Covent Garden

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

After several visits to Sarastro over the years, I was delighted when the restaurant invited me along for a complimentary meal. As I mentioned in my February Favourites, Sarastro is my go-to place when I want to celebrate a special occasion, and branded as "the show after the show", there really is no where quite like Sarastro. 

Before you even sit at your table let alone get to the food, you are blown away by the exquisite decor in the restaurant as you enter, as the building is full of so much visual excitement. From tapestry to flamboyant art work, and weird and wonderful wall hangings to slightly pornographic toilets, Sarastro has it all. It was actually the first restaurant in London to offer balcony tables, and some of the interiors are taken from the Royal Opera House, which in itself gives you just a taste of what you can expect.

Everywhere you turn your head there is a new sighting, and the unique layout of the restaurant means most of the tables are partially enclosed making it a more private and intimate experience for diners. I have sat at both "normal" floor tables and in various balconies in Sarastro, and the balconies definitely give a touch of extra specialness. Although these cannot be pre-booked, you can request balcony seating when booking and 9 times out of 10 the restaurant will accommodate you.

Located on Drury Lane, just a short walk from Covent Garden, it's hard to believe this quaint restaurant is buried among the hustle and bustle of London.

Opening it's doors in 1996, it is one of the last few independent business' standing in a city that is fuelled by big corporations. The founder, Richard Niazi, was known locally as the "King of Covent Garden", and spent 50 successful years in the catering industry before passing down the restaurant to his daughter and brother.

Sarastro offer various different menus depending on the time of your visit and what you would prefer. They claim that their emphasis is more about having fun rather than the "stuffy gourmet pretentiousness" of fine dining, and i'd have to agree. Although Sarastro is definitely a nice restaurant and a far reach from your TGI's and Nando's, it is not so ridiculously posh that you feel out of place in a sea of suits. It is a family run business and you sense that welcoming vibe as soon as you step into the room.

The menu's are Turkish / Mediterranean orientated, and you can find meat, fish, mezes and hearty favourites across all menu's. I've eaten at Sarastro on several occasions and never been disapointed with what we were served. The Set Menu gives you two courses for £32.95, or three courses for £36.95 - on this menu is a range of mains like beef, chicken, lamb, salmon and the chefs vegan special. The Tenor Menu is their cheapest, available at lunch time and pre-theatre (before 7pm) on Monday to Saturday. This menu comes in at just £18.95 for two courses, or £22.95 for three.

All menu's can be found in full here.

For this visit we were spoiled with 3 courses and a bottle of wine. To start, Paige and I decided to share two dishes of Deep Fried Calamari and the Cold Meze Plate. The main thing that has us coming back to Sarastro every year is their absolutely insane Cacik with pitta - we're yet to find a restaurant that does cacik as nice as here! The Calamari was the best i've probably ever had,  and the dip portions for the Cold Meze are really generous for a starter.

For mains, I of course went for a steak as this is always my go-to if available. It was served with chips and a gravy that had a rich, almost cherry-like taste that wasn't overpowering but complimented the dish nicely. It was cooked exactly how I requested (medium rare) and was not chewy, fatty or gristly like some meats can be. Paige had the Rack of Lamb which came with dauphinoise potatoes, shakshouka, garlic confit and thyme. She really enjoyed it and I had a little taste of the Lamb which was soft and beautifully cooked.

We both went for the Apple Tart Tatin for dessert, and I only realised after we both ordered one that the menu states this is 'enough to share'! The waiter didn't judge or question us when we ordered one each and this was probably one of the nicest desserts i've ever had, albeit, definitely enough to share!

The food came out in good time and was freshly cooked with nothing stale or overdone. There was about a 20 minute wait for our desserts after we ordered them, but the waiter made us aware of this as well as it being stated on the menu, showing you how fresh the dishes are. After the starter and mains we were more than happy to give ourselves a little breather!

As well as an incredible food offering, Sarastro also put on events every week. We visited on a Monday night which meant we got to hear the beautiful sounds of Wayne Warlow, a pianist who plays music from West End shows and classic favourites. On a Saturday night they are home to 70s and 80s live music, playing disco, pop, ballads and just about everything you can imagine. On Friday's they present a Latin Trio, and on Thursdays is their renowned Swing and Motown show.

Full list of what's on here.

If you are wanting somewhere different to go for dinner and/or have a special occasion to celebrate, I honestly couldn't recommend Sarastro enough. A lot of people eat here before or after they see a show as its situated in the heart of London's theatre district, but going to Sarastro is enough to be an event in itself. Paige and I have continuously spent our Valentines here, and I have just booked to take my family for my birthday in May.

For more information on Sarastro and/or to book a table, visit

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal was provided in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.

© Image Source: JYDMRA

Would you like to comment?

Get more nice stuff in your inbox!