Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH London,www.hippodromecasino.com
A casino in central London may not seem the most obvious place for a’gourmet steakhouse’, but Heliot restaurant and bar, located in the Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, has managed to create a balance of food and cocktails with a side of blackjack.
The restaurant itself sits on the first floor balcony in a refurbished auditorium. Narrow in size, and stretching over three tiers, it overlooks the bustle of the gaming floor sitting directly opposite a grand theatre stage. The view from the table is stunning with high ceilings, original white wood framing and oversized silver light fixtures that all fit well with the extravagance of a casino.
As steak is at the forefront of the menu Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it is the obvious pick. Starting at a reasonable £16 is pave steak while rump, sirloin and fillet are all around £25 with rib on the bone at £28 being the most expensive. Extras to go with the steak are an appetising mix of seared foie gras, or roast bone marrow, fried duck egg and lastly chargrilled king prawns or chargrilled bacon. Sauces are the next choice, ranging from simple but classic peppercorn to garlic and butter or horseradish. Then onto the sides, there are the standard house fries, seasonal greens, sautÃƒÂ©ed spinach and Parmesan salad all at reasonable £3.50 each.
The array of options caused some indecisiveness, which was obvious to the waiter. Luckily he was happy to suggest options to complement one another. And his attentiveness didn’t stop at that, from being shown to the bathroom, and the third floor smoking terrace, to complimenting a bottle of red wine to match the steak. The service could not be faulted.
For the food, the sirloin was served with horseradish sauce on the side. A generous cut of meat, cooked perfectly pink. As a renowned tough cut of beef, it certainly wasn’t too chewy or gristly.
After the endless options for main it was refreshing to see only three choices on the dessert menu: lemon crÃƒÂ¨me brulee, Bakewell tart with milk ice cream and English strawberry pavlova.
The pavlova was a generous portion – light and not too sweet, whilst the crÃƒÂ¨me brulee had the restaurants own spin on it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ lemon. It was baked to perfection but the overpowering sweetness from the lemon made it hard to finish.
As dinner comes to an end at the Heliot restaurant, you quickly discover this is only the start to your night. We are told the bar closest to the restaurant Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one of seven in the building, is open 24 hours. Its tempting list of cocktails start at £8.95. From the classic margarita based cocktails to Mai Tai, and if you ask the bartender for a request, he’ll happily shake up an espresso martini to keep you from a food coma.
Next was the late night entertainment. The theatre, which is in separate room behind the main gamming floor hosts late night burlesque shows, comedy and cabaret every night of the week. I was lucky enough to experience the late night circus show Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Boom& Bang; it is the newest production on Friday’s at 11pm. Expect fire eating, spectacular acrobatics and terrifying clowns at the mere cost of £10 a ticket.
Celebrating its one year anniversary this casino, come theatre, come steakhouse, cocktail bar with two floor smoking terrace, and 24 hour bars, has it all for a fun night out whilst the high standards food and drinks are an impressive and welcoming surprise for a restaurant in a casino. Overall, this place certainly has it all to provide a jam packed evening of entertainment.