Where do actors go to eat in London? Not the start of a bad joke, but Showbusinessinsights latest insight…
There is a difference between the latest trendy restaurant or bar where celebrities go in order to be papped (and which might include actors) and a long-standing restaurant where theatre folk go to eat year after year. The Chiltern Firehouse might be the hottest reservation in town right now – and Tom Cruise was spotted there recently – but there is nothing as unfashionable as yesterday’s fashion. Will any celebs be spotted there in two years’ time?
Where do actors go to meet actors and refuel and relax? Of course there are any number of restaurants in London where you might see actors, but three remain perennial favourites in the trade.
1) The Ivy
Rumour has it that The Ivy was inadvertently named by Sarah Bernhardt, who told its first owner in 1911, “The acting profession will cling to you like ivy”.
After falling on harder times, then-owners Jeremy King and Chris Corbin “reconnected with The Ivy’s theatrical past, attracting a clientele who themselves attracted others of their ilk, with the attendant paparazzi and newspaper headlines”, according to the Guardian. “In the early 90s, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson and Brad Pitt were just some of the many stars who ate there.”
The actor interviews in Donald Sinden’s wonderful TV documentary series West End Theatres were shot at the Ivy.
Notoriously difficult to secure reservations at, the Ivy is famous for its insider tip, the Shepherd’s Pie.
2) The Wolseley
Where do actors meet for breakfast? The Wolseley. Equally true for Brunch, Elevenses, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner or a late night snack.
Situated on Piccadilly, in the beautiful former showroom for Wolseley motorcars next to the Ritz.
After selling the Ivy, Corbin and King turned their attention to creating an all-day venue in the style of the European Grand Cafe. Showbusinessinsights has spotted Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera director Hal Prince and David Walliams at the Wolseley.
The round central table is the one to secure for one-upmanship.
3 – Joe Allen
The ultimate actors’ restaurant. The industry’s works canteen. Underground. Hard to find. Down a Covent Garden backstreet. But with the most wonderful atmosphere.
Joe Allen has been the place for actors to frequent for a pre-performance lunch or a late night treat since the 70s. Sharing a kitchen with its sister restaurant Orso (where Nathan Lane reportedly ate regularly while appearing in The Producers at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), it would be easier to list which theatrical royalty hasn’t eaten here than who has.
The pianist, who sadly died earlier this year, reportedly knew every show tune ever written and could serenade arriving actors with appropriate tunes.
Showbusinessinsights spotted Les Mis director Trevor Nunn and Harry Potter caretaker Mr Filch (David Bradley) recently.
Joe Allen is most famous for its burgers, which don’t appear on the menu, so you have to be in the know to access their signature dish.
Joe Allen is Showbusinessinsights’ favourite restaurant – informal and exciting in equal measures, and with a burger to die for.
Tom Cruise – Express
The Ivy – Telegraph
The Wolesley – Hot Dinners
Joe Allen – Joe Allen