Review: The Bistro @ The Stand
By Michael Park on June 26, 2012 in Food
You might not think that it would be a good idea to have a bistro above a comedy club. Perhaps you think that comedy clubs should be dank, dingy holes in the ground where the meaning of a good seat is one where raw sewage isn’t falling on you from an overhead pipe. Perhaps your view is that the only food you should be served in a comedy club should be bitter tidbits thrown at you from the stage by a growling staff member.
Perhaps you’re wrong.
You’re definitely wrong.
If you’ve been to The Stand for a show, you’ll know that its upstairs is a rather plush looking bistro populated by people who are better groomed than you or I and cover themselves in expensive perfumes and lotions. Or at least, that was my impression having jealously walked past them on the way downstairs for gigs. As it turns out their bistro menu (served between 4pm and 9pm) offers a pre-theatre (till 7pm) menu which is only £12 for two courses. Given that their mains are all £9.50, I think you’ll agree that you need cower from the well-heeled eatery no longer.
As for atmosphere you can’t go far wrong. The Stand Bistro is deceptively spacious with a plethora of open-plan tables and with a couple of more secluded little booths towards the back of the room you’ll be fine whether you’re going for a meal with your pals or a clandestine romantic encounter with your or someone else’s significant other. You’ll find a load of great, helpful and knowledgable staff who are just as willing to chat about comedy as they are to recommend you dishes from the menu.
Ahh, yes. The menu. Almost skipped that bit entirely. The Bistro has a pretty expansive collection of dishes and all at a reasonable price (£5 Starters, £9.50 Mains & £5 Desserts). Whether you’re the type of person who might fancy tempura king prawns or an Indonesian beef rendang to start, you’re well catered for with a menu given over to things which are simple and tasty as opposed to needlessly complex, groan-inducing nouveau crap.
I plumped (a good restaurant review word, that one) for the Chicken Satay Skewers to start which came with a peanut dipping sauce. Unless you have a life-threatening nut allergy, I’d definitely recommend it. Tender, perfectly cooked chicken a gorgeous herby side salad and skewers that you can pretend are tiny javelins afterwards as long as you have a healthy disregard for table etiquette. My friend Lisa went for the Duck Sang Choi Bau which- as a Scotsman- looked remarkably like haggis to me but the satiated grin on her face suggested it was enjoyable.
The Stand’s main courses were from a choice of seven, three of which were burgers in some guise or another. Of course, you can sneer at burgers all you like until you’ve seen the ones in The Stand. Neither of us went for it but they seem to be one of the more popular dishes, especially the the Yakitori beef burger with Shichimi mayonnaise. The name alone should have you booking a table, unless you’re a vegetarian.
We went for the Lamb and Pepper Souvlaki kebab with an astonishing olive oil mash and the Thai Chu Chee chicken curry which- once again- were absolutely fantastic although the lamb could have benefitted from a sharper knife which is really scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to criticisms.
We didn’t go for dessert because there is no shame quite like a three course meal on a Wednesday night but judging by the menu and chatting with a couple of other regular diners during the show interval, they’re something special and might even be reason enough to go.
While The Stand’s Bistro was a really pleasant surprise both in terms of the quality of the food, service and the pre-theatre price I would mention that it can get a bit crowded in the bar before a big name show. There are only a couple of tables in the room which would actually be affected by it but it’s always something to bear in mind.
In terms of great food at a great price with a fantastic live comedy venue literally a short fall down the stairs, there’s nowhere quite like it. Whether you’re going to a show or just looking for somewhere a bit different to get a bite to eat, you really can’t go wrong at The Stand.