Food + Drink

Dinner and a show at the Orchard Theatre

Going to the theatre is always a treat, and yet there is always one problem that needs to be solved when it comes to the timing of your visit: food. With evening shows tending to start at about 7.30pm, eating beforehand can be a bit of a rush and certainly isn’t a relaxing affair for fear of not getting into your seats on time. Eating afterwards isn’t much better. What to do then? Lisamarie Lamb has the answer.

The answer is simple: book your theatre tickets for shows at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford and you can eat before the show in the theatre’s very own restaurant. The meal can even be included in your ticket price and the staff will make sure you’re in your seat ready for the show to start. Now doesn’t that sound like a good idea?

Not only is a good idea in respect that it won’t make you panic or rush your food, but since that food is terribly tasty too, you’ll actually enjoy your meal.

My guest and I certainly did. The Orchard Theatre is a great space for being entertained – bright and airy, it’s comfortable even when full of excited people and the restaurant is no different. Large floor-to-ceiling windows make the room light, yet the dark wooden furniture gives it a cosy kind of feeling; the best of both worlds, you can read the menu and still have a meaningful conversation without feeling as though you are being listened to.

For starters we opted for halloumi bites with tomato chutney and the salmon and prawn salad. Those halloumi bites were incredibly moreish, coated in a delicate breadcrumb that wasn’t greasy and added a nice crunch to the otherwise soft and salty cheese. The salad was a generous size and full of salmon and prawns, not just leaves. Crunchy and tangy, my guest ate every bite and enjoyed every mouthful.

It took a while to pick the mains as choosing was tricky because everything sounded wonderful. There was pea and mint tortellini, cobb salad, a hunters chicken burger, beer battered haddock and chips…the lovely list goes on. In the end we went for a piri piri half roast chicken served with rainbow slaw, Cajun fries and sour cream, and the cheese and bacon burger – 100 per cent British steak burger, smoked Applewood cheese, grilled bacon, dill pickles and tomato. Both were good choices. The chicken was spicy without being uncomfortable to eat, and the sour cream added a cooling balance. The burger was exactly as a burger should be: juicy, meaty and indulgent.

There is always room for dessert, of course. At the Orchard, if you are feeling full or you want to go to your seat for the show, you can opt to eat your dessert in the interval – we didn’t. We wanted our warm chocolate brownie and our raspberry delice right there and then, and they truly were wonderful puds.

Full, content, with no need to rush, to drive anywhere, or walk a long distance, my guest and I strolled to our seats in order to watch the show – the wonderful Abba tribute, Thank You For The Music. The Orchard Theatre has reinvented the idea ‘dinner and a show’ and got the experience exactly right.

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