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Menier Chocolate Factory

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published January 31st 2011
There are a few different reasons why you might find yourself approaching the charming old warehouse style building that was, and is the Menier Chocolate Factory, but chocophiles will be disappointed to learn that chocolate isn't one of them. 'Cause these days the factory isn't a factory, it's a fringe venue, bar and restaurant.

The venue bit is in the form of an intimate, 180 seat studio theatre, which it would be realistic to announce as 'off-West End', as in London's off-Broadway. Their seasons, which sell out quickly due to the size of the venue and the calibre of the performances, are known for new musicals, little known musicals and review shows, as well as theatre of all sorts. Several of their shows have started here and ended up transferring into far larger West End venues.

The restaurant has a pretty good reputation on its own, it's not just for people seeing the show. Part of the appeal is the building, which is both buzzy with fresh talent, and charming, warm and old because of its past incarnation as a chocolate factory: think bare old beams and exposed brickwork light up by candles. The menu is the sort you might find in a really decent gastro-pub, featuring Cumberland sausages, braised lamb shank, duck breast, fish cakes and of course burgers, both meat and veggie – the veggie option is really good.

The bar is a nice place to hang out before the show, of course, but it's also a nice place full stop.

The best value way to visit is on a Meal Deal ticket which includes two courses as well as your evening's entertainment. Easy way to impress a musically inclined date.
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Why? Some of the freshest shows in town, and the restaurant and bar aren't just theatrical after thoughts
Where: 51-53 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU, nearest station London Bridge
Cost: Meal Deal prices vary, but are around £40 per person
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