Circle Restaurant, Hippodrome

On a recent trip to see Matilda the Musical, the thought of pleasing three generations aged from 10 to 80 years in the pre-theatre dining stakes brought us out in a cold sweat. Chinese would be the obvious choice in Southside, but that wouldn’t sate all of us, so we decided to give the Circle Restaurant at the Hippodrome a whirl.

First thing’s first, Grandma was delighted because Laurent Perrier – or LP as she likes to call it – was the house Champagne. We were on to a winner. The room felt civilised and unhurried unlike every other pre-theatre experience we’ve had.

The menu was concise and appealing. A salmon fishcake was packed with salmon – I loathe it when a fishcake is mainly potato. This one was good. Pressed confit of chicken was basically a chicken terrine and tasted great with a fresh and zingy tomato and tarragon dressing. Courgette, feve (bit like a broad bean) and goat’s cheese salad came without a dressing, but when asked for one it was delivered promptly. It was nothing fancy, but perfectly nice. The children devoured some fresh bread with red pepper houmous and olives which they loved.

I let the children choose from the grown-up menu, but in honesty I should have insisted on the perfectly delicious sounding kids’ one. They ended up with burgers as big as their faces and although seriously tasty and a bit wacky served in bright pink buns, they left half of them. The fries that came with the burgers were good, but if you like a fat chip we urge you to order the triple-cooked version under the Plot Twist section of the menu – the best chips we’ve eaten in the city ever.

Pea and mint tortellini with an asparagus and spinach veloute tasted like summer. Fresh, vibrant and packed with good greens, it was super pleasing. As was the catch of the day which was sea bream served with salad nicoise, salsa verde and a technically tricky crispy egg in breadcrumbs which was perfectly oozing. All the flavours of the Med were singing and it just worked a treat.

Puds were a delight and the kids were in their element with jam sponge and custard and an incredible chocolate fudge sundae from the children’s menu. At £24.50 for two courses and the children’s menu £7.75 likewise, it’s as competitive as any restaurant in the immediate area and definitely superior in the pre-theatre experience not least because the table is yours for the interval, so there’s no scrum for drinks or the seat. We’ve bagged a table already for War Horse in the autumn.

Circle Restaurant, Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB. Tel: 0844 338 9000