Politics

Holy Macaroni, Batman: We Checked Out London’s DC-Verse Restaurant


Park Row, Soho. Image by Lydia Manch.

What’s the story?

A DC-verse inspired restaurant — ‘restaurant concept’ — taking over the underground, cavernous site that used to be Mash Steakhouse.

The firstborn of new hospitality group venture Wonderland Restaurants, Park Row is home to four kind-of-separate-but-not-very-separate restaurants and bars in the main space, where you can freestyle through the menus, and a fifth area, an immersive restaurant-show space — Monarch Theatre — with a fixed set menu and drinks pairing.

Whereabouts?

Piccadilly side of Soho.

Just let me dust off my best Batsuit  

Leave the latex at home, sorry. The restaurant urges you to take your dress code cue from Bruce Wayne rather than the Dark Knight. ‘Think Selina Kyle, not Catwoman.’  

Image by Park Row, Soho.

How heavy is the theming?

Lite. If you want to steep yourself in Bat-canon, this isn’t going to do it for you — the website and the branding both talk a bigger and more explicitly Gotham-verse game than the venue itself. Think the kind of elite-bling place where Gotham’s wealthy would be pressing the flesh at a charity ball, before a super villain sweeps in and takes them hostage.

The entrance comes with some speakeasyish ceremony, and there’s a lot of hyperneon drama in the bathrooms. There’s a penguin sculpture presiding over the main bar, and some artwork giving nods to key villains, scattered around as little Easter eggs for Bat-fans. But when you’re inside and below street level, it’s mostly just a big, theatrically OTT, art deco brasserie — probably mildly disappointing for some diners, and a big relief for others.

We land somewhere in between: could’ve handled more Batman; would’ve liked the (great) live band to play Kiss From A Rose once, or ideally, all night; did, okay, harbour a vague unspoken hope that I would get to sit inside a Batmobile — yet also: kind of enchanted by all the brazen, big-pillared gorgeousness of the space; loved the escapist, scifi-noir feel of the descent from ground level, and still thinking about the truffle mac and cheese a week later.

Best seat in the house?

In theory, front and centre in the Iceberg Lounge — big, black velvet horseshoe booths, on a regal dais. Good for watching the band, good for being admired by everybody else in the room.  

But really? If there’re just two of you, and you’re happy to stick with drinks and snacks, we reckon the biggest flex is a barstool at the Iceberg Lounge counter. Best people-watching vantage point in the room. Still a great view of the band. A lot of cocktail theatre happening behind the bar. Best place, imo, for the leaning-into-each-other, knees-brushing-knees romance of a date night. And best position for having a 360-degree view of Park Row’s art deco swagger.

Holy macaroni, Park Row. Image by Lydia Manch.

Menu highlights?

The truffle mac and cheese (£8). Feels damning to name a side dish the star of the show but for price:joy ratio, this was The One.

Everything else was somewhere between decent and very good, with a lean towards stately-home luxe (a lot of jus, foams, purées, steak. Big caviar-as-a-garnish energy). But tbh we’d just order the mac and cheese and the Bludhaven — like a sesame-laced old fashioned — on repeat all night. For theatricality, see also the bowl of nitro popcorn — caramelised, crunchy, ice cold, gently smoking.

Vegetarians and vegans doing okay here?

Okay, but not spectacularly. One vegetarian main — a mushroom and champagne risotto — and three vegan or vegetarian starters, on the relatively lengthy a la carte. For comparison: five variations on beef on the menu, and three kinds of caviar.

The Blue Boy. Image by Lydia Manch.

Do I need the Wayne Enterprises vault at my disposal to eat here?

If you want to have a full-on three-courser in the restaurant, it wouldn’t hurt. On the à la carte, mains are from £20 to £45, starters mostly £10 to £20. The wine list starts at about £40 a bottle, and zooms rapidly higher.

There are cheaper routes through a meal at Park Row — including a £28 set lunch or early dinner menu — but if you’re after a high-key but lower-spend Park Row experience, we’d book for one of the bar counters. The cocktails and bar snacks come in at about average prices (*for a glossy restaurant in central London), and are among the best stuff on the menu.

Calamansi and chocolate cake. Image by Lydia Manch.

Can you make reservations?

Yes, and probably should. It’s nearly full on the Thursday evening we’re there. Specific tables are hotly contested, so don’t feel shy about saying which area of the venue’s ornate floorplan you want to wind up in.

Pre-game and post-game?

The multiple spaces under one roof mean you can make yourself a little bar crawl without actually needing to leave. Apart from that, it’s got to be Brasserie Zédel — just a few doors down — for a nightcap at Bar Américan.

I came here for Batman content

We understand. Please accept some neon urinals, a bathroom photo-op for The Lads, and a two-faced Shakespeare.

Londonist were guests of Park Row.

Park Row, Soho.



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