Tucked around the back of the prim and proper central London district of Holborn, there's mischief a foot. Nestled in a backstreet behind Chancery Lane station, Volupte have been offering a reliable bolt-hole for cabaret and burlesque-lovers for quite a while now.
While the old-fashioned notion of dinner and a show might seem a little dated in a city now populated largely by trendy burger pop-ups and chains, there is an undeniable charm to devoting an entire evening to decadence, frilly lace, and three course dining. You get to feel a bit like one of those very rich people on the Titanic...before it started sinking.
Anyway, we slipped into Volupte's intimate downstairs restaurant, to try out their new menu, and sat in wait to find out if a night of yesteryear glam can match up to binge-eating in front of The Great British Bake Off.
The menu on offer is not suitable for fussy eaters. You get a platter of starters to share, a platter of desserts to share, and you pick your individual main. No fussing, and for the most part it works well. An excellent bit of Cornish mackerel was probably the pick of the starters, although frankly, we wanted a bit more of the rosemary bread and pate. Maybe we're just greedy. Equally, you can't go wrong with offerings of pan-fried pollock or steak, and indeed while the presentation looks fancy, the menu plays it relatively safe, with big, bold flavours executed well. We'd recommend arriving a bit early, to sample one of the imaginative cocktails from the Bon Bon Bar upstairs, which mixes traditional sweet shop themes into its drinks selection, with pleasing and intoxicating effect.
But of course, dinner is only half the story. On the evening we visited,
we were treated to an evening of song, dance, and a bit more besides
from the marvelously funny and wickedly cheeky Dave The Bear, and his partner in crime, the original Yorkshire Tease (we see what she did there) Amber Topaz. The pair both had belting voices, wicked one-liners, and obvious chemistry on stage.
Entertainment, and the menu, varies at Volupte. But on this showing, we'd definitely be going back.
Volupté, 9 Norwich Street, EC4A 1EJ www.volupte-lounge.com
Three courses and a show is £55 on a Tuesday and Wednesday and £63 Thursday to Saturday.