As a Batman nerd WAG, I’ve often found myself going along to the caped crusader's films and events. From Justice League to The Dark Knight, and not forgetting Lego’s offerings, I've got to know the Gotham City activist quite well. So, when the DC Comics-inspired Park Row in London announced an immersive afternoon tea, we booked a visit sharpish.
Our adventure to another realm started on a cold and crisp Saturday afternoon. Soho was bustling with cyber weekend shoppers, but hidden inside a majestic, Grade-II listed building, an extraordinary wonderland awaits. Your first steps inside are every bit as impressive as the much-loved flicks, firstly, through a secret doorway behind a bookcase, and then down a grand spiral staircase. It was pitch black, but lit up with glimmering bright circular spheres as stirring, moody music played. It was hella exciting to say the least.
The door opened to reveal a truly magnificent space. Towards the rear, a classy, 1920s style bandstand showcased their live music nights and the seriously impressive Iceberg Lounge was positioned straight ahead. We were immediately struck by the stunning frozen penguin centrepiece that overlooked the rounded bar. To the left, the Art Deco Rogues Gallery, where we sat, housed a shimmering pink scalloped drinks counter, a gold bust of the Joker and a glittery Kiss From A Rose painting. An abundance of mirrors made the restaurant seem even bigger, and coupled with the warm lighting created a sophisticated, intimate feel. The soundtrack featured contemporary songs jazzed up, think a swinging Metallica and reworked Rihanna hits.
It's worth mentioning that the smartly dressed staff are not just waiters but essentially performers, introducing each dish with flair and passion. But don’t let that make you think it’s all gimmicks and fancy dress here, far from it, costumed diners will in fact be turned away. Park Row is about elegance, channelling experiences that Bruce Wayne himself would enjoy.
The Amusement Mile Afternoon Tea (£52 per person) revolves around Gotham City’s beloved fairground, now fallen into the hands of the criminal underworld. The copper table-top Ferris wheel and paint-splattered fine china were a cute nod to the theme, alongside informative newspaper cuttings. We kicked things off with a glass of Champagne and theatrical, caramel-soaked nitro popcorn, smoking with dry ice. What’s not to like? At the base of the three-tiered showpiece were the savoury elements; an even split of vegetarian and meaty sandwiches. My fave was the truffled egg: silky, earthy and generously filled, with my date’s perfectly spiced mulligatawny coronation chicken also scoring high (kudos to the crispy middle layer). The roasted aubergine option made up for being slightly dry with a decadent, almost zesty stuffing. I could have eaten a lot more. Finally, the cured salmon slices were as light as you like, drizzled with lemon juice and delightfully herby with dill.
Next up came the freshly baked scones, served warm in a carnival-inspired striped paper bag. The dreamy aroma infused the room and we devoured each one in record time. Fluffy, crunchy and delicious. The velvety Devonshire clotted cream was smothered on first, followed by rich, fruity raspberry jam.
…and now, it's dessert time. These were the most playful of the courses, and in my opinion, the prettiest. You have three to tuck into, starting with the millionaire shortbread-style cake, topped with a playing card. This was our number one, with crumbling brownie and smooth, gooey caramel. I’m told the tempered chocolate-covered grey heart could be a subtle hint at Batman’s armour, with a Joker-green, tropical-flavoured middle. A possible interpretation for superheroes’ everlasting grapple with good versus evil? Perhaps that's a bit deep for this review. The finale was an unusually textured jelly nibble, coated in white chocolate and flecked with contrasting colours.
As we sipped our fragrant, berry-like wild rooibos tea (recommended by our host) and classic yet mellow English breakfast brews, we couldn’t help but admire the stately setting. Will we be back for more? Absolutely. Just send out the bat-signal.
The DesignMyNight Digest
You don’t have to be a Batman enthusiast to enjoy Park Row, although it definitely helps. Fans would appreciate the easter eggs and interesting touches a little more than the average punter, for example the neon 'puddin' artwork, a reference to Harley Quinn. Personally, I loved the dramatic entrance and gorgeous interiors, and with a few minor tweaks to the sandwiches, this experience could become the stuff of legends. Care to join us at The Monarch Theatre?
💰 The damage: £104 for two, including a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée each.
📍 The location: 77 Brewer Street, London W1F 9ZN.
👌 Perfect for: A unique way to celebrate a special occasion.
⭐ Need to know: Every picture in the venue tells a story, just ask the waiting team.