The Show After The Show
On first approaching Sarastro, the eye is enchanted by the voluptuous floral displays which adorn the exterior of this Grade II listed Victorian building. Closer to, the intriguing ‘old curiosity shop’ interior can be glimpsed through the semicircular paned glass windows; drawing visitors into the heart of the restaurant to exclaim with joy at the unexpected vision that unfolds before them.
As imaginative and remarkable as a scene from The Arabian Nights, the interior of Sarastro is ablaze with swirling colour and visual excitement. The bustling main floor is surrounded on three sides by ten distinctive opera boxes based on English, Gothic, Rococo, Ottoman and Byzantine styles, whilst the exclusive and prominent ‘Royal Box’ commands the centre position at the far end.
Sarastro restaurant, named after a character in Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’, first opened its doors in August 1996. Housed in what was once a public house on 19th Century gin soaked Drury Lane and latterly part of Peabody Housing, Sarastro quickly established itself as one of London’s most unique and must see restaurants.
Appropriately located in the heart of Theatreland, Sarastro is a rich tapestry of flamboyant artwork, gilt furniture and wall mounted opera boxes amongst which are numerous props and knick-knacks collected from nearby shows. This spectacular interior makes Sarastro not just a feast for the palate but for the eyes and ears as well with operatic and classic music filling the room. The relaxed yet highly charged atmosphere is a reflection of the ebullient founder Richard Niazi who was passionate about food, wine and opera although not necessarily in that order!