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.

As the first restaurant in London to feature balconies, and with banisters taken from the Royal Opera House, Sarastro offers a diverse range of seating accommodation; much of which is partially enclosed to offer partial privacy for diners of a more discreet nature. Please note however that the erotic artwork which is such a memorable feature of our rest rooms is artistic yet could hardly be called discreet!


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!

‘King of Covent Garden’

Richard Niazi was a larger than life character and was known locally as the ‘King of Covent Garden’. With over 50 highly successful years in the catering industry, Sarastro was only one of Richard’s many achievements but it was his greatest and the one of which he was most proud. Richard passed away in 2008 and was remembered with a funeral that was the show he wanted after the show that he had lived: gypsy musicians played samba music in the street as his cortege was led down Drury Lane. Hundreds of people joined the procession which was escorted by Chelsea Pensioners and mounted police. This was the beginning of Richard’s final journey which ended in Nicosia, Northern Cyprus, where he was laid to rest. The restaurant was handed down to Richard’s daughter, Sibel, and her uncle, Murad, who is known by customers as Moses although certainly not for holy reasons.

To this day Sarastro continues to offer a heady mix of fun, food and music. Referred to by many as ‘The Show After The Show’, Sarastro hosts its own special musical events on different days of the week.