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Roadhouse Restaurant & Bar Review – Covent Garden, Soho

BY Boon Koh
Published 5 November 2009

After writing a review about fine dining at Gordon Ramsay’s One Michelin Star Maze Restaurant, it feels like a sin to write about a place that is the complete opposite of the heavenly food. In fact, food at The Roadhouse at the Covent Garden Plaza could be described as the antonym to fine dining! The Roadhouse is primarily a bar and a live rock music venue, and the food & grill component just looks tacked on so that customers have something to nibble on and soak up the amazing cocktails they have in there.

Roadhouse is probably as American as you can get in London without going to the Hard Rock Cafe, with American memorabilia, guitars, and roadsigns hung on the wall throughout the basement restaurant and bar. It was a strange experience eating at a place that was definitely built for drinking, partying, and to a certain extent clubbing, but as you will read later we had good reason to go to this place, and good reason to return a second time!

Returning to the food, although it does seem like an afterthought that they have added after deciding to build a bar, the food really isn’t that bad and, as you can imagine, the selection was very American and very greasy (good for drinking!). There were the the usuals like chicken wings and nachos for starters, and burgers and steaks for main courses. We, however, decided to go for the Route 66 combo platter (£32), which came with two grilled medium rare steaks topped with cheese, 4 chicken breasts, chips, onion rings, and salad. The platter was so huge that it could feed four people easily, so the two of us sharing it were really stuffed by the end. In terms of taste, the steak was decent (a bit burnt on the outside), and the chicken breasts a bit dry. Why then, would I have gone here two times for mediocre steak and chicken, at £16 per person? The reason being is that Roadhouse run an incredible deal through TopTable: 50% off your entire food bill, and a FREE cocktail as well.

Route 66 Combo sharing platter Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

So now, this massive combo sharing platter costs £16 in all, and only £8 per person, and when you consider that you’re getting grilled steak (even mediocre steak) and lots of other food to go with it, its a good deal! What makes it an amazing deal is the free cocktail per person; they come in massive glasses, and normally cost about £8ish each! So all in, you can have a filling steak dinner, a wonderful cocktail (they can also do non-alcoholic mocktails for free, for those interested), and still afford to tip generously and the bill comes to less than a tenner a person. This, in the heart of London in the Covent Garden Piazza, seems like daylight robbery!

The downside to this is that unless you’re in a very partying mood, the music down there is amazingly loud, so any form of conversation more than 2 syllables is a waste of time. It is a good place though to get a pre-theatre dinner and drink, or if you plan to stay at Roadhouse and party the night. To get this deal, all you have to do is book through OpenTable and select the offer, making sure you make a reservation at least 2 hours before you go. Or you can get a TasteLondon card, but the offer isn’t as generous as you can only get the 50% off and not the free cocktail.

Useful Tip: Go before 10pm Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, 9pm on Friday, and 7pm on Saturday to get free entry, otherwise the entry fee is £5-£12 payable at the door.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars (12 out of 10 for value!)
Cuisine: American bar food
Price Range: £17.80 for two, including a free cocktail and 10% tip!

Address: 35 The Piazza, Covent Garden, Soho, Central London WC2E 8BE (location map).
Nearest Tube Stations: Covent Garden Tube Station (5 minutes walk), Temple Tube Station (12 minutes walk), Leicester Square Tube Station (15 minutes walk)
Tel: +44 020 7240 6001
Website: http://www.roadhouse.co.uk
Toptable Offer: http://www.toptable.com/en-gb/venue/?id=1504