One of my favourite things to do in London at the moment, is Immersive Dining. I have reviewed a few experiences, including Faulty Towers, The Murder Express, and Circus. I was therefore very excited to be invited along to the Medieval Banquet to see what a traditional night out was like back in the Middle Ages! I am very interested in the Medieval Period, especially after visiting The London Dungeons, and now I was able to be a part of 1000 years of English History myself.
The setting for the banquet is the historic Ivory House, situated in a picturesque location in St. Katharine Docks. Built in the 16th century as a safe harbour for merchant vessels, it was once a repository for goods brought back by sailing ships. These included teas, wine, wool, sugar, and as the name suggests, ivory.
St. Katharine Docks is a perfect setting to host The Medieval Banquet, as it is steeped in history, having seen The Great Plague, the Great Fire of London, and suffered bomb damage during World War II.
As you enter down the grand staircase, you are introduced to a cast of colourful characters from England’s past. From jesters, to magicians, to incredible strong men, you are a guest at a medieval variety show! Who knew Henry VIII could sing incredible opera?! There are lots of singing and dancing performances throughout the evening, as well as circus acts, contortionists, and acrobats. It truly is a fun filled event, with something for everyone.
The performers are there all evening and are there to entertain you throughout your banquet. I loved how they rotated after every performance, so that everyone got a chance to see each act. I couldn’t pick a favourite performer, as they were all equally brilliant, although the guy who balanced on his head and juggled upside down was pretty impressive! The finale consisted of a very realistic sword fight, which is something I have never witnessed before. It’s surreal to think sword fights used to be genuine entertainment for those living in the Middle Ages!
You’ll be pleased to know the evening doesn’t end when the entertainment does. The music changes from Old England to 21st Century, as popular songs blast out from the speakers, turning the venue into a nightclub.
We were seated on a long wooden bench, next to other guests, which allowed us to meet new people and socialise. Some of the guests were dressed in medieval costume, so feel free to come looking the part. Because of the seating arrangements, this isn’t an intimate setting for couples looking for a romantic meal, but more of a social gathering for large groups, or those wanting to mingle!
This gastronomic delight is a hearty four-course banquet, which allows you to dine like the Kings and Queens you are. The banquets are cooked in house, using fresh ingredients led by the Head Chef. Ale, wine, and non-alcoholic alternatives are included during the meal, and there is a well-stocked bar for additional purchases.
For starters, we received vegetable soup, made with market vegetables, that arrived in a cauldron, and was served with a basket of bread. Forget spoons, you drink the soup straight from the bowl in true medieval style.
Next up, was a platter of meat, pâté, and cheddar cheese, with salad and pickled vegetables. For our mains, we received a succulent English roast chicken, served with traditional medieval sauce, roasted potatoes, and vegetables. Dessert was a rich fruit-filled pie, served with cream, which finished the meal off perfectly.
They do have a vegetarian menu which you can request via email before you attend, and they also have alternate dishes for those suffering from food allergies.
It’s not just the food that is medieval, but also your table manners! That’s right, we were encouraged to be rowdy and disorderly! If we liked a performance, we were advised not to clap, but to instead, bang our fists on the table. If we required our waitress, we must refer to her only as “wench”. Everyone fully immersed themselves into their role, as guests screamed “wench” across the table every time they needed a drink, and chaos broke out at the end of every performance, which was hilarious. The staff also stayed in full character throughout, some joining our table to talk amongst us.
I would recommend The Medieval Banquet for those wanting something different to do on an evening in London. In a nutshell, it is a themed restaurant, where guests can dress up in medieval costumes, watch medieval style entertainment, and eat medieval themed food, served by the finest wenches in the land!
I would however NOT recommend arriving early. The doors do not open until your arrival time, so we found it pretty miserable waiting outside in the cold for 15 minutes.
For more info, prices, and how to book, please see their website: Medieval Banquet Website
I received complimentary tickets in exchange for a review. Views are my own.