When the Beast invites you to a magical feast at his castle, you have to attend! I was able to secure preview tickets for Beauty And The Feast at the Vaults, one of my favourite venues around London, so of course I was excited to see this immersive combination of dinner party and panto.
The evening started in the parlour, where a few entertainers wandered around trying to keep attendees interested and warm us up for the immersive experience that was to follow. Very few guests had actually followed the ‘dress code’ though, so it wasn’t quite as colourful and immersive as it could have been. There wasn’t enough seating in the parlour either, so most people were just standing around, a few more seats would have been nice.
Finally our storytelling godmother Fairy Liquid appeared and introduced us to the concept, basic storyline and characters; we were then called by name and led to our seats at the big feast tables. As people were called out by their booking name, our party of two was split up from the other party of two we met during our wait in the parlour. We were also sat between two larger groups, not necessarily ideal. The setup was three very long feasting tables with benches on either side, gorgeously decorated with a plethora of chandeliers, painted decorations and fake foliage. Very pretty and definitely well organised, though the isles between the benches seemed a tad on the slim side, making it impossible to head to the bar or toilets without bumping into people a lot.
The menu was advertised as suitable for all dietary needs, which it technically was, though those with allergies or non-omnivorous diets didn’t get other options, but rather had to find what was okay for them to eat and what they’d have to leave on the table.
The advertised menu was as follows:
Warm Blue Cheesecake with Pear Salad (gf/v)
Rich and Tender Venison Sausages, served on the string (gf/df)
Whole Roast Cauliflower with a Mustard Crust (gf/df/v/ve)
Garden Peas; eat them with honey to keep them on your knife (gf/df/v/ve)
Gently Steamed Savoy Cabbage, Drizzled in Olive Oil (gf/df/v/ve)
Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Oozing Black Bean Stew (gf/df/v/ve)
Crunchy, Colourful Beetroot Salad (gf/df/v/ve)
Sage and Parsely Onion Stuffing, served on a spike (df/v/ve)
Crispy and Crunchy Slow Roasted Potatoes (gf/df/v/ve)
Vegetarian and Gluten Free, Good for your Heart Gravy
Balsamic Glaze – because the Beast can’t eat dinner without it (gf/df/v/ve
Since we happened to be seated between two larger groups and the meal was served family feast style, we had to repeatedly ask for food to be passed down to us. We weren’t able to get any gravy or balsamic glaze and didn’t even see them being served until we spied small jugs at the very ends of the tables during the cleanup phase. Most of the food was good, but unremarkable, the beetroot salad was definitely the best dish served that night and very popular with all diners. The venison sausages and roast cauliflower were also very good. All dishes were served in humongous portions, so there was definitely a LOT left over when we were done eating.
During the feast, the story unfolded around us, with plenty of time to eat as well as time to interact with the characters.
The dessert course was listed as:
Coconut Ice Cream Rabbits (gf/df/v/ve)
Wild Ginger and Hot Chilli Jelly (gf/df/v/ve)
Aromatic Cardamon Squirty Cream (gf/v)
Light, Crumbly Meringue Mushrooms, served in a variety of flavours and moulded with Rich Chocolate
We were not served any meringue mushrooms and there was only enough jelly, served in tea cups, for one of us to try it. It didn’t taste of anything, so wasn’t much of a loss anyway. The squirty cream was delicious though, so I just had a spoonful of that for dessert.
After the meal, and after the story hurtled towards a surprisingly raunchy happy ending, all guests were urged to join the biggest conga line the Vaults have ever seen, dancing our way from the feasting room back to the parlour, where the evening continued with a big party.
Overall, it was definitely worth the money! A huge feast, great entertainment, lots of fun. The dessert selection was very disappointing, but after such a big feast we didn’t have much room left for a sweet course anyway. I really enjoyed the night and would definitely go again. Five out of six rainbow sloths from me!