Thursday, November 12, 2009

Medieval Banquet - Ivory House, East Smithfield, London, E1W 1BP

Do you like being yelled at? How about boiled, factory farmed chicken? Are there two twenty quid notes you really despise and want to dispose of? If the the answer is 'yes' to any of these, then I've got the ideal evening out for you! Medieval Banquet is, exactly as the name suggests, sitting at a long table with all of your friends in a gorgeous, dungeon-ish space.

You yell 'wench' when you want more beer and a show...of sorts takes place in front of you. It sounds different and cultural on paper and that's why, apparently, countless birthday parties, hen nights and family-friendly stag nights take place here.

And yet here's the thing. Actor-types, dressed in full, medieval getup, with hands-free mics, ala Britney Spears, will spend the night regaling you with shrill, almost incomprehensible 'entertainment'. Because of atmosphere-inducing, exposed brick walls, the hall reverberates like a bell. You can't hear your friends, nor casual acquaintances. You're just inundated with a cacophony of almost-white noise. I've never used the word cacophony before, but this place deserves it.

Now it's worth mentioning that the actors try hard. There's a sword fight you gather round for which is pretty good and various other bits are good. But, having paid at least 40 pounds for your seat, you'll be keen for it to be worth it. And then the food will arrive. I suppose it'd be historically accurate if it wasn't the cheapest, most Tesco-ish, factory farmed, white, ammonia-burned chicken cheapness can buy - all brought by a server who's serving maybe 60 people. So you won't see much of her. The best part about Medieval Banquet is you'll only ever go there once.

  • Some of the acting's alright.
  • Easy, uncreative way to do something different.
  • Great space.
  • Fancy dress optional, but neat.
  • Kids might like it - dumb ones
  • You'll go deaf without understanding a word.
  • Piss-takingly expensive
  • Food sucks.
See the Medieval Banquet promotional video here - if ye dare.

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