England’s capital is a hive of experimental cooking, world-class chefs, and Michelin stars, serving as the birthplace of many food movements. People flock from all corners of the globe to this bucket list destination to try out its culinary splendors, and they’re right to do so.
London’s extensive multiculturalism has created vibrant and concentrated pockets around the city where you can find anything from a hearty Ethiopian injera to a tangy Peruvian tiradito. But with so many amazing food options available, restaurateurs have started thinking up different and innovative ways to make their kitchen stand out and get the foodies in. These restaurants might not be where you should go to find the best dishes in the city, but for a dinner with a difference, check out this list of six of London’s wackiest restaurants that will definitely make it into your BUCKiTDREAM diary.
Save Your Bathroom Break for Sketch The world-renowned, Michelin-starred Sketch is the restaurant embodiment of a cashed-up dandy. The all-out eclecticism of the decor is a true feast for the eyes, from the velvet pink afternoon tea room to the ever-changing gallery restaurant where high-profile artists such as Martin Creed and David Shingly periodically pop in to redecorate. Don’t forget to check out the restrooms, where you’ll find a clutch of egg-shaped loos piping out birdsong to accompany you while you relieve yourself. Popular among fashionistas, celebrities, and the media, Sketch is best known for its afternoon tea, which will set you back around £40 per person. If you’re keen to check it out, just make sure that you book in advance!
Address: 9 Conduit St., Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
Walk Down Memory Lane at Archipelago For those of you who have traveled to southeast Asia, you’ll remember the streets with vendors selling everything from sun-dried fire ants to griddled tarantula. Well, put those images together in a menu, dress it up with a little jerked alpaca and put it on the set of an Ace Ventura movie, and you’ve got the exotic Archipelago Restaurant in Fitzrovia. The unconventional menu features crispy zebra jerky, vine leaf-wrapped crocodile with honey-poached plums and a sweet chili-smoked python carpaccio. This is a definite pit stop for the adventurous foodie. A meal for two including drinks and service comes to around £90 (so long as you don’t opt in for the 1961 Petrus they keep tucked away in the cellar).
Address: 53 Cleveland St., Fitzrovia, London W1T 4JJ
Turn Out the Lights At Dans Le Noir Rock icon Bruce Springsteen may have crooned about dancing in the dark but have you ever thought to eat in it? The mavericks behind the lights-out restaurant Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell certainly have, and it’s a keeper. All the staff at this pitch-black eatery are registered as legally blind and are on hand to guide you through the restaurants maze-like seating pattern and assist you in finding your cutlery. Three courses with wine and an aperitif will cost around £72, but dry-cleaning that crisp white shirt might be an unexpected add-on.
Address: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Join the Circus Runaway to Circus in Covent Garden’s own live entertainment restaurant. The clue is in the name, of course, but you come here to enjoy the inimitable acts performed by Circus’s immensely talented cast of acrobats, dancers, and contortionists. You’ll be awestruck by acts of bravado and boldness ranging from sword juggling, fire eating, and burlesque dancing — sometimes all at the same time! — while tucking into the kitchen’s pan-Asian menu. One thing to note is that acts are generally quite short and only come on hourly, so make sure that you’re not out smoking a cigarette or taking a bathroom break when the action is happening.
Address: 27-29 Endell St., London WC2H 9BA
Sip Tea with Kittens Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the purrfect place to while away the afternoon. Come here to enjoy a classic high tea while being surrounded by 13 purring prowlers. There are some rules to follow of course: Lady Dinah’s is strongly opposed to the use of animals as entertainment and claims that the enjoyment of dining in her quirky little spot is purely derived from being near the furry felines. So don’t pick them up, take flash photography, corner them or feed them any human food. If you’re down with the rule book, then an afternoon of sipping tea with these cute kitties will set you back around £35 (£6 of which will be spent on the cats’ welfare). Meow!
Address: 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London E2 6DG
Enter Through the Meat Locker Like dining in one of Al Capone’s acid trips, Bunga Bunga is a new and unashamedly all-Italian all the time venue in Covent Garden. This extravagant supper club-cum-actual club is hidden beneath the equally kitsch (almost) Italian pizzeria Bungatini. You enter through a genuine meat locker, head down a flight of stairs and land at the foot of a man-made waterfall before you’re transported into a truly bonkers take on old-school Italian glamour. There’s a dedicated Romanesque-style chaise longue where a waiter will actually feed you grapes. If you have the cash to spring for it, then you can dine in a life-sized Disaronno Riva Boat. Choose from a £38 set menu of either meat-fueled feasting or vegetarian fare while watching the live performers on stage.
Address: 167 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PG
Now that you know where to find the city’s craziest chow, why not round off your knowledge with the 10 most iconic film locations in London?