London is a labyrinth of unusual places to eat and drink. From underground restaurants and bars made of ice, to secret supper clubs and TV show inspired theater experiences, there’s almost too much quirkiness to choose from. But the more leftfield they are the more difficult they are to find, it seems. I did some research and was amazed at how much delicious weird and wonderfulness there is happening in London – tons that I hadn’t heard of.
With great knowledge comes great responsibility, so I feel it is my responsibility to share my findings. Here are my top 15 unusual places to eat in London – get your quirk on:
Basement Galley is one of London’s hottest and most secretive supper clubs; so secretive, in fact, that the venue and location isn’t revealed until your booking is confirmed. What we do know, however, is that it takes place in a 1967 tube carriage in London’s underground – which sounds awesome. They have events every month and an ever changing menu that looks fantastic.
Nope, they haven’t opened the original hotel that Fawlty Towers was set in; it’s even better than that. This is an immersive two hour dining experience with the full Faulty Towers cast: Sybil, Basil and Manuel. From start to finish the actors ad lib their way through your meal as you enjoy three courses of a 1970s inspired menu.
This has to be one of the most hilarious dining experiences around. But whatever you do, don’t mention the war.
Draughts Board Game Café is exactly what it says on the tin: a café with a library of hundreds of different board games – 500 to be precise. They have a small menu with small plates, sharing boards and delicious sweets and salads. It would be easy to spend hours here.
Sketch is a complex and unique site, with theatre, art, music, film and exhibitions all regularly taking place. Conceived by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mazouz, it has three restaurants on site, with The Lecture room holding 2 Michelin stars.
If you are bogged down at work then take a rest at The Attendant: a former Victorian toilet transformed into a café. But lads be careful, they kept the urinals as part of the décor but they are not to be used.
The Ice Bar is the coolest in London, at an indoor temperature of -10 degrees. Once inside, guests will be greeted by a gigantic McQueen inspired Skull. Cocktails, like the We Will Rock You, are served in glasses made of ice. Tip: wear boots
Sarastro is an iconic landmark in Covent Garden. The eccentric owner’s arty friends turned the space into a giant stage set complete with velvet opera boxes overlooking the main dining hall. Some of the paintings have been given a rather liberal dose of artistic license and might be for adult eyes only. The menu is decidedly Mediterranean, and opera and jazz singers serenade visitors at the weekends.
Kensington Roof Gardens is set 100ft above street level and is absolutely stunning. It opened in 1938 with three gardens: Spanish Garden, Tudor Garden and English Woodland. All have to be seen to be believed and you’ll soon forget that you’re on the roof of a building. The Babylon restaurant is on the 7th floor with breathtaking views of the gardens.
London’s first smart restaurant Inamo, offers an interactive menu beaming pictures of the Japanese/Eastern fusion menu. You press the icons on the table, the order goes to the kitchen, where you can see what is going on via a webcam. Better still, you can play games or change the virtual table cloth to suit the occasion. With a click of a button your bill pops up. Is this the future?
The Proud Gallery took over the Camden Stables, which was originally a horse hospital. Now, instead of poorly horses, you’ll find great food, a buzzing bar, pole dancing space, a chill out room, karaoke and some of the best club nights in the whole of London. It’s the place to lounge around at the weekends.
Bavarian Beerhouse is for hardened drinkers. They offer 2 pint steins serving the best of German beers and bratwurst to line the stomach. It gets super crowded at weekends but is always a lot of fun.
St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, with the backdrop of Trafalgar Square, is easily the most popular church in town, with queues to get into its award winning café. The tables, if you can get one, are set over tombstones of prominent people dating back centuries. All profits go to the Church’s charitable trusts, including help for the homeless.
Shaka Zulu is a huge maze like restaurant over two floors and a central escalator. Fascinating African tribal artwork decorates the alcoves and Afrikaans food is served, with ostrich and crocodile proving popular features on the menu.
Bounce are super trendy ping pong bars in London’s uber cool suburbs: Shoreditch and Farringdon. You can eat anything from pizza to lobster while playing on one of their top quality ping pong tables.
Being guided to your table by a blind waiter may not sound like a good idea, but trust me, in this case it is. Dans Le Noir in Farringdon host dinner in the dark – and I mean pitch black. It’s so dark that you can’t see your hand a centimeter in front of your face; which makes eating and drinking rather tricky. It’s so difficult in fact, that it’s easy to put your fork to your mouth and find there’s nothing on it.
Guests are given three menu options: meat, vegetarian or surprise and not told what they are having; leaving your taste buds alone to figure out what you’re eating. It’s an incredible experience and the food and atmosphere is great.