One of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, London’s vibrancy is reflected in its wonderfully eclectic dining scene. We’re not satisfied with sitting down to a good old British classic in a normal dining room, and are constantly looking for ever more weird and wonderful ways to enjoy our 3 meals a day. From undiscovered international cuisines to weird and wonderful dining concepts, sample some of my favourite restaurants in London for deliciously diverse dining.
Dans Le Noir ?
A definite contender for the strangest restaurant in London prize, Dans Le Noir puts diners in the dark both literally and metaphorically. Guests are blindfolded and led by blind guides, who will also be their waiters for the evening. The operation is designed to heighten the remaining 4 senses, with guests given a new-found appreciation of the taste, touch and aroma of their dishes.
A cave of wonders filled with golden Buddhas, delicate peacock feathers and palm trees, Archipelago offers a taste of the exotic, just off Tottenham Court Road. The menu is awash with choices that will stand up in any ‘what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?’ contest; with dishes including crocodile, kangaroo, wildebeest and ostrich. For those not ready to take the plunge, traditional chicken and fish dishes are also served.
Step into the ethereal wonderment of sketch, a legendary Michelin-starred emporium in Mayfair. A fairy tale venue swirled with rainbow colours and lavish Louis XVI-style furnishings, sketch has earned countless accolades for its French-inspired cuisine. Exquisite gourmet creations come courtesy of Pierre Gagnaire, and art from Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed is exhibited in the dining room.
Renowned for its wholesome Italian cuisine, Vapiano offers self-service cuisine with a twist. Guests are given a plastic card when entering, to which all purchases are uploaded. Guests can dine at their own pace here, and collect any food or drink as and when they choose. Simply hand your Vapiano card to a cashier on your way out, and pay off your balance.
The Rainforest Café
A truly tropical dining experience, The Rainforest Café is a favourite with adults and children alike. Enjoy an array of jungle-themed dishes surrounded by sprawling exotic plants, monsoon rainfalls and a soundtrack of animal noises. Guests can dine next to a life size model elephant, or enjoy cooling cocktail mixes in the Mushroom Bar.
A far cry from the glitzy shopping streets it sits behind, Meat Liqour offers a grimy, rock ‘n’ roll vibe, and is considered by many to serve one of London’s best burgers. Embracing the trend for overindulgent ‘food challenges’, any glory hunters can step up to the triple chilli challenge: consisting of chilli burger, chilli dog and chilli fries. Expect to join a queue snaking out of the door: the irresistible sound of sizzling burgers draws hungry punters from miles around.
Set on a pretty residential street in Vauxhall, Bonnington has enjoyed a cult following since the early 1980s. Two hearty vegetarian dishes are offered each day (established in-house chefs take turns to cook), and a piled-high plate costs around £7. Being the fiercely boho joint that it is, Bonningon Café don’t hold an alcohol licence, so diners are invited to bring their own. And you won’t even be charged for corkage.
Encircled by the gentle lapping of the River Thames, R.S. Hispaniola is one of the few London restaurants to reside on water. A majestic presence permanently moored at Victoria Embankment, Hispaniola has served fine British cuisine to sea hardy diners for the last 30 years.
Author: Emma StarkieEmma Works at Bookatable.com