With over 25,000 restaurants in the city of London, good food isn’t always enough to stand out from the crowd. In no particular order, here are 12 of the most unusual and wonderfully unique London restaurants you must try!
Often dinner is followed by a show, but at Circus the show happens during your dinner, and possibly right on top of your table! In between courses and sporadically throughout the night, lights go down and the music turns up as entertainers – anything from burlesque dancers to contortionists, fire-breathers and acrobats – take the stage. Their pan-Asian sharing or tasting menu will not disappoint, either. Popular dishes include hamachi sashimi, lobster tempura, prawn and chive dumplings and Korean BBQ chicken. Perfect for group bookings and birthday parties.
27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BA. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
Dans Le Noir
At Dans Le Noir diners are escorted into a pitch black room and served a mystery meal by blind waiters. There are four menu themes to choose from – meat, fish, vegetarian or trust the chef – but you won’t know what you’re eating until the very end. Use your heightened senses to taste the ingredients and try your best to navigate your knife a fork in the dark! It’s a very strange experience, but one that continues to intrigue people the world over. There are now 9 Dans Le Noir restaurants around the world from London to Melbourne. Read my review here.
30-31 Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0DU. Open daily.
This sister restaurant to the Madrid outpost by three-Michelin-starred Spanish chef David Muñoz opened in Mayfair at the end of 2016. Muñoz proudly calls his European, Asian and South American inspired cuisine the ‘Cirque du Soleil of Gastronomy’, where everything is a performance from the food and drink to the service and ambiance. Expect cocktails served out of a giant fishbowl or ceramic human heart by staff wearing straight jackets. A cross between a horror show and an art exhibition, his ‘punk-rock-meets-fine-dining’ approach is an experience not to be missed. Read my review here.
15 Old Burlington St, Mayfair, W1S 2JR. Open daily.
La Bodega Negra
Disguised as another Soho sex shop, this Mexican restaurant wouldn’t be my first choice for dinner with the parents… Inside, you’ll be taken down into the dark, cellar-like basement that morphs into a nightclub-type place later on. It’s a loud and fun venue perfect for late night dinner and drinks with friends. Compared to other Mexican restaurants in London, the food is very good, featuring all the favourites such as tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, and an extensive list of tequilas!
9 Old Compton St, Soho, W1D 5JF. Open daily.
The most extravagant Chinese restaurant in London, this Mayfair venue combines contemporary Chinese dining with live music and entertainment. It’s another basement venue with plush interiors that resemble a cross between a nightclub and a boudoir. If you fancy some jazz with your dim sum, this is the place. The food is good but don’t expect Yauatcha or Hakkasan. Those are Michelin starred, while this place is more just for fun.
17 Berkeley St, Mayfair, W1J 8EA. Open daily.
Open since 1967, this Austrian restaurant has a host with the most, yodelling and cow bell playing superhost, Joseph. Expect extra cheese from the fondue to the entertainment. Inside this Austrian chalet style venue, with staff dressed in traditional Austrian attire serving countless Krügels, it’s easy to forget you’re in London. When my former boss came to visit from Kansas this is where I decided to take him. I can’t help it, even though the food is pretty average, I love coming here with big groups for big laughs.
27 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, W2 4UA. Closed on Mondays.
Another cheesy London favourite is Bunga Bunga, an Italian restaurant dedicated to Silvio ‘Bunga Bunga’ Berlusconi of Bunga Bunga sex party fame. Part restaurant, part bar, part madness, there are now two venues to choose from. The Battersea original features karaoke every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while the newest Covent Garden addition hosts a variety show. On the menu are pizzas, giant gimmicky cocktails and a whole lotta nonsense. Great for birthday parties, but watch out for drunk people who might try to steal your cake (true story).
37 Battersea Bridge Rd, Battersea, SW11 3BA. Closed on Mondays.
167 Drury Lane, Covent Garden WC2B 5PG. Open Wednesday to Saturday.
Duck & Waffle
If you have never eaten an egg atop a confit duck leg atop a waffle doused in syrup, you haven’t lived. The sweet and savoury combination is a bit like bacon with french toast, but possibly even better. There are two places to enjoy this delicacy. The original can be found on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower at literally any time, any day of the week. Alternatively, there is the more casual Duck & Waffle Local at St. James’s, Picaddilly.
110 Bishopsgate, 40th Floor Heron Tower, Liverpool Street, EC2N 4AY. Open 24/7.
Duck & Waffle Local: 52 Haymarket, St. James’s, SW1Y 4RP. Open all week from 8:00-23:00.
Carousel is one of the only permanent restaurants in London where not only does the menu change each week, so do the chefs! As the name suggests, Carousel hosts an ever-changing line-up of chefs and cuisines for dinner, with resident cook and founder Ollie Templeton in charge of lunch. Founded by four cousins, the venue also hosts a rotating agenda of experiences and exhibitions. Read my review here.
71 Blandford St, Marylebone, W1U 8AB. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Yashin Ocean House
Seabass carpaccio with burrata, candy floss black cod and truffle jelly tuna sashimi are just some of the more unusual food combinations at this high-quality Japanese fusion restaurant. Sushi served on British bone china in a room lit by a life-sized horse lamp, this quirky Japanese restaurant looks right at home in its Chelsea neighbourhood. Read my review here.
117 – 119 Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, SW7 3RN. Open daily.
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Just got 40kg of tuna from Balfego, Spain. This part is called Ichiban kamashita which is the best cut of whole tuna. Feel sorry for others who bought rest of the tuna, but we only use the best cuts. #tuna #balfego #balfegó #本マグロ #本鮪 #トロ #大トロ #otoro #toro #chutoro #fattytuna #yashinsushi #yashinlondon #londonfoodie #londonfoodblogger #michelin #腹カミ
Probably the most instagrammed venue in London, there are several dining rooms and cocktail bars inside this 18th century townhouse. The Lecture Room restaurant has not one but two Michelin stars, while the Parlour does all-day dining and cocktails. Recently refurbished, the mythical forest interiors of the Glade make it the most beautiful room in all of London for lunch and cocktails. You might think that the all-pink Gallery restaurant would be the star, but it has tough competition from… the toilets. The egg-shaped, pod-like toilets of Sketch are something of a London tourist attraction.
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, W1S 2XG. Open all day every day.
Zédel’s has to be one of London’s best-kept secrets. It’s less than a minute’s walk from Piccadilly and yet most people don’t even know it exists. From the outside, it looks like an old French-style cafe, but inside, the venue opens up into something really special. First of all, it’s huge, housing a separate bar, restaurant and live entertainment venue. Designed in the style of a luxury transatlantic cruiseliner, it remains the most authentic example of 1930s interiors in the city. The brasserie restaurant has impressive wall to ceiling marble pillars and brass details, while the Parisian-style food is excellent value for money.
20 Sherwood St, Soho | Piccadilly, W1F 7ED. Open daily.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Bunga Bunga Cocktails, Inception Group
For more London restaurant inspiration, see:
Top 10 London Restaurants for Foodies
Where to Eat Portuguese Food in London
Five Best Burger Joints in London
Oh so many fabulous restaurants!
So great choices here!!
What a fun, eclectic list of restaurants. I struggle a little with Zedel – love the interior design and the Crazy Coqs, but the food leaves me a little cold (could be because I don’t eat meat). Definitely adding Street XO to my list.
What a great line-up of places Lara. I’m going to be referring back to these when I’m down and needing some good noshing! Circus and Street XO are jumping out at me right now! x
They are both a lot of fun! I also think you’d really like Carousel. x
Wow this is such a great post! I’ve written them all down and want to try them! Especially the La Bodega Negra – thinking of going there for my birthday! 😀
Thank you :0)
Thank you Holly 🙂 La Bodega Negra would be amazing for your birthday. Such a fun venue, I suggest you book a table for 9 pm or later so you get to keep it all night. x
Ooh a fantastic selection!! I really want to go to Street XO. I’ve been to Circus with my ex work mates – was fun! I haven’t been to Park Chinois yet
Thanks Binny! I don’t think I was prepared for Street XO when I went. It was such a mad explosion of cuisines, ingredients, flavours, all served to us at rocket speed it was one of those, wtf just happened moments, but in a good way. I’d definitely go back. I’m not sure if the Korean lasagne is still on the menu, but it was one of my favourites. x