Home EuropeEngland Quirky, Unusual And Unique Restaurants In London (2019 Guide)

Quirky, Unusual And Unique Restaurants In London (2019 Guide)

by Chloe Gunning
Circolo Popolare London (Credit: Jérôme Galland)
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From watching circus performers as you tuck into your main course, to eating in the dark, in a prison or while watching some weird and wonderful entertainment, these unique restaurants in London offer something very special.

London, you really are such a weird and wonderful city, and that’s part of why I love you so much! I was inspired to write this after writing my post about unique things to do in London (up to 47, but no doubt more to add). I came across so many incredible places to eat, that I felt they deserved their own blog.

There’s Archipelago London – a restaurant leading the way with its exotic menu. How about Circus Restaurant with its magical live entertainment shows, which will leave you seriously impressed? There are unusual restaurants like Dans Le Noir and The Clink, which are doing incredible work in the community, and working to change perceptions.

Enjoying dinner on board The Murder Express, London

Enjoying dinner on board The Murder Express, London – another quirky London restaurant experience

There are out and out fun spots like Bunga Bunga, where you’ll be smiling and laughing for the duration of your visit.

So, whether you’re looking for somewhere quirky for a date, a memorable experience for a hen do, or a cool spot for a catch up with friends, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with one of these unique restaurants in London.

Unique Restaurants in London – The Map

All of my favourite quirky restaurants in London are marked on the map below. There are some great places all over the city, so no doubt you’ll be able to find one close to where you live or where you’re staying.

Dans Le Noir

When it comes to quirky restaurants in London, I think this is one of the most intriguing! Dans Le Noir translates as ‘in the dark’, which gives you a hint to what makes this dining experience special. After being led to your table in the pitch black, you’ll start to find your other senses are heightened, as you focus on the smell and taste of your food. Too add to the concept, the waiters are blind too. It’s a unique experience, but one that will make you appreciate every single mouthful.

Dans Le Noir, London Photos  ©Dans le Noir 2017.

Dans Le Noir, London
Photos  ©Dans le Noir 2017.

Dans Le Noir, London Photos  ©Dans le Noir 2017.

Dans Le Noir, London
Photos  ©Dans le Noir 2017.

La Bodega Negra

I’ll never forget the first time I visited this Soho restaurant for a Christmas lunch celebration. After panicking that I was venturing into a sex shop with my boss, I realised we were at one of the coolest restaurants in the city. Once you’ve passed the seedy-looking neon signs saying ‘Adult Video’ and ‘Peep Show’, you’ll venture to the basement of La Bodega Negra. With its cave-like, candle-lit interior, it’s a chic space with an air of mischief. As for the food? Expect high end Mexican fare, including tuna tostadas, slow cooked lamb barbacoa and pork belly tacos, all washed down with tequila and smoky mezcal cocktails.

Outside of La Bodega Negra

Outside of La Bodega Negra

La Bodega Negra

La Bodega Negra

Circolo Popolare

The newest opening to make this list, this new Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia is setting Instagram on fire with its incredible décor. With a pretty array of lights hanging from the ceilings, walls covered in pictures, over 20,000 spirit bottles, and a garden on the ceiling, it’s one of the prettiest restaurant interiors you’ll find in London. I haven’t visited yet, but I’ve heard good things about both the food and atmosphere. They’ve gone for friendly Italian vibes, with a big fat sense of humour. Dishes include the ‘John Malkofish’ and ‘Truffle Shuffle’ pizzas (which can be ordered by the metre), and ‘Carmina Burrata’ linguine. See, I bet you’re smiling just reading this!

Circolo Popolare London (Credit: Jérôme Galland)

Circolo Popolare London (Credit: Jérôme Galland)

Circus

Roll up, roll up, and prepare for dinner with a difference. At this glam spot in Covent Garden, you’ll feast on tasty pan-Asian food while enjoying a show by talented circus performers and cabaret acts. Forget novelty acts though, it’s a sophisticated style of circus on display, with lots of the acts treating the long communal table as their catwalk. If you’ve ever fancied your sushi or dim sum with a side of sexy fire breathers, or boozy sparkler-topped cocktails accompanied by sequin-clad hula girls, Circus Restaurant London is the place for you!

Circus, London

Circus, London

Redemption

You probably associate eating out with overindulgence, but at Redemption, you don’t need to worry about putting on the pounds. One of the healthiest restaurants in London, Redemption serves vegan, sugar-free and wheat free food. Forget the booze too – there’s an alcohol-free bar serving fancy mocktails. With Londoners’ love of healthy eating, it’s hardly surprising to hear there are now three branches in the city (Shoreditch, Notting Hill and Covent Garden). Popular dishes include jackfruit tacos, pad Thai and Vietnamese summer rolls. The meat-free burger looks seriously inviting too! 

Redemption burger

Redemption burger

Garlic & Shots

The most literal restaurant name in London, you might want to stock up on chewing gum if you’re visiting Soho favourite, Garlic & Shots! Food wise, choose from an international garlicky menu, including Thai garlic prawns, Swedish garlic sausage and Texan garlic chilli. The drinks menu is just as heavy on the garlic, featuring over 100 types of vodka (including several infused with garlic). 

Sarastro 

One of the most famous restaurants in Covent Garden, Sarastro is a favourite amongst thespians, with its lavish décor and theatrical interiors. While the restaurant serves up a tasty selection of Mediterranean dishes, the focus is definitely on the entertainment, with live music most nights of the week, including performances by London’s top opera singers.

Sarastro Restaurant, Covent Garden

Sarastro Restaurant, Covent Garden

Archipelago

Looking for quirky restaurants in London which serve unusual foods? Take a trip to Archipelago! While many of the restaurants on this list made the cut due to their quirky décor, this one has definitely earned its spot from its menu of exotic meats. From smoked python carpaccio and crispy zebra jerky, to crocodile curry and kangaroo skewers (tastes like chicken… right?!) this is a great restaurant for travel lovers, who can sample unusual delicacies from around the world. More of a sweet tooth? Finish your meal with some caramel mealworms!

Zebra jerky at Archipelago, London

Zebra jerky at Archipelago, London (Credit: Archipelago)

Restaurant Story

One of the best places to eat in London, Restaurant Story is also one of the quirkiest! Top chef Tom Sellers British has come up with a clever concept: to tell the story of food through an ever-evolving tasting menu of seasonal dishes. The restaurant works a little differently to most, as you aren’t given a menu to choose dishes from. Instead, an 8 or 10 course tasting menu is built around your likes and dislikes, and what’s in season at the time of your visit. As a little guide, previous dishes have included snail ravioli, wild duck with bilberry, and pigeon with pine.

Restaurant Story, London

Restaurant Story, London

The Jam Restaurant

Amongst the expensive eateries lining Chelsea’s King’s Road lies this quirky Italian restaurant. What makes it different? Well, I don’t know anywhere else in London where you have to climb up a ladder to reach your table! It’s been nicknamed the ‘tree house restaurant’ but you could almost compare it to eating in a restaurant of bunk beds, or train carriages! As for the menu, expect tasty pizzas and small plates of tasty Italian classics.

The Jam, London

The Jam, London

Click here for 47 quirky and unusual things to do in London

Bunga Bunga

One of my favourite quirky restaurants in London, Bunga Bunga is one of the most fun places to eat in Covent Garden. The name is a nod to Silvio Berlusconi’s famous party lifestyle, and once you head downstairs, you’ll feel like you’re a guest at one of his infamous bashes. I visited as part of a big group dinner, enjoying pizzas that spanned the length of the table, accompanied by hilarious comedy and cabaret. It’s one of the best places in London for a birthday party or hen/stag do.

Bunga Bunga Covent Garden

Bunga Bunga Covent Garden

Inamo

I celebrated my birthday at Inamo London in my early 20s, and loved the novelty! I’ve always felt surprised that other restaurants haven’t tried to copy it, as the idea is so clever. The Asian fusion restaurant uses projectors to create a virtual menu on the table. Yep, you can actually see versions of the dishes you’re considering, projected onto the plate in front of you! It’s very clever, and while you’re waiting for your food, you can mess around by choosing tablecloth designs, playing Battleships with the person opposite, or watching the chefs at work on the special ‘chef cam’.

Interactive tables at Inamo London

Interactive tables at Inamo London

Dragon roll at Inamo London

Dragon roll at Inamo London

The Clink Restaurant

Did you know you can go for breakfast, lunch or dinner at HMP Brixton? Inside the prison is The Clink Restaurant, where meals are cooked and served by inmates working towards gaining cooking qualifications. Not only does the food get great reviews, it’s also amazing that there’s an opportunity to help those working towards a new life. In fact, the latest stats have revealed that people following this course were less likely to reoffend. In order to visit, you’ll need to book 72 hours in advance, and go through security checks on arrival. 

The Doodle Bar

This restaurant takes creativity to another level! Yep, at Doodle Bar you can scribble on the walls as you enjoy food and drink with friends. There’s a ping pong table too, so it’s a fun place for a catch up. After creating a masterpiece out of chalk, tuck into one of their famous Doodle Burgers, then rub the wall down and start again!

Doodle Bar (Photo: Doodle Bar)

Doodle Bar (Photo: Doodle Bar)

Barge East

Moored on the canal in Hackney, this hipster hangout is one of the coolest restaurants in east London. The Dutch barge is over 100 years old, and in a lovely location, close to the Olympic Park. Once on board you can feast on delicious snacks and mains, including pork belly sausage rolls, beetroot cured trout and burrata with poached rhubarb. They also serve brunch at weekends and hearty roasts on Sundays. On a sunny day in London, there’s no better place to relax for a few hours.

Barge East, Hackney

Barge East, Hackney

Sketch

Sketch is one of London’s coolest restaurants, with several bars and dining rooms within the smart building on Conduit Street. My favourite is the powder pink ‘Gallery’, which is easily one of the prettiest places to eat in London. What’s more, the walls are adorned with prints by one of my favourite artists, David Shrigley. His creations have such a sense of humour, you’ll be giggling your way through your meal. Oh, and if you’re dining at Sketch, you HAVE to visit the famous ‘eggloos’ too! The white, egg-like space pods sit in a room with a disco-style colourful ceiling, and add to the reasons why Sketch is one of the most unusual restaurants in London.

The Gallery at Sketch, London (Credit: Ed Reeve)

The Gallery at Sketch, London (Credit: Ed Reeve)

The toilets at Sketch, London (Credit: Ed Reeve)

The toilets at Sketch, London (Credit: Ed Reeve)

The Medieval Banquet

One of the entries that made it onto my list of 47 quirky and unique things to do in London, at The Medieval Banquet you’ll turn back time with an incredible feast, just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. This torchlit banquet is hosted by Henry VIII and his serving wenches, who will sing and dance while serving your meal. The evening features a live band, a four-course meal plus wines and ales fit for a King or Queen.

Check prices and availability for the London Medieval Banquet

Medieval Banquet, London

Medieval Banquet, London

Hello Darling

Another brand-new opening in London, Hello Darling is a vibrant restaurant with wonderfully eclectic décor, located next door to The Old Vic. With the restaurant name signed across the front of the building, this is the kind of place you’ll find yourself snapping several photos of before you even enter! There’s a delicious sounding menu of seasonal sharing dishes, including harissa quail with couscous, curried scallops and Miso glazed tuna carpaccio. I’ve heard great things, and it’s definitely on my ever-growing list of ‘must try restaurants in London!’

(Credit: Hanson Leatherby)

Hello Darling, London (Credit: Hanson Leatherby)

Bob Bob Ricard

Home of the legendary ‘Press for Champagne’ button, Bob Bob Ricard is a beautiful art-deco restaurant serving a luxurious menu of British and Russian dishes. With an ‘elegant’ dress code, this is a great place for a London date or special occasion. There are a mix of tables and booths, along with some beautiful private dining rooms (perfect for group dinners), each with a ‘press for champagne’ button. After I visited, I was tempted to install one at home! Start your dinner with oysters or caviar, followed by the salmon or beef tartare royale (which comes with 20g of caviar) and finish with a lemon sorbet with vodka. It’s definitely a restaurant for pure indulgence.

Press For Champagne (Photo: Bob Bob Ricard)

Press For Champagne (Photo: Bob Bob Ricard)

I hope my guide to the most unusual restaurants in London helps you pick the perfect place for a fun meal! Whether you’re looking for restaurants in London for teenage birthdays, hen dos, stag dos, family get togethers or something totally different, let me know where you choose.

Or if you know of somewhere you think should be on this list, let me know in the comments below. Fancy seeing more of London’s quirky side? Don’t miss my guide to to the 47 most unusual things to do in London.

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