Over the coming weeks we have the opportunity to celebrate a range of days dedicated to food and drink, ranging from World Whisky Day right through to National Fish and Chips Day. And what better place to celebrate them than in the city that’s home to one of the most diverse range of food and drink options in the world?
When you’re in London, you have the culinary world at your fingertips. We’re not just talking in terms of whether you want Greek or Italian, but real niche requirements and specific tastes are completely catered for, almost irrelevant of where in the world your favourite dish comes from.
Being huge fans of great quality food – we love our own GBR restaurant, and it’s a firm favourite for many! – we enjoy exploring what the city has to offer, and over the years we’ve come across some particularly interesting places to eat.
So if you’re a foodie and love to try something new, let’s take a look at some of the most unique places you can eat in London.
1. Bunga Bunga
On the face of it, Bunga Bunga is just an Italian restaurant. Step inside one of the two London restaurants (Battersea and Covent Garden) and you’ll soon realise it’s anything but “just an Italian restaurant”.
Very much an ‘over the top’ place to eat, it’s all particularly tongue-in-cheek and it’s a brilliant place to visit if you’re with friends especially. Think great authentic food, brilliant drinks and an atmosphere that some might find a little overwhelming, but which many others can’t get enough of.
2. The Cheese Bar
If you’re more than a little partial to a good piece of cheese, head over to Camden and you’ll be able to revel in the glory that is The Cheese Bar. We’ll keep this short and sweet, but if you have a love for cheese – regardless of what type it is – a visit to The Cheese Bar, for lunch or dinner, is a must. Trust us.
If you want a food experience that touches on a range of senses, Cub in Shoreditch is the place.
A concept derived from the mind of cocktail wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana, it’s undoubtedly not your normal restaurant with a mainstream menu. Aside from the fact each dish is served with an appropriate cocktail, scrolling through the menu and you shouldn’t be surprised to see options such as ‘Bones’ and ‘Forced Rhubarb’ taking pride of place.
Be warned, though: Cub is particularly popular and is only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
4. Duck & Waffle
It might be quite a unique title, but Duck & Waffle are reportedly the highest 24/7 restaurant in the capital. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle have four separate menus to suit everyone throughout the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a specific ‘Late Night’ menu for those visiting between 11.30pm and 5am.
Enviable dishes are served throughout the day, and this doesn’t stop just because you’re on the late side of midnight. Duck egg en cocotte, spicy ox cheek doughnuts and Colombian eggs are all staples of the menu on offer after dinner and before breakfast.
Visiting during the day may be recommended, but visiting early in the morning to see the sun rise above London is truly fantastic.
5. Tiroler Hut
If you were to pick up Austria’s famed party atmosphere and move it to a single location in London, Tiroler Hut would be it. Think music, traditions and lots of encouragement to join.
It might seem like somewhat of a gimmick, but the place is a favourite for many who just want to have some food, drink and have an unashamedly good time.
If you’ve been to Hong Kong in recent years, you may very well have seen the craze that’s an egg waffle filled with anything from ice cream to fruit – affectionately known as a ‘bubblewrap’.
We may not be talking full blown meals here, but who wouldn’t want to walk around Soho with a sticky-sweet delight?
7. Cereal Killer Cafe
If you’ve been looking for quirky places to eat in London, it’s highly likely you’ll have at least heard in passing about Cereal Killer Cafe.
It may be a little controversial and it may be pricey for what it is (a medium bowl of cereal is not much cheaper than £4), but it’s the concept that’s so appealing – there are quite literally hundreds of cereals on offer from locations right around the world.
Whether you’ve wanted to try something from West Coast America or central Tokyo, you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere else that’s almost guaranteed to stock it (and have it ready for you with a choice of milks and toppings).
8. Cha Chaan Teng
In Hong Kong, a ‘cha chaan teng’ is essentially a cafe that serves tea and quick, easy food. The whole concept is to be able to go through the door, have something to eat and drink, and be back out within 15 or 20 minutes. They became particularly popular after the Second World War when you’d find local delicacies fused with Western influences.
Based on exactly this, London’s own Cha Chaan Teng gives guests the ability to eat food that’s a perfect combination of both East and West. We really can’t do it justice, but think what would happen if you walked into a US dinner, ordered some takeout, and then on your way home got a few items from the Chinese takeaway. It sounds a little unusual, but that’s exactly what it is.
9. Chin Chin Ice Cream
If you love Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, we’re almost certain you’ll fall in love with Camden and Soho’s Chin Chin Ice Cream.
When you head here, don’t expect vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours. A quick glance at the menu whilst writing this and they’re currently serving ‘Tonka Bean’, ‘Coffee and Olive Oil’ and ‘Pineapple and Habanero’, to name just a few.
Throw into the mix some interesting toppings (‘hazelnut sand’, anyone?) and it’s without doubt worth a trip, if not just to say you’ve been.
10. Dans Le Noir
This is arguably one of the most quirky places in London, regardless of whether we’re talking about restaurants or anything else.
Every member of staff is registered as blind. The entire restaurant floor is in complete darkness. You don’t know what you’ve eaten until you’ve actually left.
It’s different and an experience if nothing else.
The place to visit if you’re looking for food that you can’t easily find, you can – genuinely – dive into everything from crickets and python through to alpaca and kangaroo.
It’s definitely unusual and unless you’ve gone out of your way, you’re unlikely to have eaten the food on the menu at Archipelago before, so it’s no real surprise that it’s a particular favourite for those looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
12. Mari Vanna
The relaxed, laid back atmosphere of Russian family gatherings is exactly what has been aimed for with Mari Vanna. ‘Authentic’ is one of the words used to describe it by many of the visiting Russians, and as soon as you step through the door expect to be treated like one of the family.
A vodka-based cocktail, anyone? (tip: they all include vodka)
Have fun when eating out in London
Our city has some of the most renowned and revered restaurants in the world, and you really can eat at truly remarkable places.
But as with everything in London, there’s also the opportunity to eat in quirky, unusual and different places – and those here are just 12 examples of culinary experiences to explore if you want to do something a little out of the ordinary at meal time.