Monday 18 August 2014

Top 10 Best Quirky Restaurants in London

Think you’ve discovered everything the London dining scene has to offer? If you fancy exploring the kookier side of dining, we have a selection of unusual restaurants in London that define the epitome of quirky. Check out these off-the-wall eateries to indulge in dinner with a difference.
1. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium 
Bethnal Green
lady dinah cat cafe
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium
Hitting London in a storm of fur, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the first cat café to pop up in the capital. Frazzled city folk can increase their endorphins amongst the mélange of moggies, who
will be on hand whilst diners sip tea and graze on a menu of hearty Ploughman’s platters, local bagels or fresh scones. Upon first opening, bookings went off-the-hook-crazy so there’s a little wait to experience the kitsch kitty fest at London’s only cat café.
2. sketch Lecture Room  BOOK SKETCH LECTURE ROOM
sketch lecture room
sketch Lecture Room
Day-glo Art Deco surroundings couldn’t get more sophisticated than sketch Lecture Room, and with 2 Michelin stars for its innovative French cuisine, the vibrant artistry continues into the food. Masterchef Pierre Gagnaire leads the uber-innovative cooking at this gastronomic retreat, with masterpieces such as langoustine five ways, guineafowl with green tea stuffing and wickedly decadent chocolate soufflé. With all the creativity you would expect from the former House of Dior, sketch exudes an eclectic-mad-hatter fashion feel in it glorious technicolor design. Perhaps its most absurd quirk is its lavatorial one, as there are few places in London that have such surreal toilets. Think futuristic dinosaur space eggs manned by Victorian maids: it has to be seen to be believed.

3. Galvin La Chapelle  BOOK GALVIN LA CHAPELLE
galvin la chapelle
Galvin La Chapelle
Having dinner in a converted church makes for an awe-inspiring setting, and Michelin star-awarded Galvin La Chapelle is also arguably one of London’s most beautiful dining rooms. Dining under the 100-foot high vaulted ceiling in this Grade II listed church will mean all of your prayers are answered, especially when it gets to luxurious signature dishes from the Galvin brothers, like Dorset crab lasagne and chateaubriand.

4. Shaka Zulu  BOOK SHAKA ZULU
shaka zulu
Shaka Zulu
A tribal-themed setting provides the backdrop to Shaka Zulu, with the adventurous menu matching the audacious surroundings. From the traditional South African braai grill, sizzling game meats like springbok and zebra accompany ostrich and crocodile, alongside tropically exotic desserts. Love or loathe it, this place takes a tribal twist on chintz, with a brash zebra-print bar and a flamboyant space covered by elaborately carved murals. 
5. Bel Canto  BOOK BEL CANTO
bel canto
Bel Canto
Never been to a restaurant where the staff are trained opera singers? ‘Singing for your supper’ takes on new meaning at Bel Canto, with bursts of song and live piano music accompanying your meal every 15 minutes at this quirky London restaurant. Gastronomes wanting to indulge in a side of eccentric opera with dinner can sample the classically French fare, including rabbit stuffed with prunes and Armagnac or tart tatin.

blue elephant
Blue Elephant
Like a leafy replica of a quirky royal Thai palace on the river, Blue Elephant blooms with lush foliage and opulent orchids. Culinary delicacies indulging the scents of Thailand take on new flavours, so you can feast on luxurious Thai tamarind foie gras or juicy scallops with green peppercorn butter, alongside the more traditional pad Thai. With fresh ingredients flown in weekly from Thailand, Blue Elephant also has a reputation as one of the best Thai restaurants in London.

7. Dans le Noir 
dans le noir
Dans le Noir
Dining in the dark represents a journey into the unknown at Clerkenwell favourite Dans le Noir, the British venue of the Parisian restaurant concept where you’ll find (or not) the dining room blacked out completely. The concept centres around eating your meal in pitch-black darkness, so you can leave behind food-based prejudices and open your mind by solely having a sensory focus on taste and smell. If you dare to take a stab in the dark, go for the French-inspired cuisine on the surprise ‘chef’s special’ menu, served by the blind waiting staff at this famously unusual London restaurant. 
8. inamo BOOK INAMO
Cyber-dining at inamo has a futuristic vibe, with the world’s first interactive ordering system, allowing you to order from virtual touch-screen menus projected onto the tables. Popular with first-daters looking for an ice breaker, interactive jinks include a chef cam of the boisterous kitchen, battleship games and an order-your-own-taxi button. Fusing an east-meets-west vibe on its menu, you’ll find Pan-Asian creations like miso yuzu salmon and rich ribeye steak cooked on sizzling hot black stone.

9. Archipelago 
Offering a jungletastic journey into the unknown, Archipelago serves up a melting pot of exotic meats and tantalising bugs to a courageous crowd. Indulge your adventurous side by feasting on python carapaccio, love bug salad or crocodile with honey poached plums. An entrancing peacock lounge and trinket-heavy collection of exotica lend a bohemian feel to the surroundings, and combined with the bug-tastic menu, earns Archipelago a reputation as one of the more unusual restaurants in London.

10. Garlic and Shots 
Garlic and Shots
Garlic and Shots does what it says in the tin, with 101 different garlic-flavoured vodkas on offer, including the brain-busting signature Blood Shot of garlic, chilli and vodka. A garlic-inspired menu of culinary specialities and a skilled kitchen team means that the food is surprisingly good at this heavy metal joint: expect hearty mains like grills and rustic fish stew with garlic bread. The vampire-evading restaurant owners say, ‘you can always order more garlic, but never less.’ Be warned!
About The AuthorLili Levi
Lili is a bit of a foodie and loves cooking for dinner parties. 

Her favourite restaurants in London are Sketch Lecture Room and L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.
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