The Best Quirky Restaurants in London

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Quirky and unusual restaurants – London’s full of ‘em. And it’s just as well, since sometimes the pressed white linen, classic cuisine and friendly service of London’s best restaurants can get a bit, well, dull. When you’re hankering after a meal that’s a touch strange, offbeat or downright weird, look no further than these – the quirkiest, most unusual restaurants in London. Sure, they may not be home to London’s best dishes, but for a dinner with a difference, these food freak shows won’t let you down.

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Attenda

Quirky and unusual restaurants – London’s full of ‘em. And it’s just as well, since sometimes the pressed white linen, classic cuisine and friendly service of London’s best restaurants can get a bit, well, dull. When you’re hankering after a meal that’s a touch strange, offbeat or downright weird, look no further than these – the quirkiest, most unusual restaurants in London. Sure, they may not be home to London’s best dishes, but for a dinner with a difference, these food freak shows won’t let you down.

 
Image result for bob bob ricard restaurant london

Bob Bob Ricard

What’s quirky about it? Firstly, it’s a Soho restaurant that takes bookings. Secondly, its Art-Deco interiors are so lavishly decorated that you feel like you’re on a film set. And on top of that, there are buttons that you press to summon champagne at will. Just don’t nudge it by mistake.

Don’t miss: A £29 chaser of celebrated dessert wine Chateau d’Yquem – usually only sold by the half bottle (for hundreds of pounds).

How much? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £130.

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Bubblewrap

What’s quirky about it? This freaky dessert is a take on the Hong Kong phenomenon, which had fans queuing around the block when it opened a shop in Soho in 2017. But WTF even is it? It’s an egg waffle, essentially. The bobbly batter forms a cone that’s then filled with ice cream, fruit, chocolate and whatever else takes your fancy.

Before you go: Wrap yourself up too. You may have to queue and it’s not a cosy café – expect to take this street food out onto the streets.

How much? Waffles start at £5.59.

 
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The Cheese Bar

What’s quirky about it? It’s a whole damn restaurant dedicated to the good stuff: dairy. The Cheese Bar is from the street food gods behind The Cheese Truck. Go wild on baked camembert, queso fundido and more oozing toasties than you can shake a mozzarella stick at. It’s going to be gouda.

Before you go: Maybe skip lunch before a trip there. The poutine contains chips, cheese curds, a fried egg, candied pancetta and bacon gravy. Sweet cheesus.

How much? Toasties hover around the £5 mark.

 
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Dans Le Noir?

What’s quirky about it? Not only are all staff at this Clerkenwell restaurant registered blind, but they also have the upper hand, because your entire meal takes place in a darkness so total that even locating – let along using – your knife and fork can be a challenge.

Before you go: Leave all your light-emitting devices at home – forget about tweeting, Instagramming and selfies. There’s no cheating here.

How much? £72 for three courses with wine and an apéritif.

 
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Duck & Waffle

What’s quirky about it? When 24-hour licensing was introduced in the UK, we looked forward to round-the-clock craic. Not much actually changed – but at least it meant London could welcome swanky, sky-scraping restaurant and bar Duck & Waffle, with its 24/7 opening hours and spectacular 360-degree views of the capital.

Don’t miss: Decadent favourites such as foie gras crème brûlée with butter-basted lobster and brioche, or the signature salty-sweet duck and waffle.

How much? Meal for two including drinks and service: around £120.

 
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Fifteen

Venue says: “Try our new food-inspired cocktail list prepared by head bartender J! Or try one of our seasonally changing menus created by the team.”

What’s quirky about it? Jamie Oliver’s charitable flagship is so smart and slick that it wouldn’t tick the ‘quirky’ box if you didn’t know that the kitchen is a training ground for disadvantaged young people. So you can feel good about yourself just by eating a shortrib, chanterelle and truffle pie.

Don’t miss: A trip downstairs to the loos – the walls of the staircase are hung with photos of Fifteen alumni. Brings a tear to the eye.

How much? Meal for two including drinks and service: around £100.

 
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Indian YMCA

What’s quirky about it? Unlike 99 percent of London restaurants, this cut-price lunchtime bolthole couldn’t give a monkeys about its looks. There’s a strong staff-canteen vibe about the place, but that doesn’t put off in-the-know office workers who come for the freshly prepared, astonishingly cheap and pleasingly authentic curries.

Don’t miss: Veggie delights such as dahi vada and egg curry, plus a set lunch menu for – wait for it – £7.

How much? Meal for two including drinks: around £12.

 
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La Bodega Negra

Venue says: “Get 50% off food Sunday to Wednesday if you dine before 7pm. Book using the code ‘Frida’.”

What’s quirky about it? It’s gone full sex shop – which means once you’ve plucked up the courage to push open the neon-lit door, you’re met by a mannequin in a gimp suit and ‘shop assistants’ who continue the ruse. Awks. The Mexican restaurant – all fired-up atmosphere and film-star looks – is downstairs.

Don’t miss: Sharing plates such as slow-roasted lamb with booze-laced sauce, plus bespoke margaritas for £8.50.

How much? Meal for two including service: around £95.

 

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Petersham Nurseries Café

What’s quirky about it? Never has a restaurant been so relieved to lose a Michelin star –described as a ‘curse’ because it raised expectations of what is essentially a high-end, hippy-chic garden-centre restaurant. Take your seat in the greenhouse, enjoy the herb-laced, petal-strewn dishes, and don’t let the dirt floor scuff your Manolos.

Don’t miss: A stroll around the gardens, with an obligatory selfie stop. Or book a candlelit dinner at one of the restaurant’s sporadic ‘supperclub’ nights.

How much? Meal for two including drinks and service: around £100.

 
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Rochelle Canteen

What’s quirky about it? This simple, joyful restaurant is housed behind the walls of a former Victorian school, in the beautifully converted bike sheds. Short daily menus comprise simple seasonal pleasures such as grilled lamb with green sauce, or blood orange mess.

Don’t miss: Rock up on a sunny day and you can enjoy your lunch in the grassy sun-trap garden. Inner-city bliss.

How much? Meal for two including service: around £70. (BYO drinks.)

 
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Rules

What’s quirky about it? What isn’t quirky about it? Quite aside from the fact that it’s knocking on 200 years when many new London restaurants barely survive soft launch, this historic haunt boasts famous former customers from Charles Dickens to John Betjeman, and even had a cameo in ‘Spectre’. Sooo old, yet with it – like catching your grandad vaping.

Don’t miss: Sipping a Royal 29, dedicated to Kate Middleton, in the discreet upstairs bar – or game season, when the kitchen comes into its own.

How much? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £120.

 
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Save the Date Café

What’s quirky about it? Two things: firstly, dishes such as beef carpaccio or blood-orange soufflé use (perfectly edible) ingredients that were en route to landfill. Secondly, you pay whatever you feel is a fair for it. Just don’t take that as a green light to rinse them – these are the good guys, remember?

Before you go: Watch co-founder James Smart’s talk on waste food at TEDx Clerkenwell.

How much? As much or as little as you want/have – yes, really.

Please note, Save The Date is currently on a short hiatus, but promises to be back later in 2017. Check the Facebook page for the latest.

 
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Sketch

Venue says: “One vision, one afternoon tea… In a room refined by a curious mind, a touch of humour…Join us at sketch Gallery”

What’s quirky about it? The creatives behind Sketch’s more-is-more eclecticism really went to town – from the velvet-clad, dandy-esque afternoon-tea salon to its Michelin-starred flagship, The Gallery, which periodically commissions high-profile artists like Martin Creed and David Shrigley to redecorate. Suffice to say, there’s not a filament bulb in sight.

Don’t miss: A trip to the cluster of quirky egg-shaped toilets, where birdsong piped into each pod will preserve your dignity as you pee.

How much? Afternoon tea from £58 per person.

 
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Ziferblat

What’s quirky about it? Ziferblat looks like any other trendy Shoreditch café but, in a brave twist, everything you eat and drink here is free – you pay for the time you spend within its walls. The vibe is based on Russian community centres, with group discussions, creative endeavours and idling all actively encouraged.

Don’t miss: Pick up a stop-clock at the counter to keep track of the passing minutes.

How much? 5p per minute (£3 per hour).

 

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nt

What’s quirky about it? As the name suggests, Attendant’s previous incarnation was an altogether different place to spend a penny. Abandoned since the 1960s, this former WC has been repurposed as a hip café with urinals as single-seater booths and an admirable (but perhaps wise) absence of scatological puns.

Don’t miss: Attendant is also open for breakfast and brunch – start the day with almond-milk porridge or vanilla-dipped French toast.

How much? Sandwiches and coffee for two: around £15.

 

source: Timeout

 

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