The oddest eateries in town. For better and worse...
The one where you can get a haircut
Hurwundeki close to Cambridge Heath station has a particularly peculiar niche. Not only can you eat very decent, authentic Korean food there, but you can get a short back and sides at the same time. Set under a railway bridge, a dishevelled-looking restaurant space connects directly to a hair salon through an archway. If you find a hair in your noodles, you’d better hope it’s your own.
The one where you can’t see a thing
Dans Le Noir is run almost entirely by blind people, and when you enter the dining area, you too will have to make do without your sight as you are plunged into darkness. Problems start with making the glass as you pour wine and end with getting accidentally over-acquainted with the person sat next to you. We’ll even admit that on one occasion in the past, Londonist visited and fell asleep after a little too much wine. Well, it was dark…
The one where you order on touchscreens…
Inamo have two branches, one in Soho and one in St. James’s. The menu of sushi and pan-Asian small plates isn’t particularly unique in itself, but the way you order is. Projectors beam menus onto the tabletop, where you can use in-built buttons to order dishes to arrive to the table with no need to ever speak to a waiter. You can even use the table to hail a cab or check the Tube at the end of the night, and there are some games to play just in case conversation is that bad.
The one that’s all about Berlusconi
Bunga Bunga in Battersea has made quite a name for itself as an Italian restaurant and party place themed almost entirely around the Italian ex-Prime Minister and his famed Bunga Bunga parties. The food is reassuringly normal, and rather good — pizzas, pastas and the likes — but be prepared to see Silvio staring down at you from just about every corner of the room.
The one with a river in it
Pasha likes to keep guests on their toes. As if walking into a hotel in Camberwell to find a Kazakhstani restaurant where you’re asked to take off your shoes and sit on the cushioned floor isn’t unusual enough, they’ve only gone and installed a river. Complete with fish and everything. We’re guessing it must more accurately be a pond, really, but a river is exactly what it looks like. The menu of mezze and grills is also surprising in just how good it is, especially given prices as low as a fiver for some mains.
Update: Pasha has now been refurbished and the river didn't make the cut. Weird.
The one with acrobats
Circus, as this Covent Garden restaurant is quite aptly called, really ought to be in a big top. Between courses of decent if not exceptional pan-Asian cuisine, your tabletop will be transformed into a runway for firebreathers, jugglers and somersaults, as acrobats flip and twirl overhead. Quite a spectacle.
The one where they sing with your supper
Sarastro on Drury Lane has a tendency to be quite touristy. Perhaps that’s because not so many locals wish to be serenaded by operatic waiters as they eat their food. There’s lots of talent here (probably marginally more in the singing than in the mixed Mediterranean dishes), but be aware that we’re not talking a guitarist in the corner: as a diner you are slap bang in the middle of a dramatically played-out storyline of song. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Let us know of any more restaurant rarities and peculiar places to eat in the comments below.
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.