London’s Strange Restaurants: Whatever Next?

Ben O' Norum
By Ben O' Norum Last edited 92 months ago
London’s Strange Restaurants: Whatever Next?

Een Maal: solo dining

Not long ago we presented a selection of London’s strangest restaurants, including a hairdressers that serves food, singing waiters and dining in the dark. London has lots more up its unique sleeve, though. Here is a selection of new venues either just opened, due to open or potentially opening, which are just as wacky.

Knocking on Death Café’s door
It’s not the best name for an eatery, but rather than specialising in polishing you off with undercooked meats or the like, the Death Café project is actually a serious volunteer-led initiative. In fact, several pop-up Death Cafés have already been held around London including at Royal Festival Hall. The organisation’s website describes the cafés as working 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives', running as  a mealtime discussion with questions such as ‘what words would you like on your tombstone’ used to prompt and guide conversation. There’s a bit more information in this article, and we’re likely to be hearing a lot more in the future given that American founder, Jon Underwood, has recently announced plans to open a permanent Death Café in London before the year is out. There’s no talk of locations yet, but we’ve always thought that Morden had a deathly ring to it. Any other suggestions?

A table for one, please
Dining alone has long had something of a stigma attached to it, but perhaps not for much longer. Amsterdam’s Eenmaal (translated as ‘one meal’) restaurant will become the first in the world to accept only solo diners when it opens shortly. A set menu will be in place, while items geared towards single diners will include miniature bottles of Champagne. The restaurant’s founder Marina Van Goor told The Independent that if all goes well with this opening, she has her sights on London and Paris for subsequent branches. We’ll expect to see you there soon, then. On a separate table, though.

A souper idea?
We’ve had burgers and hotdogs, we’ve even had a polenta-only restaurant, now it’s the turn of soup. Around a week ago, Soupe Du Jour opened its doors on Soho’s Lexington Street serving soup and, well, that’s it. We’re yet to get down and try it, but the menu looks surprisingly interesting considering, with various soup bases (chicken, tomato, beef, carrot, potato) able to be pimped-up with toppings such as dumplings, cheese, croutons, tofu and flavoured butters.

Harry Potter tables and no choice at all
As we mentioned in our food and drink news recently, new restaurant Beast from the team behind Burger & Lobster is due to launch soon in London. Taking no choice to new levels, customers will all be charged £75 a head for the set menu (no drinks) and served food to be shared between four people. If you come as a two you’ll be paired up with another couple, if you come as a six you’ll be split up. The menu sees a whole wheel of parmesan come to the table to be hacked at for starters, while mains consist of a huge steak and a whole King crab to shared at the table. It’s all served in banqueting style, and the tables have even been made by the same people who built them the for the Harry Potter films. Ordering off menu is not permitted. Beast opens on 7 May.

Introducing La Placenteria
Following in the footsteps of Polenta restaurant La Polenteria, a collective of health-nuts are due to open a restaurant of a similar name serving only fresh placentas, sourced from nearby London maternity wards. OK, that’s not happening. But it could. This lady from Chelmsford explains that "it's packed full of stem cells, it's iron-rich, and heals wounds on the uterus”, and suggests eating it raw in a smoothie. While clearly not vegetarian, placentas are wheat, gluten, dairy and virtually fat free, plus there’s no reason why placenta restaurants couldn’t become an important source of revenue for the cash-strapped NHS. Still, we’d imagine that rare burger-wary Westminster Council might have an objection or three.

Any other wacky restaurant concepts you could imagine opening soon in London? Let us know your (serious and not so serious) ideas 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.

Last Updated 16 July 2015