Hot on the tail feathers of last week’s owl bar pop-up and this weekend’s whole foods restaurant for dogs — and in the run up to next month’s micro-pig picnic — Londonist can exclusively pretend to reveal that another batch of cafés, bars and restaurants with animal themes are coming to the capital.
Cereal Milker Café
The twins behind Brick Lane’s Cereal Killer Café have announced plans to open a second site, this time on Clerkenwell’s Cowcross Street. Inspired by its location, they have decided to up the ante by keeping cows in its small courtyard and squeezing milk straight from their udders onto customers’ bowls of cereal. In the future they also plan to expand into the site next door and bring in goats and sheep so they can offer a choice of milk. They will also be feeding the cows different diets to see if this affects the flavour of the milk. Animal rights protestors say they are concerned with how the cows will feel about being so close to Smithfield Market, a site which has caused a lot of pain in their community.
Sabre-toothed Cat Café
Having spotted the near simultaneous trend for cat cafés and paleolithic food in London, a private investor has been working with scientists and animal breeders to bring back the sabre-toothed cat in order to fulfil his vision of a truly caveman-style restaurant. In it he will serve food that is free from gluten, dairy, potatoes and vegetable oils while the baby cats will be fed chunks of meat. An opening date is yet to be announced while a few teething problems are sorted out.
Giraffe Sky Diner
Giraffe Manor in Kenya is one of the world’s most exclusive hotels, allowing guests to stay in rooms surrounded by giraffes, with the animals frequently popping their long necks through upper floor windows to say hello or get a taste of what’s on the dinner table. It has inspired a two-month pop-up which will be coming to London next month, jointly funded by Network Rail and TfL in a bid to distract passengers from the ongoing congestion troubles at London Bridge station. The team have borrowed three giraffes from London Zoo and built a makeshift enclosure for them on the roof of London Bridge station. From here the giraffes will be able to reach up to the sixth floor of the Shard and dine at windowside tables along with members of the public who will take the seats on the other side of the table. Heston Blumenthal has put together a special menu for the occasion, built mainly around hay.
Badger’s Potato Bar
A Bodger & Badger-themed mashed potato bar is coming to Soho later this year, with real badgers. It will open just across the road from polenta-only restaurant La Polenteria and serve three different types of mash — plain, cheesy and mustard — along with varying stews as toppings. The specially-trained badgers will dig potatoes out of large sunken soil pits in the restaurant and carry them in their mouths to the kitchen for mashing. Chefs will take over from this point, as the badgers haven’t been quite that well trained. The drinks list will include a range of shooters made from flavoured vodkas distilled from potatoes, which will be humorously branded as TB Shots.
House of Kopi
Coming soon to a Hoxton side-street is House of Kopi, a coffee shop and roastery like London has never known before. Its coffee-centric owners turn their noses up at most beans, preferring to drink only kopi luwak — coffee berries which have been eaten and defecated by civet cats. It’s argued that this makes for the finest coffee for two reasons: because the clever cats only choose the finest berries in the first place, and because going through their digestive systems improves the flavour. While you can buy the pricey coffee in a number of London coffee shops already, this will be the first time its actually been made here. The civet cats will be free to roam the coffee shop while munching on piles of berries and staff will rummage through their excrement to find the desired beans which will be roasted on-site and served as fresh as possible. It remains to be seen whether east Londoners will agree that this coffee is the shit.
These venues may be purely fictional, but there’s plenty of animal-related activity elsewhere around town. There’s Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, another cat café which is crowdfunding and a micro-pig picnic coming up next month.
What other cafés, bars and restaurants with animal themes — real or not — can you envisage? Let us know in the comments below...