Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. – Buddha
What can stay hidden, however – which Buddha clearly knew all too well – are these secret restaurants in London, which you really have to be looking for to find…
Kebab Queen | Covent Garden
Creating the ultimate diversion by using a critically acclaimed restaurant as its front, Kebab Queen is an intimate chef’s table hidden as a separate restaurant inside Maison Bab. Set behind what looks like an old kebab store front, you’ll need to push back the curtain to discover the kitchen and wraparound dining counter. And it’s directly onto this counter – essentially one long plate – that former Le Gavroche chef Manu Canales will serve your six course tasting menu…
Details: Inside Maison Bab, Mercer’s Walk, WC2H 9QE | Book ahead
Dans Le Noir? | Clerkenwell
While the restaurant itself may not be much of a secret, the food itself is – because once you’ve been greeted at the door, you’ll be ushered into an entirely pitch black room and served a mystery menu in the dark…
Details: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU | Open daily from 6pm
La Bodega Negra | Soho
An illicit, tequila-infused, incense-smoking subterranean Mexican restaurant. Which, naturally, can be accessed through an unforgivingly authentic-looking Soho sex shop…
Details: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF | Open daily
Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour | Chinatown
Enter through an unassuming, numberless jade door hidden in the bustle of Chinatown to find a maze of different, stunningly decorated rooms spread out over three surreptitious floors of cocktails, dim sums and opium. Minus the opium.
Details: The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE | Open daily from 5pm till late
Brat | Shoreditch
Despite best efforts to remain low-key, being, as it is, discreetly tucked away on the first floor of a relatively non-descript warehouse, Brat managed to win head chef Tomos Parry a Michelin star within six months of opening.
Details: First Floor, 4 Redchurch Street, E1 6JJ | Open daily from noon (no dinner on Sundays)
Kitchen Table | Fitzrovia
An intimate, completely secret chef’s table seating only 20, where chefs prepare a daily-changing, double Michelin-starred menu before your eyes… and hidden from everyone else’s, behind a curtain in a hot dog restaurant.
Details: 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG | Open for dinner Wed-Sat, book ahead
Rochelle Canteen | Shoreditch
Rochelle Canteen requires you first to locate a plain-looking door in a garden wall, secondly to ring the buzzer for entry, and finally to locate what bears the most resemblance to a critically acclaimed restaurant operating out of a former school bike shed on the other side.
Details: School House, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES | Open for breakfast and lunch daily, and dinner Thurs-Sat
Little Blue Door | Fulham
Hidden behind an entirely nondescript door on the Fulham Road – we’ll leave you to sleuth out which one – is the ultimate house party, with delicious food, drinks for a fiver, and Sunday roasts accompanied by the papers, snacks and board games.
Details: 871-873 Fulham Rd, SW6 5HP | Open Wed-Fri from 6pm, Sat from 11am and Sun from 12pm
Hill & Szrok | Bethnal Green
A mysterious dining spot that looks almost exactly like a butcher’s… because it is one. Only in the evenings, the large marble table at its centre gets wiped down, dolled up, and the place becomes a secret restaurant serving excellent seasonal grub.
Details: 60 Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4QJ | Open for dinner daily, plus Sunday lunch
Last Updated: 4th May 2022 | Main image: Kitchen Table
Like finding secret spots? Check out our guide to the Best Speakeasies in London