Hattie Lloyd 04/04/24

Unusual Restaurants In London

22 Unusual Restaurants in London | The Ones That Stand Out From The Crowd

Sometimes – certainly more often than any of your friends would know – you like to indulge your quirky side. And such occasions must be celebrated in a place that’s as strange as we all know you really are.

Fortunately there’s a fair smattering of cool and unusual restaurants in London where you can fully indulge your oddness. Behold a few of our favourites…

1) Persepolis | Peckham


This eccentric yellow building in Peckham is your go-to for all things Persian, minus the cats.  Run by a friendly, high-spirited couple who go by the names of Mr and Mrs Shopkeeper, the first section is a corner store serving spices, various knick knacks (kebab skewers, teapot warmers, Kurdish house trousers etc.) and sweet and savoury food bits. Hiding on other side of the venue is one of London’s many great vegetarian restaurants, Snackistan, where they whip all that good stuff (the food bits, rather than the trousers) onto heaving platters of mezze that feature Turkish delight, labneh, honey-glazed halloumi, chickpea stew, baked eggplant and even Iranian-imported Cheetos. 

Details: 28-30 Peckham High Street, Peckham, SE15 5DT | More info

2) La Bodega Negra | Soho

La Bodega Negra - cool restaurants in London

Step 1: head to Old Compton Street. Step 2: find the illuminated entrance to a seedy-looking sex shop; an entrance so raw, authentic and unforgiving as to give you no reassurance whatsoever that it’s not exactly what it appears to be. Step 3.

Address: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE | Book now | More hidden restaurants in London

3) Izakaya at Dreams | Notting Hill

Izakaya at Dreams unusual restaurant

By day, The Supermarket of Dreams is a gourmet grocery. But by night, it transforms into a gleaming Japanese izakaya helmed by Jamie Finol of Sumi and Juan Cardona of Endo at the Rotunda. Your table for the night: a long, candle-lit, communal counter set on top of fridges of fresh produce – so yes, it’s a bit cosier than most sushi restaurants, but if you’re looking for something a little different, it’s going to be a hit. Book a seat on Saturdays for Tuna Fight Club, when they bring in a whole (enormous) fish to feed the whole table.

Details: 126 Holland Park Ave, W11 4UE | Book here

4) Bob Bob Ricard City | Bank

bob bob ricard city

The original Bob Bob Ricard in Soho was already one of London’s more unusual restaurants, thanks to its all-booth seating and famous ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons at every table. But the City version one-ups all that, because now those buttons summon Jeroboams and Methuselahs from a Champagne cabin; there are private dining rooms inspired by a royal yacht; and the entire restaurant is suspended, blimp-like, above the foyer of the Cheesegrater building…

Address: 122 Leadenhall Street, The City, EC3V 4QT | Book here

5) Sarastro | Covent Garden

Sarastro cool restaurants in London

An opera-themed, Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant with live music on Drury Lane that offers actual operatic performances by both professional singers and staff alike. If you were to go, it would be for the theatre of it all (and to experience what it feels like to be in a restaurant that’s managed to fit twice as much stuff inside as should be physically possible).

Address: Drury Lane, WC2B 5SU | Book here

6) Hill & Szrok | London Fields

hill szrok quirky london restaurant

By day, a butcher’s specialising in rare-breed, low-intervention, directly sourced meat. By night, a butcher’s specialising in rare-breed, low-intervention, directly sourced meat, cooked to perfection and served with lashings of wine.

Address: 60 Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4QJ | Book here

7) Circolo Popolare | Fitzrovia

Circolo unusual restaurants

Sure, you’ve probably been to at least one of the Big Mamma restaurants by this point. But just occasionally, it’s worth pausing to remember that a cavernous, bombastic Italian restaurant filled with 20,000 bottles of liquor; an overgrown jungle on the ceiling; metre-long pizzas; giant puddings; and cocktails served in boob-shaped mugs isn’t actually all that common.

Address: 40 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX | Book here

8) Turnips | London Bridge

turnips quirky restaurant

Turnips isn’t your ordinary fruit and veg stall. At night it transforms into an unexpectedly atmospheric fine dining spot where, amid the industrial surroundings of Borough Market, former executive chef at City Social Tomas Lidakevicius whips all the day’s leftover produce into an exceptionally delicious array of dishes. Choose the likes of guineafowl with zucca pumpkin and Orkney scallops with black lime à la carte, or settle in for a wine-paired tasting menu under the rattle of train tracks.

Details: 43 Borough Market, SE1 9AH | Book here

9) Oi Spaghetti | Peckham

Oi Spaghetti

Spaghetti may be the antithesis of unusual, but Oi Spaghetti fits a dedicated restaurant into a tiny wooden shed in Peckham’s Copeland Park. Which, assuming that there aren’t any other Italian restaurants in London located inside tiny wooden sheds that we’ve forgotten about, makes it pretty unusual. And for the record, the spaghetti here – made on-site daily and topped with black truffle, chestnut mushrooms and organic avocados, among other local ingredients – is some of the best fresh pasta in London.

Details: 133 Copeland Road, Copeland Industrial Park, SE15 3SN | Book here

10) Sketch London | Mayfair

A stalwart in the little black book of unusual London restaurants, Sketch combines outlandish interiors with self-playing pianos; Victoria Sponge trolleys; cocktails in a découpage woodland and Michelin starred dining… with egg toilets.

Address: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG | Book here

11) Circus | Covent Garden

Circus - cool restaurants in London

Love this place. That’s an order. A glossy pan-Asian restaurant where each course is punctuated by a series of acrobats swinging on hoops from the ceiling, and fire-eating dancers carefully flipping over the wine glasses on your table. The same table you’re likely to be dancing on by the end of the night, you crazy fool.

Address: Endell Street, WC2H 9BA | Book here

12) Kebab Queen | Covent Garden

Kebab Queen unusual restaurant

A fine dining chef’s table experience hidden behind a fake kebab store front, hidden inside a real kebab restaurant. And if that wasn’t unusual enough for you, every dish is served directly onto a heated dining counter that’s essentially one long, giant plate.

Address: Downstairs at Maison Bab, Mercer’s Walk, WC2H 9QE | Book here

13) Oslo Court | St. John’s Wood

Oslo Court unusual restaurants

In many ways, the original Sketch. Heavy salmon pink drapery and elaborate napkins give way to French dishes swimming in brandy, cream, and butter; served by the head waiter who’s been at Oslo Court for three decades – when the rest of the clientele were a sprightly 60.

Address: Prince Albert Road, St John’s Wood, London NW8 7EN | Book here

14) London Shell Co. | Paddington

London Shell Co unusual restaurant

A quirky bohemian-styled restaurant on a canal boat that serves fresh seafood, English Champagne and cocktails as the waterways of London glide past your window.

Address: The Prince Regent, moored alongside Sheldon Square, W2 6EP | Book here

15) Ekstedt at The Yard | Westminster

Ekstedt at The Yard

Gas? Electricity? What is this? 2024? Ekstedt at The Yard’s so cutting edge that they’re only cooking with fire and wood. It’s an effective method, shockingly enough, and produces delicious dishes like ember-baked mackerel and pine-smoked monkfish. Probably helps with the energy bill too…

Details: 3-5 Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HW | Book here

16) The Cheese Barge | Paddington

cheese barge opening

The cheese barge is, well, a cheese barge. If that’s not an unusual restaurant in London, then pretty much nothing is.

Address: Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6HY | Book here

17) Rochelle Canteen | Shoreditch

Rochelle Canteen unusual restaurants

A little gastronomic oasis away from the chaos of Shoreditch, which gains unusual restaurant status by virtue of being hidden behind a garden gate in a wall and largely operating out of an old school bike shed.

Address: School House, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES | Book here

18) Dinner by Heston | Knightsbridge

Dinner by Heston - best restaurants in West London

A Michelin-starred restaurant from the notoriously experimental chef Heston Blumenthal, serving a time-travelling menu including a 600 year old starter; something called ‘meat fruit’; and a pudding made with the assistance of a historically accurate pineapple roasting pulley.

Address: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA | Book here

19) Barge East | Stratford

Barge East

Just your typical, run-of-the-mill restaurant and bar set in a 114-year-old Dutch cargo barge, sailed by the founders themselves from Holland to Stratford. Not only is it moored on a particularly scenic spot, there’s a private room for hire in the captain’s cabin, and the food (internationally inspired small plates) is genuinely some of the best going in London.

Address: Sweetwater Mooring, River Lee, White Post Lane, E9 5EN | Book here

20) FOWL | St James’s


Yes, all the food at this restaurant is fowl. Everything from the loaded fries with chicken heart cheese to the tarte tatin (made with chicken fat) uses some part of the bird, and in fact no part of the bird goes unused. It’s all down to the inventive talents of chef-founders Jack Croft & Will Murray, who met working at Heston’s Dinner and went on to open their pioneering sustainability-led restaurant Fallow – which is also worth considering for an unusual meal out, given that there are mushrooms growing from the ceiling.

Address: 3 Norris Street, London SW1Y 4RJ Book here

21) Hawksmoor Wood Wharf | Canary Wharf

Hawksmoor Canary Wharf

What’s so unusual – besides the exceptional cooking & service – about a Hawksmoor, you ask? Well you’ll find their newest branch in Canary Wharf – or rather, in the water, next to the docks at Wood Wharf. And it’s huge, with one floor for eating, one floor for drinking, and a private dining room perched above it all…

Details: 1 Water Street, Canary Wharf, E14 5GX | Book here

22) Brigadiers | The City

Brigadiers unusual London restaurant

An Indian restaurant from the team behind Trishna and Gymkhana. Which doesn’t sound like it would make for one of London’s unusual restaurants, save for the the self-pour beer taps; whisky vending machine; pool tables and the personal croupiers that come with hiring a dining room there.

Address: 1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR | Book here


Unusual restaurants in London not your thing?  Check out the best recently opened restaurants in London