Carrie On Dining With A Difference
When it comes to dining out, Londoners are truly spoilt for choice. Name a cuisine and a restaurant somewhere in London will serve it. Got a dietary requirement? There’s a chef out there catering for you. Fancy eating in a castle, in a boat or up in the air? No problem. So, if you’ve been everywhere, eaten all the good stuff and got the proverbial t-shirt – then what?
I’ve been researching unusual dining experiences in London and am incredibly excited to have found these 5 specials to share with you:
1. Inamo is the hugely successful result of what you get when you combine first-class pan-Asian cuisine with the latest technology. Their interactive ordering system gives diners complete control of their restaurant experience. What? Let me explain.
Menus are projected onto your Corian table-top via a computer from above, and diners use a touch panel to order food and drink interactively. If that’s not mind blowing enough, you can also change the look and ambience of your table, use the ‘Chef Cam’ to take a look at the chefs in the kitchen, play games such as Pong and Memory, access local information and even book a taxi home! It’s the most hi-tech dining experience in town.
2. Have you ever dined out in the pitch black? Dans Le Noir? is a genius concept restaurant that will heighten all your senses – except your vision. Start with a drink in the bar and leave your coat, bag and phone in a locker before you enter the dining room, which is in total darkness. You’ll be served a gourmet Surprise Menu (you do get some choice) by waiting staff who are all visually impaired.
Darkness is said to ‘free your inhibitions and foster a conviviality without preconceptions’ and you’ll be amazed how this will totally transform the experience of dining out. Not only will you examine and savour every delicious bite you take as if it was the first time, you won’t be worrying about what you – or anybody else for that matter – look like.
3. Restaurants don’t come more eccentric than Archipelago, and here are a few reasons why: Pan fried chermoula crickets, Crocodile wrapped in vine leaves, Sweet-chilli smoked python carpaccio, Zhug marinated kangaroo skewers. It’s world cuisine, but not as we know it.
The restaurant décor is straight out of Phileas Fogg’s man cave, full of exotic treasures from around the globe. There’s wonder and excitement everywhere you look as you prepare to embark on a culinary adventure you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
4. Be a guest at the Fawlty Towers hotel restaurant for a top-notch 3-course meal served by Manuel the waiter, and hosted by Sybil and Basil Fawlty – what could possibly go wrong?
It’s a hilarious evening of dining entertainment in which, of course, everything goes wrong, and most of the diners get picked on, accused of being German and generally embroiled in the chaotic goings-on.
The actors are all fantastic and really bring the characters alive, and while 50% of what they say and do is scripted, it’s when they start to ad lib and really engage with the diners that the whole evening lifts off. Wonderful stuff.
5. For the most decadent night out in what has to be one of London’s most outlandish and opulent set-ups, try Bob Bob Ricard. ‘The only way is Excess at this one-of-a kind restaurant that’s perfect for off-duty fun,’ says Time Out.
What can you expect? Top Russian cuisine, exquisite British fare and champagne on demand. Seriously, there’s a ‘press for champagne’ button at every table booth, and BBR is famous for serving more champagne than any other UK restaurant. Together with the totally over-the-top Art Deco styled interior, this place will leave you speechless, or very drunk, and probably both.