Archipelago Restaurant

Fusion, International·

SquareMeal Review of Archipelago Restaurant

It may have upped sticks and moved round the corner from its original premises, but Archipelago is still a must-visit for intrepid gastro-backpackers – especially as the relocation has prompted a new menu with the emphasis on gluten-free dishes and home-curing. Jump in at the deep end by ordering chilli-smoked python carpaccio with green tea and wasabi crackers or crocodile wrapped in vine leaves with honey-poached plums and pickled samphire, teamed with a love-bug salad straight out of I’m a Celebrity. However, if your tastes are more Bridget than Indiana Jones, the menu also obliges with jerk seafood, Malay-spiced confit duck and other safe bets. Meanwhile, busy bees should check out the new express-lunch menu with its roster of zany sliders, mini dogs and sharing platters. The decor is as before – a kooky anthropological riot of global artefacts and bizarre curios that would do Pitt Rivers proud.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Fusion, International
Eat at Home
Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats
Cool, Cosy, Fine dining, Fun, Quiet conversation, Quirky, Romantic, Themed, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Archipelago Restaurant

When a restaurant's hallmark dishes include crocodile, python and kangaroo, you know you’re in for a bit of an adventure. Such is the offering at Archipelago in Fitzrovia, which does away with the norm and invites guests on a sensory dining journey amid the glow of golden Buddhas, dwarf palm trees and giant peacock feathers. This unique restaurant serves globally-inspired cuisine in an exotic setting which will transport guests from Ethiopia to the Caribbean to Vietnam through a diverse range of dishes.  

Guests are seated in the warm glow of the red-walled dining area amongst eclectic décor and furnishings. Burnt orange, red, gold and purple hues dominate the room alongside multi-coloured glasses and metallic crockery on every table.  

The adventure continues with the menu which functions as a culinary portal to world cuisine. Starters include the likes of Pacific Volcanoes (avocado & coconut-milk potage with chilli and olive stuffed cassava puff balls), Summer Nights (Pan fried chermoula crickets, quinoa, spinach and dried fruit) and Byzantine Tracta (open baklava stuffed with cheese, pine nuts, honey and rosewater).  

Main courses are just as adventurous with marinated kangaroo skewers, jerked alpaca and crocodile all featuring on the menu. The menu is certainly geared towards meat-lovers, although diners can still find a select offering of vegetarian and vegan dishes, too. For dessert, the options sound pretty special, from Pharoah’s Treasure (chocolate & cardomon sponge cake, white chocolate and curry ice cream and 24 carrot gold leaf) to Medieval Hive (brown butter ice cream, honey and butter caramel sauce and honey comb). 

The drinks menu is a little more familiar with a wine list that heroes plenty of red, white and sparkling wines, from a reliable Pinot Grigio to more premium bottles of red.   

Whether it’s a memorable romantic night out or a fun and adventurous evening with friends, Archipelago delivers an evening to remember.

Archipelago Restaurant is featured in

This venue also offers

Archipelago Restaurant
Private Group Dining

Archipelago Restaurant

Location for Archipelago Restaurant

53 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4JJ

0207 6379 9611


Opening Times

Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
Mon 17:00-22:30
Tue 17:00-22:30
Wed 17:00-22:30
Thu 17:00-22:30
Fri 17:00-22:30
Sat 17:00-22:30
Sun Closed

Reviews of Archipelago Restaurant

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7 Reviews 

Alex G

22 June 2021  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 3
Value 3.5
From alpaca to zebra, and more

Much (if not all) of the fun of being a restaurant reviewer is having novel experiences. It was therefore quite anomalous that Gourmand Gunno had never paid a visit to Archipelago until earlier this week. The venue has been a fixture in Fitzrovia for over twenty years and has a very clear mandate: to “explore the exotic.” From alpaca to zebra, Archipelago dishes up options that are far from mainstream, but perhaps ought to be more so. Beyond the intrepidity of the kitchen, there is a lot to be said for a more varied protein-based diet. If crocodile or kangaroo might be your thing, then Archipelago will cater for you, but insects also feature heavily on menu. Get over the perception factor and they’re actually pretty tasty as well being very good for you; high in animo acids, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. Probably the bigger challenge for diners at Archipelago is the kitsch factor. Diners are forced to sit in a room stuffed with bric-a-brac that would not be out of place in a junk shop. Further, when the venue rang to confirm the booking, I was told I needed a password (spoiler alert: it was ‘crocodile’) before being allowed to enter. Sure, a generous assessment might suggest that this is all part of the experience, but I found it an inconvenient distraction. Scepticism aside, when we were seated – albeit as virtually the sole diners in the venue on a midweek lunchtime – the food was pretty impressive. Archipelago offers options from across the globe and it is testament to the kitchen that they can serve the likes of both chermoula crickets and python carpaccio simultaneously. Your reviewer went for the former as his starter. While the salad leaves which accompanied my bugs were drably underwhelming, the crickets themselves offered a fascinatingly delightful texture. The taste sensation was a blend of savoury crunch, somewhere between tuna meat and pork scratchings. My main of jerked alpaca was even better. Whereas I had sampled this close relative of the llama in steak format in the Andes many years ago, here the meat had been slow cooked for nine hours and was super-tender, juicy and flavoursome; deep and earthy. The accompanying ‘love bug salad’ of mealworms, silkworms and locusts was a perfect foil. We concluded with a plate of chocolate-covered locusts. The prevailing impression was a satisfyingly sweet crunch. When paired with a Sauternes sweet wine – who might have imagined it? – the combination was genius; memorable too. At ~£80/head (with a bottle of wine included), you’re paying not just for the food, but also for the experience. It’s mostly worth it.


27 June 2018  
Exciting, exotic food in a unique environment.


22 May 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 3.5
Good for bragging rights
We went for lunch on a Thursday, and there was only one other table in there, so the service was good but not taxed. Although he couldn't find my reservation and was a bit discombobulated by the whole thing. The waiter recommended the sharing platter, which enables you to try a bit of all the unusual things. Which is good, but not so good if you aren't that keen on meat. The crocodile was the tastiest thing on the board, wrapped in crispy vine leaves and really well flavoured. The bug salad was cute, but there are only about 3 bugs in it and I felt a bit short changed. Everything was generally tasty and it's pretty good value. I imagine it picks up in the evening.

Harriet R

02 September 2011  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
I was expecting Archipelgo to be super gimmicky and possibly a bit naff, but I'd heard good reviews so was curious. I was treated to a meal there this week and was blown away by it all. It was smaller and cosier than I expected – the decor was higgledypigged and eclectic but not in a LOOK AT ME way. The service was lovely – really attentive but without being obsequious (sp!?) or annoying. Both staff gave good advice and gave it with a sense of humour (you probably need to when you're serving kangaroo and zebra!). I genuinely wasn't expecting the food to be that good – I was expecting it to be more about 'oh look, I'm eating something unusual' but actually it was really delicious. The flavours worked well with each other and the food was really well cooked. I was particularly happy with my kangaroo but tried all my friends' food (I'm a horrible friend, sorry) and there wasn't a duff dish in any of the ones we tried. If I was to go back (and to pay for it myself) I'd probably stick to two courses and one bottle of wine. I'd probably skip the sides – the sides we had were gorgeous, especially the salad with optional bugs BUT the portions for the main meals were generous so were unnecessary, cocktails and a ‘visit from the doctor’. The last was certainly fun – a choice of various unusual drinks – but probably not something I would go for again. All in all – this was the most fun I've had for ages. Obviously the fact that I was being treated to it was a big help, but good food and charming service made the evening into a perfect one. Definitely want to go back!

Sophie A

13 July 2011  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 3.5
Archipeligo is hidden away and quiet. A small restaurant with interesting decor… it looks like the cluttered attic of an explorer's souveniers. It still manages to retain some charming allure, which the staff definitely add to with their helpful attitude as you begin your journey into the foodie unknown… The food was definitely interesting, and if you are up for pushing your limits on taste-testing, then this is the place to go. I tried the crocodile, wildebeest and zebra. All very good, although I am not convinced that this was the best possible dish I could have containing these ingredients. The table next to us was sampling the ‘Lovebug Salad’ containing locusts and all sorts of insects – brave choice! I wouldnt recommend this as a firm favourite, but for something out of the ordinary, this is perfect. Got to love Londoners for keeping this venue going, it is something be able to boast for a city! This restaurant would probably be good for a first date (lots of discussion topics!) or a group of friends looking for some adventure (although large groups would struggle to be seated). Overall a pleasant fun experience.

Richard E

18 May 2011  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 4
You really do not want to go here with a hangover. The assault on the eyes would drive you hurtling down the narrow, barely lit, health and safety defying, spiral staircase to the loos. Only for the senses once again to be overwhelmed by weaver birds’ nests, frogs and wooden statues of naked pygmies surrounding the porcelain. Yes, the place is decorated in what might be termed an idiosyncratic manner. Very idiosyncratic. If the Indonesian masks next to the fairy lights posing as flowers don’t get you, the Korean Karaoke-like renditions of Beetles hits will. The food too could be described as challenging. Think crickets and love bugs, crunchy in a green salad. Think kangaroo spiced with “21 spices from Yemen”, that well known home of Skippy and his fellow marsupials. Think a gnu stroganoff. Think zebra. It isn’t all odd for oddness sake: the wine list (housed in what might have been a canopic jar) has a 1961 Petrus (at nearly eight grand) sitting next nothing else that gets past a ton. OK, that is odd. But there is a main course of spiced Mexican belly pork. It comes in a Tom Yum broth. OK, that is odd too. In fact, what am I talking about; it is all odd. Many years ago I went to a restaurant in Nairobi that served barbecue skewers, churrasco like, of antelope, zebra, giraffe etc. Alongside this, it had similar skewers of lamb and beef. Having tried them all, it is easy to see why we eat far more lamb and beef in this country than zebra. So go and try kangaroo and crocodile, they will no doubt be the best of their kind that you will try in this country. Thereafter, stick to lamb and beef, which just taste better.

Jayne W

05 May 2009  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 3
Archipelago is a very interesting venue. Quite an out of the way location, a bit of a walk from the bustle of Charlotte Street. The decor looks like a complete jumble of strange mismatched items, but seems to work without just appearing like it needs an overhaul by the House Doctor. A bonus point for the decor – if you've run out of topics of conversation with your dinner partner, there's plenty of stuff around to either look at or comment on. I quite liked the presentation of the menu and wine list (rolled up in cases), especially that the menu was left on the table for the night. Always good to be able to refer back to in case you've forgotten what you ordered. The menu is certainly not something you come across every day, what with zebra, gnu, crocodile etc. I tried the zebra and my husband had the gnu stew. Both were very tasty, however we both agreed that it really could have been beef and neither of us would have been any the wiser ! Good wine list, with quite a few cheaper bottles, however a G&T at £8 I think is a little steep. All in all, we had an enjoyable meal, and I would recommend Archipelago, especially for a group, as there are both vegetarian and “normal” options on the menu, apart from the exotic zoo. Tip: do ask about the toilets, there is no sign on them to distinguish male/ female, just a drape of material in different colours.
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