Quirky restaurants in London

Quirky restaurants in London are on the rise! Sometimes a restaurant offering a simple meal doesn't quite cut it, and you want something that is fun and a bit out of the ordinary. An extra experience to talk about, maybe, decor that's just a bit wacky (and works perfectly on Instagram), or something cooky to make you laugh.

Updated on 05 July 2019

Quirky is big business right now in the capital, with London’s diners looking out for unique restaurants that offer something different to the rest. It could be a wacko style, a quirky menu or an unusual concept. We believe the search for this is something that hits us all from time to time, and it’s no exception with London restaurants. Check out the best quirky restaurants in London below.

The Little Blue Door

The Little Blue Door

871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, London, SW6 5HP

When stepping inside this restaurant and bar in Fulham, which imitates a flat share, you instantly feel like you’re at a classic London house party. The concept is taken to the max and it works. Booking is done via WhatsApp (can you get a group chat going?) and to be let in, you’ve got to ring the doorbell. Little touches such as a utility room complete with a dog bed and bras hanging to dry on a clothes line complete the look and allow you to get fully immersed. It doesn’t end there. A Prosecco vending machine and neon signs spelling ‘let’s get fizzical’ provide ample Instagram fodder and the food is decent and spans the globe, inspired by the travels of ‘the flatmates’ (AKA staff).  

International
The Yacht London

The Yacht London

Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, Blackfriars, London, WC2R 2PN

The low ceilings, the creaking coming from the hull and the constant moving of the tide on the river will reassure you you’re on a boat when dining here, and to great effect – just beware when you stand up after a few glasses of wine. The art deco decked-out yacht, which is moored near Temple, dates back to 1927 and still contains several of its original features. You might think that seafood is the prominent food here, but it’s actually the use of vegetables.   

£30 - £49
British
Trader Vic

Trader Vic's London

22 Park Lane, London, London, W1K 1BE

This original tiki-themed hula hideaway is still going strong after 50 years of operation, spreading Polynesian good vibes to the people of Mayfair. The retro feel, vibrant fabrics and beachside interiors make for an ultra-cool setting for some Asian-American fusion of barbeque, South Pacific seafood and curries. Delicious and reasonably priced rum cocktails and samba disco tunes complete the experience.

£50 - £79
Fusion
London Shell Co

London Shell Co

The Prince Regent, Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EP

This moving restaurant (it’s a canal boat taking you on a round-trip from Paddington to Camden on Regent’s Canal) serves some fantastic seafood on the way. We’re talking Carlingford oysters and butter-poached hake and mussels, as well as cockle and cuttlefish salad. For lunch, the boat is moored, but you can enjoy a set meal. Atmospheric and a little different, this is definitively one for your quirky list.

£30 - £49
Fish
Rascals

Rascals

97 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3BS

Next door to Ballie Ballerson, the ever-popular adult ball-pit bar in Shoreditch (which is quirky in itself), you’ve got Rascals, serving up stylish and trendy small plates with a side of scratch cards. Yep, you heard that right. The scratch cards instruct diners to start Mexican waves, which – at least with a fully packed restaurant – can be rather fun. The cocktail names also reach dad-jokes levels of pun – a Shisho Fine or a Tonka the Plonka anyone?

£30 - £49
Modern European
Inamo Soho

Inamo Soho

134-136 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8ZP

Gadget men and tech-lovers rejoice! The interactive touch pads at Inamo are there for more than just ordering your food with – they can even be used to book you a cab home after. This futuristic, neon-lit restaurant has a novel entertainment concept that goes down really well with diners, and the Oriental food is also on point. Expect pan-Asian dishes such as Malaysian beef rending or Japanese tofu salads, Peking duck or scallop tartare. The up-beat pop soundtrack completes the experience.

£30 - £49
Mr Fogg

Mr Fogg's Tavern

58 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4EA

Be prepared to be one of many punters with their phone cameras pointing to the ceiling at this Victorian, Jules Vernes-themed gin bar – the second opening from the Mr Fogg’s empire. Aforementioned ceiling is stacked with knick-knacks and souvenirs from around the world. Talented and experienced bar staff can help you have an amazing gin journey and discover your favourite tipple while you enjoy tasty nibbles of the likes of rosemary nuts, chorizo bites and chilli-roasted corn.   

£30 - £49
British
La Bodega Negra

La Bodega Negra

9 Old Compton Street, London, London, W1D 5JF

The fact that La Bodega Negra is hidden behind the façade of a sex shop is perhaps quirky enough, but it doesn’t end there. The party vibes are as high as the lights are low and the seductive atmosphere is elevated by supreme tacos, piquant ceviches and lashings of mescal and tequila. Go for the soft-shell crab taco that comes complete with a slathering of smoky chipotle crema.

£30 - £49
Mexican
Barts

Barts

Chelsea Cloisters, London, SW3 3DW

Speakeasy’s are big right now and this one is particularly fun. More of a bar than a restaurant, it still serves up tasty steak sliders and burgers with chimichurri chips. So give the doorman a wink and dive into a world of 1930’s kitsch where striking interiors, fun artwork and well-turned cocktails will keep you occupied for hours. Watch out for regular events such as murder mysteries and themes parties.

Bars
Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu

The Stables, Chalk Farm Road, London, London, NW1 8AH

Imagine if you had a house party in the Africa section at The British Museum and you can get an inkling of what it’s like stepping into this enormous South African-themed restaurant and bar in Camden. Navigate your way through giant Zulu warrior statues to the sound of drumbeats and admire the beautiful wall-to-wall tribal carvings, ethnic prints and indigenous artwork. Cocktails are the main attraction, but semi-wacko South African delicacies such as kudu, ostrich, springbok and zebra are all on offer, too.  

£30 - £49
South African
Beast

Beast

3 Chapel Place, Oxford Circus, London, W1G 0BG

Medieval feasting is the inspiration at this basement hall with a menu that mirrors high-rolling surf ‘n’ turf; think gigantic, prehistoric-looking king crabs, oysters, tempura prawns and aged Nebraskan beef – all washed down with vintage drinks. Be prepared to pay a high price for it, though. Enjoy it on long wooden tables dotted with flickering candelabras for the right atmosphere.  

Over £80
Steak
International
Fish
Shuang Shuang

Shuang Shuang

64 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LU

Have your Chinese hotpots come out via conveyor belt on colourful plates at this modern Chinatown restaurant. Make sure you try the fish balls stuffed with pork – they’re chewy and hearty. The Mala broth was another showstopper, fizzling with Szechuan peppercorns and plump prawns. For veggies, go for the stuffed tofu. The Asian canteen feel is a further atmospheric plus.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Bel Canto at the Corus Hotel

Bel Canto at the Corus Hotel

The Corus Hotel, 1 Lancaster Gate, London, London, W2 3LG

Are you an opera fan? You’ve come to the right place then. At this concept restaurant, staff will be belting out high notes of popular arias throughout the evening. Literally breaking out into song at any given moment, your waitress could be placing your starter in front of you one second and cracking glass with her high-pitched voice in the next. The menu is European and comes accompanied by a well-balanced wine list that is sorted into voice categories such as sopranos (light whites) and basses (boisterous reds).   

£50 - £79
French
The Karaoke Hole

The Karaoke Hole

95 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB

Cheekily nicknamed ‘The K-Hole’, this drag queen karaoke venue sits downstairs from Voodoo Ray’s, which churns out gigantic pizzas that are sure to soak up the Dutch courage you’ll have needed to consume for your big performance. Unlike your traditional karaoke venues, singers have to perform in front of the whole crowd rather than be sectioned off into private booths or dedicated rooms. The cocktails are fab, the LGBTQ vibes are fantastic and overall, it’s just a whole lotta fun.  

Bars
Dans le Noir

Dans le Noir

30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU

Ever wondered what it’s like to eat when you’re blind? At Dans le Noir, you can do just that as you’ll be eating in complete darkness for the duration of your meal. Aided by blind waiters with walkie-talkies, you stumble into the pitch-black dining room to devour your surprise meal – you aren't allowed to see a menu – can you guess what it its? Not only is it a sensory experience, in that it heightens the senses you take for granted (sight, taste, touch and hearing), but it’s also a social experiment where conversation becomes the focus and where phones don’t play a part.

£50 - £79
International
sketch: The Parlour

sketch: The Parlour

9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG

The whole of Sketch is a quirky-seeker’s dream, so you can take your pick of the rooms that intrigue you the most. What has The Parlour got going for it? Perhaps the endless clientele of fashionistas and eccentrics, which smoothly match the interiors? Or maybe it’s the incredibly tasty drinks from a constantly evolving list that does the trick? Either way, the postmodernist drawing room forms an epic backdrop for quirky occasions.

£30 - £49
Afternoon tea
International
Bunga Bunga Battersea

Bunga Bunga Battersea

37 Battersea Bridge Road, London, SW11 3BA

When the name of this place is taken from former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s notorious and frisky gatherings, you know the party vibes will be high. Think lads on tour with a touch of Euro trash thrown in for good measure. It’s bags of fun and the food on offer is – naturally – pizza. A great selection of it include the Julius Cheeser (its take on a quarto fromaggio) and the Po-pa-polla with chicken, bacon and barbecue sauce. Wash it all down with heaps of Prosecco, Peroni and Aperol Spritzes.    

£30 - £49
Pizza
Italian
Archipelago

Archipelago

53 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 4JJ

This is a restaurant where the quirky element is introduced through the food. Python carpaccio anyone? How about crocodile wrapped in vine leaves with honey-poached plums and pickled samphire to follow? And you simply couldn't resist the love-bug salad, right? Enter Indiana Jones mode and really go for it. Feeling scared? There are safer bets such as duck and jerk seafood to choose from.

£50 - £79
International
Fusion
£30 - £49
Café de Paris

Café de Paris

3-4 Coventry Street, London, W1D 6BL

This Moulin Rouge-style venue in Covent Garden is perhaps mostly known for its nightclub scene, but dinner is also on the table with a French-tilted menu. The Grade II-listed building has a two-tier ballroom where impressive chandeliers take centre stage alongside a sweeping staircase. Cabaret, acrobatics, fire eaters and aerial acts form the hedonistic entertainment, which is tasteful and professional.

£30 - £49
French
sketch: Gallery

sketch: Gallery

9 Conduit Street, London, London, W1S 2XG

Sketch is quite an obvious one for this list, we think, what with its ultra-Instagrammable interiors. The bubblegum-pink ladyfinger velvet booths, dusty pink walls clad with black-framed David Shrigley sketches and its high ceilings make The Gallery an awe-inspiring place to dine. Another quirky element is its afternoon tea, which not only tastes extraordinary, but is served by men in boiler suits. Cameras at the ready, peeps!

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
Afternoon tea
StreetXO

StreetXO

15 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 2JL

For eventful dining, there is no better place than StreetXO with its no-booking neon counter (we recommend this) and the theatrical open kitchen to stare into. everything is served to a booming soundtrack of house music, keeping the party vibes to a maximum. Thankfully, David Muñoz’s cooking is on point, too, with his signature Pekinese dumplings being the must-try on the menu. Don’t leave without having one of the dangerously good cocktails, served in a plastic egg, either.

£50 - £79
International
RedFarm London

RedFarm London

9 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HZ

Gingham tablecloths, walls studded with noughties toys, dumplings shaped like Pac-Man and cheeseburger spring rolls should all be enough to convince you that this place reaches peak quirkiness. But the food is actually really good, although you’re paying double what you would in Chinatown.  Both your Instagram feed and your belly will be satisfied here.

Chinese
Dim Sum
The Piano Works West End

The Piano Works West End

47 Whitcomb Street, London, London, WC2H 7DH

More a destination for a good night out than a catch-up meal with friends, the West End off-shoot of the Farringdon original still sees punters requesting songs from a pianist and live band, who performs to a roaring crowd. There are serious party vibes here with themed nights, a daily cocktail and Champagne hour, as well as a Saturday brunch. The a la carte is simple, but satisfying.  

£50 - £79
Modern European

Are you driven by the visuals when looking for a restaurant? Then you should check out our list of the 12 most Instagrammable loos in London