It’s been months of cancelations and rain checks. You tell your friends that “you’re really busy, but you’ll get back to them soon;” and your friends tell you that “things are really hectic at the moment, but they’ll let you know.” This miserable back and fourth continues until FINALLY one day, you all agree on a date and time to meet.
Now, just as you thought the heartache was over; a 2am group chat messaging session reveals that, they were hoping for a sit-down meal at an upscale restaurant, whilst you wanted to let loose at an all-night cabaret lounge.
However, all hope is not lost! London has a range of top restaurants that offer gastronomic excellence and unique dining experiences all under one roof. So, before you suffer through the delicate negotiation proceedings of how you should spend your evening, check out our list of 6 Experience-based Restaurants to visit in London.
LA BODEGA NEGRA
Mimicking elements of the speakeasy era, La Bodega Negra stays true to the aesthetics of Soho by disguising itself within a Sex & Erotica shop. As believable as the entrance may be, we promise that this is not a ploy to embarrass you in front of the friends you have waited months to see. A staircase at the back of the shop will lead you down into a vintage, Latin American inspired hideaway. The décor incorporates distressed walls, a dieconstructed piano and old tequila barrels. This candlelit wonderland has perfected a range of tequila cocktails, and a menu that includes dishes such as grilled octopus, 28-day aged rib-eye, and Sunflower tostadas.
At Dans Le Noir, every precision goes into producing a dish with invigorating colours and an eye-pleasing design. Every detail of the presentation is carefully considered, as it demonstrates the incredible skillset of their talented chefs. The waiter then manoeuvres carefully from the kitchen to your table, making sure that not one inch of this Instagram worthy perfection is destroyed before it is served to you, in the dark. That’s right, at Dans Le Noir, you eat your meals in complete and utter pitch-black darkness. This restaurant chain operates under three principles: The sensory experience, The human exchange and Social conviviality. In accordance with this, they believe that eating in the dark allows you to connect with the food on a level that is deeper than just visual. You are immersed in an environment where your senses of taste, smell and texture can all be heightened. The darkness also allows you to shed your inhibitions and enjoy the social experience with other guests on their sharing tables. The surprise menus change seasonally.
This iconic Soho institution is famed for having every one of its lavish private booths fitted with a champagne button, for you to easily request another bottle be delivered to your table. Bob Bob Ricard is styled rather ornately. In keeping with the English and Russian theme, this establishment’s interior looks as though you have stepped onto the vintage Orient Express luxury train. The kitchen is led by Michelin star chef, Eric Chavot, who serves comfort food with a fine dining edge. The menu includes dishes such as, Beef Wellington, Salmon Tartare and Traditional Sunday Roast; all made with the finest ingredients.
We’ve offered you a Latin American Speakeasy disguised as a sex shop, a non-mobile Orient Express replica, dinner in the dark; and now a Circus in the middle of Covent Garden. Circus, is quite literally a circus. You are invited to dine on sensational food and exhilarating cocktails, all whilst enjoying the surreal entertainment. Seated around the stage table, you won’t be able to escape the flamboyant atmosphere and superb showmanship from the skilled performers. The Pan-Asian style menu includes delights such as; Blow Torched Wagyu Beef Nigiri, Lobster Tempura, with white truffle aioli & lemon ponzu, and Black Angus Fillet with shiitake mushroom, asparagus & caramel soy.
Located on Drury Lane, Sarastro possesses a long and rich history; cemented in art, theatre and culture. The founder, Richard Niazi, sought to create a haven that personified all of his favourite things in this life. This was food, wine and opera. Thus, Sarastro was born. This unique restaurant thrives in the heart of Theatre-land, and boasts an interior design that is comprised of wall mounted opera boxes, antique collectables, vintage furniture, and areas that make you feel as though you have just walked into Arabian nights. Operatic and classical music glide through the room to compliment your dining experience. You can expect delicious Turkish mezes and a proudly Mediterranean menu; including Akcabat Kofte, Seafood linguini, and Mixed grills. Be sure to go on the weekend to enjoy live music.
Designed by interior designer Yuna Megre, this distinct restaurant’s interior reflects a typical vintage Russian home, down to the finest of details. For example, the wallpaper can peel back to show the generations that have lived in the house before the current family. It is a truly immersive experience that draws on your sense of imagination and adventure. The beautiful interior is complimented by the views of Knightsbridge and Hyde Park, which surround this quaint establishment. Although a stunning sight to behold, the purpose of the interior was to set the scene for the authentically Russian menu that graces this restaurant. You can expect to find dishes such as; Siberian pelmeni, Vareniki with potatoes and mushrooms, and Courgette pancakes with salted salmon. In true form, Mari Vanna also delivers an impressive range of infused Russian vodkas!