Top 10 Secret Restaurants in London
We all love discovering secret spots, hidden hangouts, private hideaways. But at the same time we can’t wait to tell everyone about it:“Look everyone I’ve found this amazing hidden restaurant in London! But don’t tell anyone, ye?”
So in the spirit of this conundrum, we’ve rounded up 10 of the finest hidden London restaurants, meaning you can be the one to wow your friends first before anyone else finds out. With hidden doorways, converted tube carriages, and sex shop basements, it might be hard to keep schtum.
1. Disappearing Dining Club
An antique shop by day, this converted 18th-century townhouse provides an unassuming façade for the hidden gem that lies inside. Surrounded by antique china, this in-the-know venue recreates a sophisticated dinner party scene amidst the trendsetters of East London. It’s not often you eat roast leg of lamb with wild garlic and snail jus inside an antiques shop.
2. Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs
Simply a table encircling the kitchen with space for 19 guests, Kitchen Table is the ultimate immersive dining experience within hot dog & champagne haven, Bubbledogs. Perch on caramel leather bar stools at the brushed steel counter, and indulge in elaborate tasting menus with expertly paired wines, champagnes & sakes.
3. Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour
Once you’ve found the secret door in Chinatown, negotiated the labyrinth of decadent rooms, and made it to the attic of this historic townhouse, you’ll discover a late-night drinking den, cocktail bar and dim sum restaurant. Open very late at weekends, if you enjoy sipping cocktails and tucking into a sumptuous dim sum platter at 2am, Opium is worth trying to find.
4. Taberna Etrusca
A mainstay for Italian dining in London since opening in 1967, Taberna Etrusca is a charming trattoria concealed on a quiet street in the City. As well as a Mediterranean-style courtyard for the summer months, the rustic interior is decked out with vintage Italian car posters: the ideal setting to enjoy Italian classics like hand-rolled tagliatelle, or grilled tuna with samphire & Amalfi lemon.
5. Menier Chocolate Factory
Menier Chocolate Factory
You don’t need a golden ticket to get in, but this converted chocolate factory hides a fair few secrets behind its innocuous façade. Accompanying one of London’s most talked-about fringe theatre venues is a restaurant that’s also on the lips of those in the know. The Menier chocolate platter would no doubt excite Charlie himself: a dish of Menier brownie, chocolate dipped strawberries, Valrhona chocolate sorbet and white chocolate crème caramel that could have been plucked straight from the pages of Dahl’s fantasy world.
La Bodega Negra
Image Source: Time Out
Instructing readers to find a neon sign in Soho that reads ‘sex shop’ and make their way into the dimly-lit basement below is not something we’d usually do, but you’ll have to trust us on this one. Don’t be fooled by the inviting La Bodega Negra café on Moor Street, you’ll have to work a bit harder than that. Venture round the corner to 9 Old Compton Street, into the aforementioned basement, and you’ll be greeted with homely Mexican cooking and an uber-trendy atmosphere. Just make sure you follow those instructions carefully…
7. Sushi Des Artistes
Sushi Des Artistes
A Chelsea hideaway is not the kind of place you’d expect to find a French-Japanese fusion restaurant with extravagant furnishings. Beneath a bowler hat chandelier, try dishes with titles as intriguing as the décor. Start with ‘Je T’aime’, followed by ‘You Are Sensational,’ topped off with ‘You Make Me Feel So Young.’ This love song is in fact foie gras with lemon butter-soy on grilled pineapple, followed by a combination of fish sashimi, and finished with mixed berry sorbet in mango soup. Not what you’d expect just off the King’s Road.
Have you ever dreamed of eating in a derelict train carriage? OK, probably not, but this unassuming hut on Brick Lane belies the unique experience within. Seating 8-12 people, Caboose offers private dining like no other, with your own private chefs serving up mouth-watering slow-cooked barbecue food. Secret London restaurants don’t come much more appealing than tucking into 10-hour pulled pork belly, with barbecue sauce and smoked cheddar, from the comfort of a rustic wood cabin.
9. Basement Galley
The Basement Galley Image source: The Basement Galley
Taking the term underground dining extremely literally, Basement Galley’s flagship secret supper club takes place in a decommissioned Victoria Line carriage. It’s not all train-based gimmicks though – the chef knows his stuff, having trained under some of France’s top chefs.
10. Evans & Peel Detective Agency
Evans & Peel Detective Agency
Image Source: Evans & Peel
You’ll need a good cover story to sneak into this detective agency in Earl’s Court. Once you’ve made your way down the wooden staircase and convinced the staff that your case is worthy of meeting the detective, you may just be led, via a secret door in a bookshelf, into the illicit back room. Beer served in a brown paper bag so as not to rouse suspicion, your efforts will be rewarded with some meaty American goodness. A smoked pulled pork slider and elaborate cocktail is well worth a bit of role play.