London is a gift that keeps on giving, especially if you love food. The culinary scene there is always evolving and with each new spectacular restaurant, another springs up nearby. Though this could feel like overkill, it proves how ambitious and inventive the city is when it comes to food and is a thrill to experience.
Here, we pick out some more highlights from London's food scene, with everything from operatic dinner shows to pirate-themed restaurants that put you in the belly of a pirate ship.
1. The Piano Works
What’s the most London thing you can imagine? Non-stop parties? Listed Victorian buildings? Remnants of the great industrial revolution? If you ticked all of the above, boy, do we have the place for you.
At The Piano Works, the party never stops, and holds the title of London’s only non-stop live music venue. With multiple performance spaces dotted through the exposed-brick interior, no less than two pianists and a host of accompanying musicians bang out whatever the audience requests.
Whether you’re part of the throng jumping to bangers on the floor or nestled into one of the intimate nooks that probably once housed gigantic machinery, you can jam long into the night.
Not content to just be a night time venue, they offer brunch deals every Saturday, featuring the old reliables like eggs benedict and smashed avo toast, but with bottomless prosecco or bloody marys and, of course, the exceptional venue.
As you can imagine, booking is required as people love it so much, they bulk book reservations - which may be the most London thing, actually.
2. Bel Canto
Most of us will have heard of the Broadway restaurants in New York City, where waiters bellow out show tunes above diners’ heads. London’s answer to that is decidedly more refined. The draw of this restaurant is hinted at in the name, which translates as ‘beautiful singing’, an Italian musical term that has a multitude of disparate interpretations. It means just one thing here, though: opera-singing waiters.
In its handsome dining room, Bel Canto’s waiters delight diners with a range of operatic classics, with all singers classically trained and many having studied in the most prestigious conservatories in the world. If you don’t know or fully get opera, don’t worry - the singers are more than happy to share the stories of each song they sing so you leave with full bellies and a fuller mind.
Classic French cuisine is an ideal accompaniment, with every dish a no-frills affair but oozing in sophistication and delicacy. The presentation is meticulous and each morsel is full of flavour.
London, for all its sleek modernity and innovation, is a hotbed of drama underneath it all, something that Sarastro taps into unabashedly. From the flora-festooned facade to the pirate-themed interior that looks like a set from Pirates of the Caribbean, the restaurant urges you to kick back, relax and live it up.
The carefree attitude is right through the menu, with Turkish dishes moving diners away from the "stuffy gourmet pretentiousness" of typical fine dining. Don’t be fooled, though: it’s still an elegant and delicious meal that would be the highlight of any trip to London.
4. Cereal Killer Cafe
Love them or hate them, you have to respect the success that twins Alan and Gary Keery, from Belfast, have found with their hipster alter to childhood nostalgia. The cafes are genuinely charming, from the sign filled with Froot Loops outside to the walls lined with cringy posters of 90s icons and ancient boxy television sets.
The set up is very simple, and fun: pick your cereal or a cereal cocktail, choose a milk ("premium" milk cost 40p, otherwise it’s free) and add some toppings such as mini Oreos and marshmallows.
The cafes sell up to 500 bowls of cereal a day, with 50 cereal choices available. Committed to selling cereal in every way imaginable, they sell hot dishes such as cornflake-crusted chicken and mac and cheese with a chili cornflake crust.
I know it’s risky Googling "London" and "Swingers", so I’ll save you the mortification: welcome to the most prestigious, immersive and unique crazy golf course in London. Formed by the mysterious "Institute of Competitive Socialising", it’s a curious melding of old world activities and new world tastes.
Based on a "1920's golf-club set in the bucolic English countryside", Swingers is an indoor course festooned with foliage, antique windmills and faux countryside walls. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s a range of delectable street food vendors available just a stone’s throw from the course. The choices cater to all tastes and include the street food sensation, Patty & Bun.
6. Hip Hop Brunch London
With three back-to-back wins at the London Club and Bar Awards 2016-2018, the hype surrounding this wildly popular venue is intense, and it does not disappoint. To be able to say you offer the best brunch in London is like saying you wrote the Bible, and these guys can say it.
Mystery is a large part of its selling point, as the venue is kept a secret and ticket holders are only told where it is the Tuesday before their booking. The party kicks off at noon and continues until 5pm. This includes a bottomless cocktail hour, a three-course meal, karaoke and entertainment courtesy of temporary tattoo artists, magicians and incredible DJs.
Tickets cost between £40 and £50, depending on how early you book and brunches take place every Saturday and two Sundays a month.
Plenty of restaurants have used gimmicky gadgets as a way to hook customers, and typically once you’ve been it’s unlikely you’ll go back again. That isn’t the case with Inamo, a truly innovative dining experience that hooks you first and keeps you with its stunning food.
Offering diners a glimpse into the future, here you order food via interactive menus that acts as your dining control centre. From here, set the mood at your table, watch your meal being cooked via a live chef-cam feed, while away the time with retro games and even leave your mark with digital graffiti.
As if that wasn’t enticing enough, the Pan-Asian cuisine on offer is some of the best you’ll find in London, with dishes centred around sharing. Choose a few plates, have a few drinks and see who can draw the best graffiti.