The hard-hitters of London’s dining scene aren’t afraid to raise eyebrows and challenge what it means to be a restaurant. These places are now flipping the script on classical dining by rewriting the rules on sustainability, setting the design world on fire, and keeping their communities front and centre.
These five unique restaurants in London are forging a new kind of dining experience.
Read on for five unique restaurants to book in London right now.
The Ledbury (Notting Hill)
This two-MICHELIN-starred institution is one of the most decorated restaurants in the UK—it’s also topped the National Restaurants Awards three times and made The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. That’s in large part due to chef Brett Graham and his team’s innovative and sustainable approach to cooking. Mushrooms are cultivated in-house and appear on the tasting menu, prepared alongside black truffle and silken tofu. Caviar is served only because the whole sturgeon is used in other dishes. Plus, overlooked vegetables such as large white beetroots are roasted in clay to bypass traditional boiling methods and save water. The result is a creative and ethical dining experience that puts The Ledbury in a league of its own.
Mriya (South Kensington)
At Mriya, acclaimed chef Yurii Kovryzhenko turns out modern twists on Ukrainian classics. Case in point: Mriya’s borsch is made with porcini mushrooms and duck, and its varenyky is stuffed with unusual fillings like scallops, squid, and crawfish bisque. But Mriya is so much more than its food. Since its debut in August 2022, the restaurant has served as a sanctuary for those displaced by Russia’s invasion and has served as a tribute to Ukraine. Twelve of Mriya’s 15 staffers are Ukrainian refugees, while the artwork, furniture, and floor tiles come from Ukrainian designers and artisans. Mriya is named after the largest cargo aircraft ever built (designed by Ukrainian engineers) that was destroyed early on in the invasion. But the word is also Ukrainian for dream—an apt title that conveys the resilient spirit of this restaurant.
Gauthier Soho (Soho)
The opening of Gauthier Soho in 2010 heralded the arrival of a major culinary star in Alexis Gauthier and gave London its first plant-based French fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant went fully vegan in 2021, and if that’s not trailblazing enough, Gauthier thrilled diners with audacious pairings and avant-garde interpretations such as leek terrine served with plant caviar and dulse, and the intriguing red-wine marinated 3D printed lamb served with greens and roots. Chef Gauthier is all about ditching ingredients with large carbon footprints—the UK government even consulted with him on ethical foie gras alternatives. Add a stately Regency townhouse setting, and it’s no wonder this eco-minded restaurant is a local legend.
With celebrity founders, a knock-out postcode, and one of the most anticipated openings in London history, Bacchanalia is like nothing else in the city. The opulent interiors of this former Porsche showroom pay homage to classical Greek and Roman mythology. That means Sistine Chapel-style ceiling frescoes, 2,000-year-old pieces of art, and a quintet of bespoke giant sculptures by artist Damien Hirst (including winged lovers embracing on a unicorn). Food is just as spectacular, with many of the Mediterranean-inspired dishes finished tableside by toga-clad servers. The charred and tender-grilled octopus is a standout, as is the shareable lobster paccheri with black truffle and creamy bisque.
It doesn’t get more dramatic than the multi-sensory dining experience at The Monarch. This DC Comics-themed restaurant—named after the theatre in Batman’s origin story—combines theatrics, floor-to-ceiling visuals, and outstanding food. The night begins with Instagrammable cocktails such as The Blue Boy (tequila, elderflower, herbal liqueur) at an Art Deco bar. Diners then head to a 20-seat room for a 12-course meal inspired by many members of the multiverse, featuring luxe ingredients like caviar, truffle, and gold leaf. The result is a decadent feast fit for a superhero.