When you find a great restaurant it’s hard to let it go. But some of the best restaurants you’ll ever go to might be the ones you haven’t found.
They might be the ones who make it actively difficult to find them.
A new trend is starting to take over the UK restaurant industry — hidden restaurants. The idea behind these new eateries is that they don’t advertise. Word of mouth is the only time you’ll hear about these places.
They’re off the beaten track but their menus are designed to be so good you can’t help but tell people. It’s a bold move to eschew all advertising but for these hidden restaurants, it has conferred an almost mythic status.
1. The Candelight Club — London
A speakeasy-inspired jazz bar located at a secret location somewhere in London. The idea is that you buy a ticket online and then two days before you’ll receive an email inviting you to the top secret location.
The gourmet dining is available as an optional extra when you book your tickets. Unfortunately though, the three course set menu changes at every location and menus aren’t given out in advance!
It’s a real lottery but from you can rest assured that something tasty will be available! The restaurant/bar/club is lit entirely by candlelight so it’s very atmospheric.
2. Bundobust — Manchester
At its original home in Leeds, Bundobust is hardly a secret. However, the newer, Manchester branch is a much less obvious affair. Located just off Piccadilly Gardens, Bundobust is nothing but an unassuming doorway beside a Subway.
However, going into the restaurant you’ll find yourself in an opulently designed basement. A glass ceiling lets you get a peek at the space between the high-rise buildings on either side of the restaurant.
The food on offer is traditional Indian street food, sumptuously served at affordable prices! It’s definitely worth a look if you want something a bit more upmarket than your favourite takeaway and twice as tasty!
3. Buca Di Pizza — Leeds
Another top-notch dining experience in a basement. In recent months, Buca Di Pizza has expanded to newer, more obvious locations in Manchester and Chapel Allerton, but the original Leeds restaurant is definitely the most well-hidden one.
Heralded by only a tiny van with its logo, Buca Di Pizza is found in a basement on Wellington Street. The pizza is famous around Leeds and considered one of the most authentic Italian-style pizzas available in the city.
However, the real talking point about Buca Di Pizza is its pizza and alcohol offer. Diners pay £25.95 on entry and that’s when the clock starts. From the moment you order you food, you have 90 minutes to eat as much pizza as you wish. Prosecco glasses and beer are also continually topped up for the entire time.
If you’re a quick eater and drinker, you can save a fortune and really fill up. It’s a great experience to share with friends or family; the bigger your group, the more fun you’ll have!
4. Opium — London
Hidden behind a non-descript green door in the heart of London’s Chinatown, Opium takes guests into a whole new world of wonder. Three floors feature a bar, a restaurant, and a tea room.
The cocktails are known as some of best Asian-inspired drinks in the Western world and a selection of dim sun is just enough to get your appetite going. It’s an incredibly trendy place with an atmosphere that can’t be beaten!
5. Spitbank Fort — Portsmouth
A private island in the middle of the sea which is only accessible by boat. Doesn’t get much more hidden than that, does it?
Spitbank Fort made its name as a luxury 5* boutique hotel but it’s also got a pretty snazzy restaurant aboard. The fort offers a particularly luxurious Sunday lunch costing £125 per person for four sumptuous courses.
All prices include a return boat journey to and from the fort too, so it’s far more than just a meal! Safe to say, this one would be an unforgettable experience if you can afford it!
6. The Beast Of Brixton — London
Behind a mysterious unassuming door in Brixton there’s a step of stairs. Climb to the top of those stairs and you’ll find one of London’s finest cocktail bars. Their beverages are second-to-none and they’re not afraid to make custom cocktails just for you!
They also serve some pretty incredible Sunday roasts that are really something to shout home about!
7. Gloucester Studio — Gloucester
There’s so much about Gloucester Studio that’s truly unique. The restaurant opens by request only, so it’s pretty exclusive. In addition, the head chef Kathryn refers to herself as the Pyromaniac Chef. And if none of that sparks your interest, how about this: the restaurant seats eight people and is located in Kathryn’s garden shed. Yep.
Every party gets to chat to Kathryn before hand to produce a personalised tasting menu to be made in front of them. Kathryn cooks on an open fire while guests sit around her on wooden benches covered by reindeer skin rugs! Safe to say you won’t find anything else quite like this place.
This place is indeed a restaurant in Gloucester! Inside you sit around a central fire pit where Kathryn Minchew cooks over the flames. It really is a fabulous place, perfect for celebrating special occasions. You can read more about it on my blog (link in bio) #gloucesterstudio #gloucester #gloucestershire #cheltenham #hiddenrestaurants #food #foodie #fdblogger #honeybourneline
8. Xiringuito — Liverpool
This bizarre restaurant is so hidden that it can actually be pretty difficult to track down. It’s currently based at the corner of Grafton Street and Stanhope Street in the Northern Lights warehouse building but don’t count on it being there forever.
It actually spent the summer of 2016 in Margate, Kent. The structure is a series of poles and sheeting that designed by award-winning architect Asif Khan. The menu is British with international twists. The desserts are some of the most sumptuous you’ll find!
9. AG Hendy & Co — Hastings
Tucked away behind a DIY store in Hastings sits the kitchens of AG Hendy. The small seafood restaurant serves locally caught produce, served in a setting reminiscent of the 18th Century. Diners can sit outside, at a few small tables in the back, or in the heart of the kitchen itself.
Everything about this hidden restaurant is designed to make you smile and it certainly achieves it! A beautiful little place!
10. Cahoots — London
There’s nothing that says ‘London’ more than the tube, and what could be better than a restaurant in a tube station. That’s exactly what Cahoots offers. It’s a secret place in the heart of Soho serving cocktails and snacks in a post-war 1940s speakeasy setting.
Live swing music, jazz, and fun are all to be had in Cahoots. You can even eat in a train carriage! Everything about Cahoots looks fun and unique and we definitely want to try some of the ‘rations’ we’ve seen on their website!
11. Basement Sate — London
Not so much a restaurant as a palace of desserts, Basement Sate’s menu is all sweet. It’s an indulgent treat to sate (see what they did there) your appetite in a quiet, hidden setting just off Tottenham Court Road.
Technical precision is valued just as much as taste so prepare to see some of the most Instagrammable snacks you’ll ever come across! If you’ve got a sweet tooth you’ll be in heaven!
Of course, there are probably hundreds more incredible secret restaurants around the UK, but perhaps they’re a little too well-hidden!