Behind The Blue Door

Statement Dining | February 22, 2016 |

Unexpected dining:

The UK's most surprising restaurants



It becomes so much more than simply ‘dining out’ when your surroundings take you to another world – and Britain is not short on extraordinary dining experiences.

From fine dining aboard trains to brunch above the capital, these unique restaurants are a spectacle in themselves – and the views certainly don’t compromise on the food, either.

Eating with the fishes: Two Rivers Restaurant, Hull


Image source: The Deep

Few will forget an underwater dinner. Two Rivers Restaurant is located inside the Endless Oceans Gallery at one of the UK’s largest aquariums, The Deep.

Drenched in aquamarine, the restaurant serves Mediterranean food with a Yorkshire twist among the company of thousands of magnificent fish, sharks and rays.

Changing every three months to make the most of local seasonal produce, you can expect dishes such as seafood linguini with East Yorkshire crab, or free-range Yorkshire chicken breast stuffed with chorizo and feta.

The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, so booking ahead is recommended.

Sky-high 24 hour dining: Duck and Waffle, London


Image source: Duck & Waffle

Located on the 40th floor of one of London’s highest buildings, Duck & Waffle serves up brunch, dinner and late night menus complemented by an eclectic collection of artisanal cocktails.

The hair-raising entrance and extravagant views of the capital are in fact the second best thing about the sky-scraping eatery; where fast-rising chef Dan Doherty’s playful, ingredient-driven dishes steal the show.

Dine while the sun sets (or rises) on fan-favourites such as the spicy ox cheek doughnut,  foie gras crème brûlée, or the dish that christened the restaurant – crispy duck leg, fried duck egg, waffle and mustard maple syrup.

Dinner in a dungeon: Thornbury Castle, South Gloucestershire


Image source: Thornbury Castle

Henry VIII spent part of his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn at Thornbury Castle, a year before she was beheaded. If that rich Tudor background of the 16th century castle isn’t an impressive attribute alone, the restaurant is just as infused in history – with stars such as Sophia Loren and Laurence Olivier wining and dining in its opulent rooms.

Larger parties can book an atmospheric evening down in the dungeons, among the wine cellar housing exclusive vintage bottles. Choose from a mix of contemporary cuisine and traditional favourites  – and make sure you don’t miss out on the exclusively British cheese board.

Brunch, burgers and 360 flips: The Wall SE1, London


Image source: The Wall SE1/ Facebook

Dripping with cool, The Wall SE1 is located inside House of Vans, London’s first indoor skate park inside the Old Vic Tunnels at Waterloo.

While it’s inarguably a hot destination for skateboarders, the underground venue boasts a variety of diversions for those uninterested in perfecting their 360 spin.

New York’s café and diner scene is a huge influence on the menu, as well as street food from both sides of the Atlantic. Give the infamous Buttermilk fried chicken a go (all meat is supplied by the esteemed The Butchery Ltd) while taking in the noise, buzz and action of the capital’s skater crowd.

A gastronomic train adventure: Belmond British Pullman, London Victoria


Image source: Belmond British Pullman

Nothing says quintessentially British like exquisite cuisine aboard a beautifully restored Pullman. Belmond British Pullman, the sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, is five-hour dining experience which takes you on a round-trip through the stunning British countryside.

Depart from either London Victoria or Plymouth station in vintage carriages that once ran on legendary 1920s services. Each course is inspired by the views from your window, with tasting menus from some of Britain’s foremost chefs as well as champagne and fine wines throughout the journey.

Prison food: Liverpool One Bridewell, Liverpool


Image source: Liverpool One Bridewell

The historic Liverpool One Bridewell is set in an 1850s-build former jailhouse in Campbell Square, Argyle Street, retaining many of its original features.

Built to house up to 40 prisoners manacled in standing position in each cell, Bridewell ceased to function as a jailhouse in the 1930s. British and US armies used it to house conscientious objectors during World War II: anti-Churchill slogans can still be seen on the walls of cells.

Other notable guests are Charles Dickens – who spent a day there in 1860 to research a book – and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who wrote most of their hits in the cells (during the Bridewell’s time as a recording space).

Main courses comprise of good old British food: hearty sausage and mash, proper fish and chips and traditional Scouse.


*Lead image source: Duck & Waffle

Not quite had your restaurant fix? Check out these Michelin-worthy recipes from the UK’s ‘grow their own’ heroes.


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