Looking for lunch… with a side of quirk? We’ve got you covered. From a cozy cafe teeming with rescue cats to an eclectic eatery offering 120 types of cereal, we’ve rounded up the top off-the-wall eateries in the UK that you’ll need to see to believe.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
152-154 Bethnal Green Road
London, E2 6DG
Photo credit: Lauren Pears
If days of sightseeing has left you feeling frazzled, head to this London café—which also serves as a foster home for rescue cats—for a little pick-me-up… and plenty of purring. Choose from a selection of baked goods (with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options to boot), and let the stressors of the afternoon wash away as you make some new furry friends. While petting is encouraged, feeding is not, so keep your scones to yourself! And should you fall for a friendly feline during your visit, check out the restaurant’s website to see if the pretty kitty is available for adoption.
Cereal Killers Café
139 Brick Lane
London E1 6SB
For a one-of-a-kind dining experience that will make your inner child do cartwheels, head to this cereal-obsessed café, which features more than 100 different types of cereal from around the world. Choose from 30 different varieties of milk, including strawberry and pumpkin, along with 20 different kinds of fruit, candy, and nut toppings to create the perfect blend of sugary sweetness. Or, take your cereal game to a whole new level with a white chocolate and strawberry hot chocolate smothered with Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms.
49 Frith Street
London, W1D 4SG
If feasting on mutton rolls and duck hearts sounds both intriguing and terrifying then you’ll flip for this newly-opened Sri Lankan eatery located in the heart of Soho. To ensure that all patrons feel at ease (well, as at ease as you can while eating animal hearts), each ingredient is clearly explained in the glossary at the bottom of the menu. For those looking for a less adventurous (but still flavourful!) eating experience, try the Shellfish Kothu—a Sri Lankan street-dish made with finely-chopped roti and vegetables. But word to the wise: Hoppers doesn’t accept reservations, so be sure to allow plenty of time during peak hours.
Dundee DD1 1NR, Scotland
Housed within a Victorian railway station, this waterfront brasserie offers farm-to-table cuisine along with panoramic views of the Tay Estuary. It’s so farm-to-table in fact, that the restaurant lists the name of the butcher, fish market, forest, and dairy farm it uses to source ingredients right on its menu. But the real draw of Bridgeview Station (besides the oh-so-fresh-food, of course) is its unique design, which includes an authentic 1870’s railway carriage for take-away orders.
110 Hanover street
Animal lovers will feel right at home at this quirky gastropub located in the heart of Edinburgh. And, yes, there’s no shortage of dog decor: two stone canines perch by the door, puppy paintings dot the stairway, and a massive mutt photograph hangs behind the bar. There's even a book of famous dog quotes on the way to the loo. While there’s no dog-inspired food on the menu, thankfully, expect Scottish bar food favorites like white fish, beef cheek, and pork belly.
Carmarthen Carmarthenshire, SA32 7LH
You won’t find foams, gels or even any matching tables at this countryside pub where servers wear jeans and customers pour their own wine. But you will find free-range meat, locally-grown produce, and a business motto so cheeky it’s been emblazoned onto tee-shirts: “Fat equals flavour. Live with it.”
Her Majesty's Prison Cardiff
Cardiff, CF24 0UG
When most of us dine out we rarely think about the person serving us our food. But at Clink Restaurants, located throughout the UK, it’s hard not to. Each restaurant is staffed by real prisoners who are interested in working in the hospitality industry following their release. Following extensive training, the inmates work in the kitchen or main dining area for 40 hours per week alongside the regular staff. Though diners are welcome to speak to the prisoners about their background and experiences, we have a feeling you’ll be too preoccupied by the triple-cooked chips and roasted chicken breast to even bother.