Book Reviews

Secret London – Unusual Bars & Restaurants

Secret London, or to give it its full title ‘Secret London – Unusual Bars & Restaurants’, is a delightfully lively guide to places in London offering food and drink – most of them in highly unusual and quirky venues.

Over 140 venues listed

We are ashamed to say that having lived in London for many years and now visit on a fairly regular basis we thought we were pretty au fait with places for a light bite, a meal or just a sit down with a coffee or a glass of wine. But obviously we are not. Of the 140 or so places listed in the guide we only knew a handful.

Admittedly we had probably never had any reason to visit some of the London suburbs listed, but this handy guide could well be the incentive needed for us to venture away from our central London comfort zone.

Even in the central London area there are many places we realise we now have to visit. Also useful is the inclusion of some maps – at least giving us an idea of locations. An indication of prices even if only of the £ or ££ symbol variety would have been appreciated, but we are being picky.

Fascinating and lively stories

What we love about the guide are the stories behind so many of the entries – cleverly researched and entertainingly told by Hannah Robinson and Rachel Howard.

Stories of the people who founded them, what the buildings had been in a previous existence, what the décor (frequently verging on bizarre) is today , and also what lies behind the doors – maybe a museum, cats, books, a prison – past or present, a Korean karaoke club?

Some of the establishments listed are there more for their atmosphere than for the quality of their food, others hit the gastronomic nail right on the head. But one thing for sure they are all unusual.

Secret London – Unusual Bars & Restaurants. Hannah Robinson and Rachel Howard.
ISBN: 978-2-36195-280-8. £13.99. Jonglez Publishing. .

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