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Six restaurants to ditch your traditions for this Christmas

By Time Out in association with Smirnoff

It’s nearly Christmas, and we all know this is the time for cranberry cocktails, epic turkey dinners and festive fun. No doubt your diary already runneth over with merry meet-ups and gluttonous gatherings, so we teamed up with Smirnoff and Emily from Curious London to gently remind you not to lose your sense of adventure when eating out this holiday season. You are absolutely forbidden, for instance, to conduct your annual catch-up with your uni mates in a Pizza Hut. Why not try something new this Christmas instead? We’ve got sled-loads of suggestions, from zebra jerky to venison burgers (sorry Rudolph).

And don’t forget our Globally inspired Advent Calendar – cocktail recipes and alternative festive things to do right here in London, inspired by weird and wonderful traditions from places around the world. If you’re up for, we’re open!


Top of my list is Archipelago near Goodge Street, London’s best restaurant for unconventional cuisine. Intrepid foodies can order sweet chilli smoked python carpaccio, pan-fried crickets, kangaroo skewers, as well as that zebra jerky (don't worry, there are some more traditional dishes for less daring diners).

Next up there’s Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell, where mystery meals are dished up in darkness – that’s actual darkness, not over-enthusiastic ‘mood’ lighting.


 Or Sarastro in Holborn, where diners are serenaded by opera singers. Or Circus in Covent Garden, where your dinner comes with a side(show) of acrobatics, trapeze artistry, and fire-eating ballet dancers.

Mac & Wild

Alternatively, rookie adventurers can ease themselves in gently with Scottish cuisine from Mac & Wild near Oxford Circus. Scotland is just down the road, comparatively – no pythons there! – and venison is beef’s gamier, more flavoursome cousin. A brother from another udder, if you will. For the ultimate venison feast, choose the chateaubriand, or there’s the famous ‘Venimoo’ burger: a venison and beef double-decker with extra cheese, béarnaise and mustard. PRO TIP: wear trousers with an elasticated waistband.

Finally, if you prefer to do your adventuring socially rather than gastronomically, try one of Grub Club’s pop-up supper clubs, which’ll have you breaking bread with fellow Londoners at shared tables all over town. Venues include disused tube carriages, churches and clock towers, and tickets start from around £20pp.

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