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World's Weirdest Restaurants

Bon Appetit

World's Weirdest Restaurants
18 August 2011

Call it a trippy twist on Newton’s third law of motion (every action always has an equal and opposite reaction), but some people consider eating in a normal restaurant setting a bit odd. They crave the weird, the crazy; the wrong.

In honour of these people we have collated the world’s weirdest restaurants, where food is served in toilet bowls, by monkeys, in the dark, while suspended high up in the sky.

Each to their own.

1. Modern Toilet Restaurant, Taiwan

Although as civilised adults we don’t like to countenance it more than once a year, there is a correlation between eating and the toilet. Yeah, that’s put you off your cheeseburger hasn’t it? In Taiwan, however, they like to make a virtue of this symbiosis. The Modern Toilet Restaurant deals in commode cuisine: food – curry, noodles etc - is served in toilet bowls and its proved so successful owner Eric Wang has opened a string of similarly themed restaurants. What’s even weirder is that in the restaurant’s toilet you do your business on a plate. Honk, honk.

2. Dans Le Noir, United Kingdom

The dark is a wonderful invention (it’s not really an invention is it? Ah well, that’s for another time): great for a bit of slap and tickle; a must for horror films and a panacea for headaches. At the risk of sounding like a conservative bore though, is it the best setting for food? The folk at Dans Le Noir, in London’s Clerkenwell certainly think so. With up to 59 other diners, you can eat your meal – which is a surprise, although you can give them rough instructions – in a blackened room. What’s more, the waiters are blind. It’s meant to completely revolutionize your sense of taste. Hifalutin concepts aside, it doesn’t really sound right to us.

3. Ithaa, Maldives

The fact that Ithaa in the picture postcard perfect Maldives has only 12 seats and cost $5 million lends it an air of exclusivity from the outset. However, why it makes this esteemed list is due to its setting, 16 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean. A 180 degree acrylic see through dome is all that comes between you and a dazzling array of stingrays, butterfly fish and creatures, making it the world’s first aquarium-style underwater eaterie. Good weird, but weird nonetheless.

4. Dinner In The Sky, Worldwide

Predictably, if there are those that wish to eat lobster thermidor below the ocean, there will be others that want to chow down on steak tartare up in the sky. Enter stage left (or should that be sky dive from the above plane?) Dinner In The Sky. Having originated in Belgium, the concept has been rolled out worldwide. Guests are seat belted to a table that is attached to crane before being elevated 165 feet in the sky where they hover while enjoying a luxurious meal. How odd.

5. Izakaya Kayabuki, Japan

Monkeys are clever little critters. A lot smarter than your average human some might say. They certainly think so over in Japan. So much so that Kaoru Otsuka, owner of the Izakaya Kayabuki in Utsonomiya, hires them to work in his restaurant. Well, we say hires, they’re actually his pets. Insert pay peanuts, get monkeys jibe here.

6. Isdaan, Philippines

According to a cursory scan of reviews on t’interweb, there are plenty of sound gastronomic reasons to visit fish restaurant Isdaan should you ever be down Philippines way. And yet, the reason for its inclusion here is that in an antechamber, diners can smash plates, mugs and even TVs before settling down to some scrumptious seafood. Violence and cracking food: a win win.

7. Rogue 24, America

Eating out should be a pleasurable experience. A time to relax with your nearest and dearest while eating pork belly. Aaah, pork belly; gimme, gimme, gimme. What it shouldn’t remind you of is school, full of rules and regulations. Patrons of hip Washington eaterie are forced to sign a two-page contract telling them what they can (eat either a 16-course or 24-course tasting menu) and can’t (tweet, text, take pictures and anything else involving a mobile) do. Crikey, some people just like to be abused.

8. The Clinic, Singapore

Linking food and hospitals might sound out mixed signals, but there’s no doubting The Clinic’s credentials. This isn’t some backstreet burger joint serving dodgy food that will send you to your nearest A&E. Rather; it’s a high-end concept restaurant a la Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck. And alongside the molecular gastronomy, the dining experience comes with a medical twist. Food is operated on under surgical lights and diners are seated in wheelchairs. Bonkers.

9. s’ Baggers, Germany

Surly waiting staff are the bain of many a frustrated diner. Quite frankly we don’t care tuppence whether you’re waiting to be discovered as the next Keira Knightley, we just want our drinks served on time and food still to be hot when it arrives. The strangely named s’ Baggers in Germany has decided to do away with waiters altogether. Food is served on a culinary rollercoaster and orders are taken via a touch screen monitor. We presume the oft hated service charge is absent too.

10. Dick’s Last Resort, America

On the other hand, some people like a bit of banter with waiters. Dick’s Last Resort, a restaurant chain over the pond, intentionally hire rude and abusive staff and actively encourage them to verbally fire both barrels at customers. Thankfully, diners are in on the act and most seem to lap up the admittedly obvious, but funny, childish and smutty innuendos.

(Images: Chris Radley; Getty; Rex; Melly Wonitoy; Tama Leaver; Stacy Lynn Baum)