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In a time when eateries and bars are striving to be genuinely different, a handful of entrepreneurial restaurateurs are going one step further and opening establishments that are like nothing seen in the UK before. Novelty restaurants and cafés are emerging all over the UK, offering everything from cat attention to crisp sandwiches, and judging by the booked-up time slots and queues outside their doors, they’re here to stay.

While most unusual restaurants are being opened in London, it’s not just tourists who are flocking to sample their unique wares. Locals and culture-vultures alike are paying visits to discover something that’s unlike anything they’ve experienced before; let’s take a look at just three establishments that have really got people talking.

Cereal Killer, London

You can’t possibly have avoided the buzz around London’s Cereal Killer, the UK’s first café to serve (almost) nothing but dozens of cereal varieties, in hundreds of possible combinations. Even before its opening day, Cereal Killer was the name on everyone’s lips as cereal fans eagerly anticipated digging into a bowl, yet a handful of critics derided the café’s twin brother owners, Gary and Alan Keery, for their supposedly ‘overpriced’ offerings and ‘hipster’ attitudes.

But as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Since throwing open their doors the Keery brothers have been swamped by breakfast food fans keen to sample the ‘cereal cocktails’ like Orange You Glad Didn’t Order Milk, a bowl of Coco Shreddies with a Jaffa Cake and orange juice in place of milk, and Unicorn Poop, consisting of Ricicles, Party Ring biscuits, marshmallows and hundreds and thousands. We predict a few copycat cafés popping up outside of London very soon.

Simply Crispy, Belfast

There must be something in the water in Belfast. The Keery twins behind the Cereal Killer café were born and raised in Belfast before moving to London to pursue their cereal dream, and mere weeks after their café’s debut, an eatery dedicated to crisp sandwiches opened in their Northern Irish hometown. Named Simply Crispy, the café indeed serves nothing but various types of crisp sandwiches, and completely sold out in under two hours on its first day of trading.

Hungry crisp enthusiasts queued around the block for bread baps filled with Tayto and Walkers’ crisp varieties and served with yet more crisps on the side. What’s even more remarkable about Simply Crispy is that it was conceptualised as a joke – but even if only by accident, clearly they’ve filled a yawning gap in the market.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London

In Japan, where various legal or lifestyle restrictions prohibit many people from owning their own cats, ‘cat cafés’ have become a national institution. At a cat café visitors pay to spend time playing with its resident kitties, and the first cat café finally came to UK shores in early 2014 when London’s Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium welcomed its first cat-crazy customers.

Lady Dinah’s has been lapped up by feline fans who are starved for a little feline attention, as well as a spot of tea and cake, but it’s also proved popular with stressed London workers – studies have shown that spending time around cats can reduce blood pressure, after all. Newcastle will be receiving its first cat café in mid-2015 too, so it won’t just be southerners having all the furry fun.

Do you know of another novelty restaurant that you’d like to tell us about, or are you thinking of opening one yourself? We’d love to hear from you – leave us a comment below or tweet us @BunzlLockhart."


Lockhart Catering on 2 February 2015 10:37 AM

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