Some things simply aren’t best when done alone; table tennis or moving a sofa or sex, for instance.
But when it comes to dining out, don’t listen to the detractors, boldly stroll in and ask for a table for one. And if you’re going to go solo, then do it right. Find somewhere with that something extra, here are some options…
If you’re going to be sat on your own, good to have something to look at. And what could be better than London? If you brought a book, then chances are that you’ll never get around to turning the pages as you watch London go on by. And the dark interior will ensure that you don’t feel like a numpty sat on your own. All the better for enjoying the authentic Cantonese dishes Hutong is famous for.
Where: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
The new SUSHISAMBA in Covent Garden is many things, it’s rather beautiful, it’s perfectly located for central London, it’s got plants growing off the ceiling and, it’s got counter dining. Counter dining is the ultimate solo dining solution, you’re not facing an empty seat, but rather a wall, a kitchen, a window, whatever. At SUSHISAMBA you’re facing into the sushi-kitchen, which means that as you eat you’ll be very much entertained by some of the best sushi makers in the capital.
When all eyes are on the gyrating acrobat dangling from a thread above your plate, nobody cares that you’re on your lonesome. Enjoy the spectacular events without the distraction of anybody else as you chomp down your pan-Asian dishes.
Where: 27-29 Endell Street, Westminster, London, WC2H 9BA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Covent Garden (0.1 miles)
I can’t think of a better place to head alone than a restaurant where sharing is encouraged. And nowhere is that more-so than Hammer & Tongs, a brai restaurant in Clerkenwell where the meat is some of the best you’ll taste in London but the catch is that you have to share it with whoever you’ve gone with. And with meat this good, well you won’t want to share it (Smithy from Gavin and Stacey has the right approach here).
Okay, I’m not a huge fan of jazz, but I’ve been to Ronnie Scottt’s and I know one thing: they don’t like talking. You eat your meal in silence while ‘enjoying’ the jazz music. If jazz is actually your thing, then brilliant, but if not then you’ve got a place to hang out on your tod.
When Emily reviewed Spuntino, the working title for her review was “The Restaurant That’ll Spuntino In Your Mouth”, however the finished product had been watered down to the rather less click-baity “The NYC Inspired Boozy Brunch That’s Just Landed in Soho“. Nevertheless, the restaurant has a real sense of fun, which is always good for a stranger looking for friends, and coupled with counter dining, this American-Italian feels like the sort of place you might call in at while penning the Great-American-Novel.
Fact: going to the cinema is a terrible date idea! The only things you learn about your date is what kind of popcorn they order and how good their bladder retention is. But while it may be an awful idea for two, flying solo it becomes a different proposition altogether, especially if there’s food involved. And at The Electric, there is and it’s going to be served to your seat. Since their primary competition, in form of The Odeon at Whiteley’s, shut down, The Electric has very much ruled the roost, and effectively so with snacks and drinks ordered to your (incredibly comfortable) chair. It’s ideal for eating alone, requiring no small-talk or social interaction whatsoever.
Where: 191 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Shepherds Bush (0.9 miles)
One aspect of solo dining that’s inevitable is being judged by non-solo patrons. After all, even the most independent dinner-for-one-er will pique the interest of fellow diners lacking the self-confidence to step out with only a novel and an iPhone for company. Well not at Dans le Noir. Nobody will glance over and pity you at Dans le Noir. Nobody will even know you’re there. Because at Dans le Noir you are, well, dans le noir.