Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Newsflash: we all know that London is an excellent city to find both high quality fine-dining restaurants and street food stalls in equal measure. Eating a bad meal in the city is actually, when it comes down to it, quite difficult to do when you consider all of the tasty options available at so many different price points. Cheap eats and high-end haute cuisine often rub shoulders on the very same street – delivering delicious food for whatever mood you're in. Sometimes, however, it's not just food that you're looking for. Sometimes you want something… more, sometimes you want pure sensation, sometimes you want a little bit 'extra' – an eating experience that pummels your senses into oblivion.
Whether it's through mounds of food as rich as Carlos Slim or interiors that wouldn't look out of place as an exhibition at the Tate Modern, London's dining scene is practically bursting at the seams with 'extra' restaurants.
Extra doesn't always mean a Michelin star is involved, either. Just take Gloria and the sheer glut of Instagram posts that have been made celebrating that pasta palace's decadence for a real sign of the times. We live in a dark and gloomy world (thanks, Brexit) and it's nice to occasionally forget about restraint and understatement when we go out for a meal. Yes, there's a time and a place for subtle flavours and understated decor. But you won't find any of those things at the following spate of 'extra' restaurants.
13 of London's most 'extra' places to eat and drink
54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR
Nothing quite says 'extra' like a restaurant that's got menu items like 'Fillipo's Big Balls' and a 'YouPorn Pizza', really. This East London hot spot has become the it-place for Instagram influencers thanks to its blatant homage to overdoing it. Even the waiters are in on the excess – generous with their pours and decked out in striped uniforms that'll almost fool you into thanking God it's Friday. In reality, you'd be better off thanking God that you're not on a diet. Carb-heavy dishes like a particularly snappy carbonara that's twirled at your table side in a whole round of pecorino and a lemon meringue pie as large as a volleyball accentuate how Gloria is a place that takes fun ever so seriously.
9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Close your eyes, try and imagine the most excessive dining room you can think of and you probably won't even get close to how extravagant the interior of Sketch is. Even the egg-shaped toilets are fairly outlandish. Mourad Mazouz's restaurant covers two floors of a converted 18th century site townhouse and boasts a dining area with a permanent exhibit of David Shrigley's artwork. If that's not extra, we don't know what is.
Black Axe Mangal
156 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP
Lee Tiernan's Black Axe Mangal is Turkish flavours taken to the extreme. A focus on meat and offal – pig's ears and head are both fair game here – means that B.A.M. isn't exactly the sort of place to take your vegetarian mates to on a Saturday night. It is, however, somewhere to go to for an eating experience that will sledgehammer your every sense with all the vigour of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. To eat at Black Axe Mangal is to surrender yourself to loud and experimental flavours. It's a bit rock and roll but, then again, what can you expect from a restaurant that serves 'Crispy Fucking Rabbit'?
Bob Bob Cité
Level 3, 122 Leadenhall St, EC3V 4AB
Cité's older brother, Ricard, is well-known in London as a location for going a little over-the-top. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as Bob Bob Cité appears just as much an arena for hedonism as its forebearer. Eric Chavot's menu is as rich as it gets. Daube de boeuf provençal and lobster mac and cheese share prime real estate on your table and, eventually, in your stomach. The price point requires that you're pretty rich to boot. £24 for a Waldorf salad is cheek puckeringly expensive but this isn't the kind of place you come when you're on a budget now, is it? Bob bob's lauded "press for champagne" button further ensures you won't struggle to have a wonderfully excessive brut-soaked evening in the premises.
Monsieur Le Duck
27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN
Monsieur Le Duck is a bit like Duck & Waffle. If all Duck & Waffle did was serve was duck and waffle, that is. Specialising in the food of Gascony, south west France, Monsieur Le Duck is extra in terms of its dedication to its poultry weapon of choice. And when we say dedication, we really mean it. Duck wellington, duck breast, duck leg confit, duck burger, and duck steak baguette? All of those canard creations and more can be plucked from the menu and transported into your mouth. Even the bread here comes with duck fat butter, and we are all about that.
Brasserie of Light
Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
When we talk about restaurants that go the extra mile in the decor department, it's pretty hard to ignore Brasserie of Light. It's also pretty hard to ignore the fact that the centrepiece of the restaurant is a 24ft crystal encrusted Pegasus statue created by Damien Hirst. Order yourself some Oscietra caviar, a fair old bottle of fair old plonk and watch the world go by in style at this as-Marylebone-as-they-come restaurant. Don't forget to grab a few snaps of Pegasus for your Instagram feed as well. Because, c'mon, we all know that's the real reason you're going.
33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
They say you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. But what about those you love? Well, you should take them to Clos Maggiore. This extra eatery regularly tops the charts as one of the world's most romantic restaurants. Walking into Clos and you're immediately made aware that a great deal of thought has been put into the space. Every chair is adjusted to the perfect degree, every knife and fork positioned as if an artefact on loan from the British Museum. That attention to detail is what makes Clos Maggiore an undisputable ear of wheat among the chaff and, having been awarded three AA-rosettes, don't be surprised that food is extra good, too. Dishes such as native lobster fideuà and shoulder of Loire Valley rabbit represent the very best cooking of Tuscany and Provence.
92 Wigmore Street, W1U 3RD
Fancy crab? Go to Fancy Crab. The larger than life Red King Crabs here come served on ice, baked over charcoal, or in a variant that's about as extra as it gets: a King Crab burger. Crab meat with avocado and Fancy Crab sauce slathered inside a buttery brioche bun is a combination that's nigh-impossible to turn down. Especially if you're not a fan of all the extra hassle required to de-shell a crab and access its sweet, sweet meat. If you've never seen a Red King Crab before just trust us when we tell you that they're the heifers of the crustacean kingdom – large beastly bastards that are roughly the size of a toddler with claws as big as adult hands. The option to go ape on a bottomless prosecco at the weekend is just the extra icing on top of what's already a rather extra cake of a restaurant.
Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Located on the 40th floor of one of London's tallest buildings, Duck & Waffle doesn't do anything in half measures. It's open 24 hours a day, has a menu stocked with everything from freshly baked breads to the eponymous duck and waffle, and has an interior designed by award-winning architects. Is it subtle? Oh God, no. But is it fun? Oh God, yes. You can watch the sunrise and the sunset with a view of the city that makes the cars all Meccano underneath. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.
182 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8EW
Anywhere that's willing to press an entire duck at your table counts as fairly extra, right? Yeah, we thought as much. Well, Otto's does that. Genuinely. A whole duck squashed for £160 and transformed into three courses for two people? We'll see you there. Even if you're not up for an entire canard to be crushed while you look on in anticipation, Otto's has got a lot of other stuff going for it. Stuff like boned pig's trotter rammed with calf's sweetbread and morel mushrooms. Stuff like beef fillet with seared foie gras, spinach, truffle and Madeira sauce. Stuff like a tantalising wine selection with the option to exhibit restraint and only get a half bottle. Though, if we are being well and truly extra here, one should really shell out for the whole bottle now, shouldn't they?
16 Bury Street, SW1Y 6AJ
Spread across multiple floors on Bury Street, Quaglino's might have been around the block once or twice but it's still got a star on the London dining scene's walk of fame. Mainly as a location to have an afternoon – or evening – of extra excess. The menu, designed by executive chef Nuno Goncalves, is a crystallised canon of European classics, frozen in time. Think: prawn cocktail, duck a l'orange, chateaubriand. The iconic bar overlooking the grand restaurant floor offers balcony views of the live entertainment that you'll find taking place from Tuesday to Sunday every week. While the food itself isn't much to shout out about, the atmosphere is lively and worth it alone for the nostalgia factor.
26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
Dean Street isn't struggling for great places to eat but perhaps no restaurant in Soho better typifies the art of 'extra' than Quo Vadis. Chef proprietor Jeremy Lee ensures that the restaurant's extraordinary building is done justice by the food and service it offers inside. Wines are extra good, the vibe is extra lovely, and the smoked eel sandwich is about as extra as you can get from a dish that involves a bit of fish and two slices of bread. Whether you're visiting Quo Vadis for a simple sarnie or a more substantial pie and glass of prosecco, you'll find yourself well catered for. Hospitality? Quo Vadis has completed it, mate.
Berkeley Square House, W1J 6BR
You can't call a restaurant Sexy Fish without delivering on the promise of a dining experience that's a bit… much. The Japanese-inspired dishes might not as out there as you'd expect but when you've got an entire section of the menu called 'Sexy Fruits De Mer' it's hard to argue against the 'extra' label being slapped onto Sexy Fish. Especially when the West London icon has got half the barrier reef downstairs near the toilets. No, really. A private dining space – aptly named The Coral Reef Room – is located on the lower ground floor and houses two of the largest live coral reef tanks in the world. Why? Because why not.