In case you have missed the clamour of 46,000 Londoners expressing an interest to visit The Bunyadi, it is London’s first pop-up naked restaurant. By naked, we mean not just in the sartorial sense, but also in terms of their cuisine. Their website is deliberately light on details to protect an aura of mystery surrounding the experience.
The location is at a disused pub in the area of Borough. They send you the exact address and also a detailed FAQ section once your booking is completed. It is hard to miss The Bunyadi as the exterior is blackened out with a security standing outside; you do have to question whether this is all required given the liberal nature of Londoners in general.
The first room is a welcoming reception and bar area, where you are made to feel at ease straight away. It is the same feeling as if you had just entered a luxury spa resort. The staff are minimally dressed, courteous and softly spoken. You are invited to enjoy their carefully crafted cocktails first before moving to the changing area and locker room. My only minor gripe is the changing area is miniscule, dark and the locker space is tiny.
Moving onto the restaurant area, it is dark, soothing and relaxing with bamboo partitions to offer extra privacy for diners. The meditative music wouldn’t be out-of-place in any top urban spa retreat.
Perhaps the most surprising element is the quality of the food. They don’t use fire, electricity or gas for their naked cooking menu, which you would assume is very easy to assemble; but the head chef has given considerable thought into the presentation, the matching of ingredients to offer an exceptional experience. The steak tartare was full of flavours due to the pickled rhubarb infusion and wasabi mayo; whilst the meat is as fresh as possible, because they know exactly how many diners will be attending, so they order the exact quantities required.
The sea bass ceviche and salmon sashimi were likewise irresistible and matched with coriander cream which had gentle herbal and sweet notes that complemented the fish very well. All the dishes are served in earthy clay bowls and wooden utensils or edible spoons.
The very complicated sounding dessert of fig and dark velvet avocado cacao mousse with nutmeg, hazelnut crumble and drizzle of vanilla salt actually had a very simple, clean and smooth taste. The dish undoubtedly was made more buttery tasting with the use of natural avocado.
What guests should understand is this isn’t a gimmick restaurant for a one-off visit. They offer some seriously outstanding naked food which you won’t find anywhere else in London. Whether we have a heat wave or not, repeated visits to The Bunyadi is highly recommended.