What if YOU decided what the bill was going to be, based on how much you enjoyed your dining experience? This is just one of the brave new dining concepts, challenging the status quo of how we've always eaten. Here are 6 of the best (and most bizarre) restaurant concepts.
You gulp down the final bite of your meal, swallow the last drop of your drink and call for the bill. There's nothing unusual in that typical dining scenario. But what if there was no bill? What if YOU decided what the bill was going to be?
This is the protocol at the not-for-profit, multicultural, vegetarian restaurant Lentil as Anything, which has five outposts across Sydney and Melbourne and is currently scouting for an Adelaide venue. Lentil as Anything is less concerned about profits and more concerned about providing wholesome meals for the community in an inclusive environment. Diners decide what they will contribute based on their financial capacity and funds go towards education and community projects.
Food blogger Alex Conomos shares 6 of the best (and most bizarre) restaurant concepts -
1. Pay per minute café
Ziferblat (meaning clock face) is a pay-per-minute café that started in Russia and has now extended to London. Everything is free except the time you spend there, which is charged at three pence (roughly 1.5 cents) per minute. The aim of owners is to give people a communal space where they can hang out and meet new people.
Walk into the café, take an alarm clock and settle in like you’re at home. Take your pick from snacks like biscuits and fruit, help yourself to coffee from a professional machine, browse the book selection or even have a tinkle at the piano. When you’re ready to leave you literally ‘clock out’ by paying only for the time you’ve spent there.
2. Café that serves only cereal
Whether you’re in the throes of a heavy hangover or just seeking comfort food, sometimes only a big bowl of cereal will do. That was how two Belfast brothers felt, and what drove them to open Cereal Killer Cafe in East London. With over 120 types of cereal, 30 varieties of milk and 20 toppings to choose from, you could justify going back for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Throw in a few pop tarts and it’s a dentist’s worst nightmare but an experience that will definitely give your next meal some snap, crackle and pop!
3. Café in a former toilet
We’ve heard of cafes that have sprung from old trains, airplanes, even gaols. A café fashioned from a former toilet however, is definitely a revelation. London’s Attendant Café was originally a men’s lavatory built around 1890 but fell into disuse in the 1960’s. That is until an enterprising coffee lover decided it was the perfect location for a cosy espresso and sandwich bar. Original details such as the cast iron entrance and porcelain urinals remain, however thankfully the entire venue has had a thorough jet-washing to ensure it’s spotless and hygienic.
4. Dinner in the Sky
Take a step out of the underground toilet and into the sky for our next crazy dining experience. If you like a view with your meal then Dinner in the Sky is definitely the culinary experience for you. This suspended dining table holding 22 tightly strapped-in guests (plus a handful of chefs) has appeared in over 40 countries and made Australian cameos in both Sydney and Tasmania. With top quality food on offer and the impressive view afforded by a height of 50 metres, it certainly gives new meaning to the idea of a pop up restaurant.
5. Conflict Kitchen
Food gets political at this polarising restaurant based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conflict Kitchen has a mantra to only serve food from countries with which the USA is in conflict. The restaurant is currently throwing the spotlight on the cuisine and culture of Palestine, while previous incarnations have focused on Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and Iran. The kitchen team visits the countries in question to ensure authenticity and aims to raise awareness of these much maligned communities and their unique cuisines.
6. Dining in the Dark
We often eat with our eyes. That juicy burger and molten chocolate pudding? You can almost taste them before they touch your mouth. But how do we experience taste when we can’t see what we are eating?
This is the very experience that Dans Le Noir (In The Dark) wants you to discover at its restaurants in Paris, London, Barcelona and St Petersburg. By taking sight out of the equation, customers must use taste, feel, sound and smell instead. Diners are guided through this sensory journey by staff that are visually impaired, so the tables are truly turned as you must rely on them during the entire meal.