An Appetite for the Underbelly

While waltzing about your day, treading upon the paved streets carelessly, you often forget, or even fail to realize the whole unseen world that likes beneath your feet. The hidden underbelly of the world’s cities, thriving with life, entertaining the masses out of sight and out of mind.

Restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres, all lying beneath the roads waiting to be explored – and often dismissed by those paying a fleeting visit, passing through, and doing the tourist trail.

But spend enough time in a city and it’s not long until you find that there’s as much life to live underground as above! The hardest part is just learning where to go, and that’s where the whole new voucher culture can save the day.

Having been gifted some vouchers for the ‘Travel Zoo” website, I decided it was time to discover the underbelly of London and get amongst an unseen restaurant culture; all for a fraction of the price. My first choice – Salvador & Amanda in Convent Garden.

Under the civilized streets, a treasure was hiding that was as far from English culture as imaginable. The old bricks remain, but the lights bouncing across the ceiling tell a tale of a very different culture. Black and red gathered skirts flow and twirl like ribbon, a rhythmic pulse rings out from under foot, heel and toe, and drumming bounces around my ears from the fretboard of a guitar.

The Spanish atmosphere whisked me right back to Madrid, and while it still had the English pub flair, it was one of few themed restaurants that truly does justice to it’s chosen keynotes.

Sangria by the litre, and olives to die for leaving me pining for the Mediterranean; but Samantha Luisa – flamenco dancer extraordinaire, brings it home to London. And as I am not much of a dancer, flamenco by observation was perfect for me (as I was truly worried I may have to dance).

Towers of tapas are delivered to the table in lots of three, and while you may think there’s not much there – trust me, you wont finish what’s on offer. In case you feel like drooling over the menu, click here!

If you can find yourself a deal like I did, then it’s definitely worth the visit. Otherwise check out the flamenco on Tuesdays or Wednesdays for £22.50 a head.

IMG-20140429-WA0007As for DSTRKT restaurant (which is more famously known for it’s night club and celeb spotting) I was unshamelessly surprised by the classy glamour of what I’d expected to be an average ‘clubby’ restaurant. Multicolored fluorescent globes may still hang from the ceiling changing colours, but they are tasteful and somewhat mesmerizing. The art on the walls enticed me to take a closer look, and the DJ in the corner was playing lounge music as opposed to filthy electro.

The waiters were as good as gone, and the Octopus was heaven in my mouth. Most outstanding feature however was the impressive range of cocktails that were never short of alcohol nor crushed additions. Worth a trip on their own in my opinion and of course they have a happy hour 🙂


(Outings courtesy of RedMudMedia and TravelZoo)

This entry was published on May 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm. It’s filed under Cheap Eats and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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