12 October 2014

I like to think that I'm quite an adventurous foodie and that I'd try anything once, but even I was shaking in my boots a little bit having looked at the menu of Archipelago. Boasting various exotic meats including crocodile, kangaroo, zebra and others, it's definitely not for the faint-hearted. But as I had read a strew of reviews on Zomato singing its praises, and with a generous voucher from Zomato burning my pocket, I knew it was a sign that I should give it a go.

The restaurant looks like somewhere that might offer to give you a palm reading or figure out your life through tarot cards - the place is filled to the brim with eclectic decor and original props. It was a slightly strange atmosphere to be in at lunchtime, but interesting nonetheless.

Now I have to admit from the word go, neither I nor E were particularly adventurous with our choices. It was a Monday lunchtime, there was no dutch courage involved, and we were heading back to work afterwards - simply not the ideal mood or time to be braving kangaroo skewers, let alone bug salads!

Having said that, I did try crocodile and bison so at least that's something...

We started with a couple of their mini slider/hot dog selections, the slider being crocodile and the hot dog a standard pork one. The hot dog was good, but the menu said it had a curried flavour and that didn't really come through. The crocodile kind of tasted like... potato croquette? It was fried, and I'm not sure what else was in there but it wasn't a particularly meaty slider.

Slightly underwhelmed, we carried on to our mains - salmon for E, bison minute steak for me. E liked the salmon, and his side dish of cream potatoes was good but nothing special. My steak was very flavourful which I really enjoyed - the meat itself felt a little dry, but I'm guessing that is the nature of bison meat. The smoked chips were excellent - the smoky flavour is very original and it went well with the steak.

We didn't have a lot of time left, but after seeing the interesting dessert menu we had to give it a try - so, in a bit of a rush, E chose the Pharoah's Treasure and I went for the Mediaeval Hive.

It honestly pains me to write badly about restaurants as I know how much work goes into it all, but these desserts were just... really, really not good. E's soufflĂ© was dry, and it came with a sauce that had bits of black olive in it. I know this place is all about the novelty of exotic cooking and unusual dishes, and in some cases it works, but this was just so strange - maybe it appeals to others, but to us it was literally dry bits of chocolate with pieces of olive. My dessert was marginally better, but the ice cream was almost powdery in texture, I didn't understand the purpose of the butter powder at all (the white sutff), and the only thing that made it slightly better was the salted caramel sauce. 

Although the experience wasn't all bad (our mains were pretty good, and the waiter and waitress serving us were so lovely), I feel like we missed out as it clearly has impressed so many others - just look at all the rave reviews! But as with all the reviews I write, it's a completely subjective opinion and there are many who seem to love Archipelago so you might too - Alexandra of Zomato and loves it and I know she has great taste in food. I do also think that it's probably a much better place to go to for dinner - it hasn't won Best for Romance & Best Ambience in the OpenTable Awards for nothing!

Out of curiosity, what's the weirdest food you've ever tried?

You can read more details about Archipelago on Zomato


  1. such a great review! i have yet to muster the courage to try anything weird, but i had rabbit skewers once and i felt a little guilty about it :/ for some people, it's not a weird thing to eat, at all!

  2. You say you feel guilty, well that just shows you are a nice person. I really appreciate that you are honest in these- I know you're not a 'professional reviewer' (As in it's not your career' but none of us are either so it's really good to know what is worth spending money on or what to miss. So basically, thanks for being honest, it just shows I can trust your blog (that sounds so odd in text hahahah). Anyway love the blog!

  3. There used to be a restaurant in Norfolk close to where I lived called Taste of Oz that served crocodile and kangaroo so I've tried both. I wasn't particularly fussed by either but it was fun to try something different.

    Shame you were a bit let down, always such a shame when that happens when you've read so many great reviews.

    Seriously impressed you found time to eat all that in a lunch hour! Impressive!

    Chloe x

  4. Wow I haven't been as adventurous as you, the most I have tried is frogs, which isn't that out of this world. Shame that the desserts were not that great. x

  5. I tried crocodile and kangaroo as well as wallaby in Australia! Crocodile tastes like fishy chicken! The texture is kind of like a meaty fish, a bit like monk fish. Kangaroo is like a lean red meat, a bit like venison. I was interested to try this place (my husband has been)...but now I'm not sure I will. I also don't like writing negative things (did you see my review of Petrus?) as I feel mean towards the chef...he's not producing bad food on purpose! But also I genuinely don't want to send my readers somewhere I don't enjoy...there are so many better places to spend money. Hope to see you soon!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  6. Oh no, such a shame the food didn't impress you as much as you were hoping! I really appreciate your thorough reviews! xx

  7. Seriously so disappointing to be completely underwhelmed especially when you were expecting something fantastic :[ At least the pictures are pretty? I love the flower that came with your dessert haha. But I have never really tried anything that exotic...I've have bison before but that's it! Unless you count rabbit as being exotic...I don't think it is in most places but in the US no one eats it so kinda I guess?

  8. This is a beautifully written review. It is so tough to write ones where there isn't a lot of good to say isn't it? You have handled it really well.

  9. Sad when something doesn't live up to expectations :( You dealt with it very well in your review though. I had crocodile once, at a restaurant like this near my home town, and I really enjoyed it. I'm not terribly adventurous though, when I was in Cambodia some of my friends tried snake and lots of insects, but I just couldn't face it!

  10. What a shame this restaurant underwhelmed a bit in its execution, and well done for delivering an honest review! I've eaten kangaroo before (in a burger!) but seriously can't even remember what it tastes like - I guess there's a reason it's not usually on the menu. I also tried snake in Cambodia and it had quite a crispy texture and I guess tasted a little bit like unagi? And lastly, duckling in China - which, although shamefully delicious, made me feel terribly guilty...xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure


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