Hopefully you and your family had a nice Christmas break. We spent it eating a table full of steak, not your usual Christmas meal. Before that, we had a few days out in London again. This time, we popped in to visit the Rainforest Cafe for lunch as Cara likes all things animals. Alright if you’re a kid, not the best if you’re an adult.
Date Visited: 22nd December 2021
Location: 20-24 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7EU
Getting There: Serviced by the Underground, closest station is Piccadilly Circus. Also walkable from Leicester Square and Oxford Circus, and plenty of bus routes in the area.
Cost: Quite pricey for food, especially for the adult meals!
In need of an update
After Googling things to do in London City, the Rainforest Cafe appeared as something to do with the family. Before booking a table, I read through the reviews and there were quite a few unpleasant ones. As a result, we went in with open minds. Cara likes all things animal-related, especially if they’re cute. On arriving, you walk through the gift shop before heading downstairs to the restaurant area.
It started off promising, friendly greeting and only a short wait while the tables were organised. We arrived close to opening, before the main lunch rush, and there were plenty of tables seated and eating already. We were lucky enough to be seated next to the fish tank. This involved walking past the animatronic elephants and gorillas, which move and make noise every now and then. Note, for those sensitive to loud noises and flashing lights, there is a fake lightning storm every 30 minutes or so.
The decor as expected is rainforest themed, but felt quite outdated. When comparing the photos of the Rainforest Cafe in Disneyland, it felt like we were still in the late ’80s. It could do with a refresh.
Food wise, we looked at the menu and nothing really stood out. Cara opted for the kids menu pizza, drink, side and dessert. For the main menu, majority of dishes were around the £20 mark, which even for London standards is fairly pricey. Although I wasn’t expecting anything Michelin-star, the £20 steak sandwich was a little disappointing. The bread wasn’t toasted properly, and the horseradish was too overpowering, so much so that I couldn’t taste much else after the first few bites. Cara only ate half her pizza which was quite doughy.
Service wise, we were attended to quickly and the food arrived promptly. The starters of fried cheese sticks actually arrived before the drinks did! Service was friendly so thumbs up from us. I think if we could do-over, we would probably eat at a different establishment first, and then head to the cafe for a drink or small snack for the overall ‘rainforest’ experience. There’s plenty of other decent food choices close by.
Before heading out, Cara did the obligatory roam around the gift store and picked out a couple of plastic frog toys for 60p each. The animatronic crocodile seemed to be broken as it didn’t move (not sure if it is supposed to when it makes a noise). I think for us it’ll be a once in a lifetime type experience, rather than a regular occurrence.
Burn Time: 3 out of 5 – Spent the usual meal time here, nothing out of the ordinary.
Value: 2 out of 5 – For the quality of food at those prices, expected a little better. We’ve been to other restaurants that have to churn food out for kids and adults where it felt like proper dining (e.g. Playmobil was tasty).
Overall: 3 out of 5 – Suited to younger kids, but probably above the age of 3 as the loud noise and lights might scare them. Cara enjoyed it so we’re given it 3 stars, but if it was just me going for whatever reason, it’d be more towards the 1 range.
If you’ve had a different experience at the Rainforest Cafe, London, please let me know in the comments below!