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The Rainforest Cafe (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of The Rainforest Cafe in West End, London

20 Shaftesbury Avenue, West End, London, W1D 7EU
Cuisine: International
Tel: 02074343111 | Email to The Rainforest Cafe | Website | Transport: Piccadilly Circus | Write review

The Rainforest Cafe Review

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Best for: waking up the child inside.

Great: rainforest atmosphere.

Rain thundered from above. It cascaded down in streams, running in rivers to the left and right of us. But above: nothing. There was not a speck of water on my coat. To my left: torrential storm. To my right: heavy rain. But in front of me, only very dry steps downwards.

Surrounding us was thick foliage – wide flat-faced leaves and jungle trees twisted around the stairs – and the noises - of birds calling and chattering to each other and the faraway sound of an elephant raising its trunk - sounded distinctly like the jungle.

You’d never guess we’d just escaped the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

The dry steps took us deep down into the undergrowth, until we emerged into a clearing. Two people, kitted out in safari gear, called us over.

“Hi, welcome to the Rainforest Café. I’ll be your safari leader for the evening.”

The Rainforest Café isn’t any old restaurant. It’s more of an experience than a restaurant. Your senses are awakened as soon as you enter through the unassuming doors, as the sounds of rainforest animals – the ca-caw from birds invisible to the eye, the trumpet of elephants, and the beating of the gorillas’ chest – compete with the smells and sights of the rainforest in all its glory. The moment I stepped into the rainforest – and a rainforest is what it undeniably is – I reverted back to my childhood, and the excitement I only remember feeling from rare trips to Disneyland as a five year old.

Ignoring my boyfriend, I looked at the safari leader in awe. Following her blindly, I listened intently when she introduced me to the elephants by name and I even reached up to touch one (before my boyfriend dragged me away and sat me down at the table).

The food became an afterthought – a pleasant afterthought, nonetheless – as I craned my neck to see all the animals that hid in the trees around us.

“I’m just going to the toilet,” I told my boyfriend.

He looked at me questioningly, “But you went a minute ago at the station.”

Pushing my chair back, I made my way towards the centre of the restaurant and a huge tropical fish tank. Two children, noses pushed up against the glass, didn’t hear me come over. Joining them, I too pushed my nose up against the glass. Tropical fish swam around, oblivious to the cacophony of noise and smells and sights around them.

“I’d love to be a fish.” I nudged the closest kid next to me. “Wouldn’t it be great? To breathe underwater?”

The kid looked at me and grimaced. “Uh, how old are you?” He nudged his friend in the back and they both ran back to their parents, only looking back at me once to poke out their tongues. But not before I’d poked out mine first.

Remembering why I was visiting the Rainforest Café, I went back to the table where my rather grumpy-looking boyfriend sat with a menu in his hand.

“I’ve decided what I want, already. Have you?”

Just then, the elephants started to move. They lifted their trunks and trumpeted to the restaurant, as loads of kids rushed over to reach out and touch the baying giants. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them, wishing upon everything that I was 20 years younger and able to join the one kid about to be told off by his Mum for swinging around the elephant’s trunk.

Grudgingly I turned my attention back to the menu and ordered my food.

The food was great: lively and interesting with rainforest-themed names, such as Lava Nachos (a pile of chilli topped tortilla chips with jalapeños, sour cream, tomato salsa and black beans which I ordered to share but pretty much scoffed on my own) and Aztec Chicken (a chargrilled chicken breast with my ultimate ingredient, goats cheese, melted on top, sat on garlicky mashed potatoes with a mushroom sauce).

But all the while I was eating, I was looking around and taking in the rainforest nirvana around me. So much so that I wanted to take a piece of the rainforest home with me. And take a piece with me I did, in the form of a stuffed zebra bought hastily in the Rainforest Café shop upstairs after our meal, much to my boyfriend’s dismay.
...read more

Claire Williams

Customer Reviews for The Rainforest Cafe

Average (based on 4 votes): 4 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Rainforest Cafe.

“I found it very good, the prices were brilliant, the effect in the restaurant was also very good, and loads of fun for us kids. The only bad thing was that the shop was a bit too expensive. Overall, though, very good. We may go there again.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Daisy White, Evesham (2 years 8 months 21 days ago)

“You cant fault the atmosphere at this restaurant. If you have kids then this is a perfect restaurant to bring them to. The whole place is kitted out with an array of cool animatronics, strobe and lighting effects, plus they have a special menu just for kids. And crayons. The service is also excellent but the prices and the quality of the food don't match the experience. Prepare to spend big as you exit through the gift shop.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The Restaurant Hunter, London (2 years 10 months 23 days ago)

“I went to the one in Tennessee and loved it. but that was a one time thing i always go to Myrtle Beach every year, and would like to see one put in there or Kentucky were i am from. thanks”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Carol, Ashland ,Ky (4 years 6 months 7 days ago)

Show all user reviews for The Rainforest Cafe

“Well, apart from being 'hijacked' on a street corner by one of their salesmen, to con us into going there, I didn't appreciate having to pay £12 to get in, then finding out i could have possibly got it for 10 from another one of their 'salesmen'. Not only did we have tickets, but we still had to wait outside for half an hour to actually get in! By the time we got in, my feet were aching and when i tried to go and sit down at a table, i was told i wasnt allowed to do so cos i didnt have a 'wristband' - whatever that meant. I assume it's because i had to pay to go into that area! What a cheek. i didn't appreciate it. The decoration of the place is done well, i'll admit. but it doesnt make up for feeling so uncomfortable. I didn't bother going to the bar... my friends bought me a drink so i didnt know how much it even cost. the music was a bit housey for me, and the crowd was lots of young school leavers mostly. Only good thing about it is that it wasnt over crowded. I wont be going back again though.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
claire, london (4 years 6 months 17 days ago)

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The Rainforest Cafe Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Friday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Saturday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm Sunday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm    

Additional Information

The Rainforest Cafe Food & Drinks

The Rainforest Cafe Food Menu

Rainforest Cafe proudly offers a varied menu of American and tropical cuisine made from the freshest ingredients.

Updated 22/03/2012

The Rainforest Cafe Hire Details

If you are looking for an unusual and "different" atmospheric Central London venue to host your next event, you should look no further! Seating for 355 guests based over two floors or up to 625 guests standing when hired exclusively, or can be part hired with their Butterfly Room and Forest Floor available for smaller events such as meetings, press/product launches, team building events, parties or private dining.

Updated 05/06/2013

Name: Butterfly Room
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 30
Notes:
Name: Forest Floor
Type: Private Room
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 150
Notes:

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Venue ID: 4885

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Loved

"We went to this Place as our Last step in London:, but it was One of the Most Heart warming experiences we ever had. The Lady especially cooked for us and it was sooo Good. She was so lovely! Thanks!!!" Which venue is this?

Hated

"Great pub very reasonable drink prices, polite staff and have gorgeous barmaid Katie who is very on the ball and helpful. Thai food is sold here and looks very nice and is excellent value for money" Which venue is this?

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