I want steak … I want chicken … I want rare … no no medium.
My daughter and I wanted a bite to eat after our Harry Potter experience and went next door to a restaurant recommended by a good friend. In fact, my friend is a VIP member there, so gave me a lend of his membership card. “Try it” he said, “It’ll be a nice experience for you”.
I showed the strange card at the main door, skipping the rather large queue, and was ushered to the front of the queue. I like that card!
The doorman guided us into the main foyer, which considering the place was very small, and decorated in old English style. Hmm, should I worry? Is my daughter really old enough for such an establishment? Anyway, the doorman started to tell haunted stories and then left.
Seconds after leaving the lights started to flicker, reflections appeared in the mirrors and suddenly the ceiling started to move down and spikes came out. WTF! I hadn’t even eaten or paid yet, and they were already getting rid of us!? Within a few more seconds the drama all stopped and the various fixtures moved back into position, and a secret door opened welcoming us to “Jekyll & Hyde“.
This was not your usual restaurant and it was obviously based on the famous characters Jekyll & Hyde. If you are not familiar with these “two” guys, then I can tell you that it evolves around split personality, which other famous movie villains have shared with the audience; Gollum had it, Dr Henry Jekyll had it, Sybil has it and I honestly believe that Jack (from the Shining) had these traits too.
According to the Jekyll & Hyde web site; “it’s a haunted restaurant, bar and social club for eccentric explorers and mad scientists – where guests eat, drink and socialise among the unusual and bizarre” – right next to Guy Fieri‘s restaurant in Times Square.
I can honestly say that this was the strangest eatery I had visited in decades and it was truly a scary experience. As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by all kind of creepy crawlers on display, skulls in various stages of decay, moving objects and great English decor from the 1880’s style.
Plenty of staff to greet you and they were all dressed in either lovely costumes or somewhat strange (a little spooky) costumes; and a friendly gentleman dressed as a doctor showed us to our table.
A few minutes into our experience, and after having ordered food, I felt something kick my shin. It was my daughter who was staring at me with a stiff gaze, a little tense and pointing with her eyes. Crickey! The eyes in the painting was moving, staring at us, and the table lamp light was flickering. A loud noise erupted and the lower part of the restaurant was suddenly filled with a staff performing some scenes from the Jekyll & Hyde story. Most of the wall pictures were moving, sculptures / statues started to talk and a giant Pharaoh’s head was talking to us. What was in my drink?
This went on for the duration of the visit, and all the patrons had a blast. The food wasn’t fantastic and it would necessarily persuade me to go back, but the atmosphere, decor and staff interaction was top class.
Just before we left, we decided to go to the restrooms before the journey home. The entrance to the restroom was in the fireplace, of course, and as the door closed behind us we were ‘trapped’ in a corridor full of bookshelves, with no visible doors to the restrooms. I guess we slightly panicked and tried to find the exit again, when I suddenly spotted a line of light from underneath one bookshelf. It was hidden doors!
We left the place with mixed emotions. My daughter felt like a criminal because we had used my friend’s VIP card to gain access and get good treatment, we were still wondering what had just happened in the restaurant and at the same time discussing how Voldemort evolved from snake to evil fecker.
I can highly recommend visiting Jekyll & Hyde, even with kids, but be prepared to wait in line outside … unless you have a VIP card 🙂