On a recent visit to London, Venetia and me decided to visit the Rainforest Café on Shaftesbury Avenue – hailed as ‘A Wild Place To Shop And Eat’ we were intrigued to see why this exciting-looking restaurant is fondly considered as a top dining destination for families.
With the perfect location to attract passing tourists and families alike, the Rainforest Café needs to be visited by everyone at least once. The window displays instantly draw you in as they are adorned with overgrown plants and incredibly real-looking wild animal figures. We decided to do the restaurant before the shop so we made our way down the stairs to the exciting sights and sounds of the rainforest. We were immediately greeted by friendly smiles asking us whether either of us had any specific food allergies and whether we were here to celebrate an occasion such as a birthday. I was immediately impressed by the attentiveness and I imagine parents would feel the same.
The entire décor has the rainforest theme running completely through it, with no exceptions. The sounds make you feel as though you have been plonked in the middle of the Amazon and the animals are so realistic it’s almost scary. What I loved about the restaurant was that it never quite let you realise that you were just in a basement in the middle of London because every now and then, something would jolt you back to the Amazon. Firstly, a Gorilla started throwing a tantrum next to us much to our amusement, then came the giant monsoon, complete with light and raging sound effects. The entire place is designed to thrill and excite.
Alongside most animals and trees was a little placard with educational snippets for children to read and learn, making the restaurant more than just a fun place to eat, but also a place to teach children about the different creatures and the rainforest as a whole. This then continued upstairs with a friendly looking tree that told us about the rate in which the rainforest is disappearing. It is the sort of environment where children can learn without realising that that’s what they’re doing. Every little thing, even down to the starry ceiling and the alligator-infested wishing pond has been carefully considered.
With reasonably priced food and a well-planned child-friendly menu, the Rainforest Café is guaranteed to accommodate any family and please any child, regardless of their interest in the rainforest – they will definitely leave with a little extra knowledge and undoubtedly the desire to learn more.