Ever since I returned back from my trip to London last weekend, I haven’t been able to stop raving about one unique concept in particular. The concept is Bustronome: fine dining on a double decker bus that drives around London and all it’s famous hotspots for two hours 45 minutes.
Yes, you heard right. You dine as you drive (well, the bus driver drives). You are treated to a six course fine dining experience complete with wine, exploring the sights of London as you go.
Honestly, I can’t stop talking about it to my friends and family, and then I saw it pop up on Celebs Go Dating last night and I was like “Thats the bus I’m talking about!”. I fear I’m becoming a broken record!
It really was the highlight of my trip, and I have been to London copious amounts of times before. I’m no newbie who needs to go on a bus tour. But this concept just blew my mind.
For those who read What Emma Did regularly, or follow me on Instagram, you know I review restaurants a lot. I’m always looking for that wow factor or stand out moment, and it rarely happens when you dine at a regular restaurant. This experience was just so much fun from start to finish!
Lets explore a little more about the experience. Bear in mind, I visited last week so it’s the Summer 2019 menu I’m about to share, where as they will possibly soon be launching their new October menu (which I’m betting will be fabulous).
What is Bustronome London?
Bustronome launched in London after it’s Paris launch, serving passengers afternoon tea and dinner as they are driven past some of the capital’s most famous landmarks.
It starts its journey from Victoria Embankment, travelling east as it heads over Tower Bridge and west to Kensington, driving past many iconic sites in between, like the Walkie Talkie building and the Gherkin.
The black and gold bus parks up at Victoria Embankment, just outside of Embankment tube station at its riverfront stop, where you head up to the top-deck ‘dining room’.
You’ll find there is a clever set up in place where all wine glasses and water bottles stay in safe while the bus drives round, so you don’t need to worry about wobbling glasses. When you open the menu on the table up, you also find it reveals a map of the route. Then, you have an audio pen, in which you can hold it to your ear for commentary in one of nine languages.
We started to use this, then got too wrapped up in our wine and courses, while constantly gawping out of the window.
The top deck accommodates 38 diners in table configurations of two to eight, and has a modern wood-panelled floor and soft comfy seats in a neutral colour scheme.
The Summer Menu
You can let the team know your dietary requirements, and request vegan/vegetarian menus if needed. We both had the main menu, which looks a little like this:
We were served some green olive tapenade bruschetta to go with our welcoming drink – a glass of champagne – as we sat down and got settled.
Here is the rest of the menu:
The crab dish which came out second was possibly one of the best, as I adore crab and was super happy to see this appear. It came in a beautifully presented stack, and was full of tasty crab meat.
Sometimes, with fine dining, you can have the nicest of ingredients but the smallest portion. This was actually really dense, so trust me when I say there was more than enough crab packed into this dish.
The crispy roll with goats cheese was also a huge hit for me, basically because I love goats cheese! None of the dishes let me down, which is unusual for a six course dining experience – there is usually always one that is a little bit more underrated than the others.
What I loved is that the waiters were dressed so smart, and served up each dish with an description of what they were serving. The menu is there to check beforehand, but after a wine or two, it’s easy to forget a) what course you are actually on, and b) what dishes are being served.
They were super helpful throughout the entire trip. At one point, the air conditioning got way too cold for me. I just let them know and they turned it right down, checking with the rest of the travellers (or diners, which ever word suits best!) if it was OK for them, too.
As you can see from the photos, each dish was presented perfectly. As the sun disappeared and we drove around at night, the bus suddenly felt all romantic, while music played and we could browse the glistening skyline of London while sipping our champagne.
As with everything I review, I try to think of the downsides, just so I can prepare people properly. I thought the toilet situation might be a downside, but it actually impressed me. It was a beautifully kitted out mini bathroom set up (toilet, wash basin etc) that didn’t cause any problems at all.
Perhaps traffic could be a downfall on some routes, however, we didn’t experience any problems on our particular trip.
Bustronome London costs: (as per August 2019)
£105 : Menu without drink
£95 before service charge
£135 : Menu with wine pairing, including :
£122 before service charge
1 glass of Champagne, 2 glasses of wine, 50cl mineral water (still or sparkling), coffee or tea
£150 : Menu with wine pairing, including :
£136 before service charge
1 glass of Champagne, 4 glasses of wine, 50cl mineral water (still or sparkling), coffee or tea
A huge thank you to the team for looking after us. It was genuinely a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to all (if I haven’t already!)