While most of my blog posts are fairly photography based, you’ll have to forgive me that on this one, it’s fairly bare (get it?!). But Bunyadi has a no photography rule, and when you realise why, you’ll be glad….
When we got sent the link to The Bunyadi, it was initially sent as a joke. We, however, were intrigued.
‘A naked restaurant?!’
Yep, thats right.
Based near Elephant & Castle, it is not what you expect when you rock up. It essentially looks like a pub, with slightly dodgy blacked out windows, and next to a corner shop.
I have to give some pretext to this. We were drunk. Very drunk. The bravado we had had when we initially booked and paid our deposit had worn thin and the idea of laying ourselves bare in a room full of naked strangers suddenly seemed daunting. After a few cocktails, and swigging a bottle of Oyster Bay en route (does it make it more classy for being Oyster Bay? probably not….), we had arrived.
The outside did not reflect the inside. With a relaxed vibe and candles everywhere, it was just the right level of dimly lit. There was a mic of people in the bar- some clothed, some robed and some starkers. The atmosphere (thankfull) felt not at all seedy, with a mix of ages and sexes sat relaxing in the calm atmopshere. We sat down and awaited further instruction.
We were collected not long after by a waitress, who gave us the key to a locker. We were given our privacy whist we locked up our clothes and belongings- there is no phones allowed here. Shoes are a no go too, replaced with hotel style slippers. I was comfy- it felt like room service in a spa with lots of other people… but I wasn’t yet naked.
Returning to the bar, we sat down and ordered another drink.
It was time.
Undoing my belt I shimmied off the gown until about midway. It was off, but it was close. Looking around I had to giggle, here we were in a room full of strangers, butt naked.
We sparked up a chat with the couple next to us who had already dined. The conversation skipped between the experience, the food, being Vegan, London…. basically it ended up as a really normally chat with friends we had just met. It wasn’t until we walked away and my friend said
‘did you see how big his balls were?’
that we were reminded how strange it was (and for the record, I didn’t… I was continuously maintaining solid eye contact.
We were lead through to the dining experience having enjoyed a drink in the bar. Although there is a non vegan option, we had decided to fully emerge ourselves in the experience, and opted for the raw vegan menu. With only bamboo and candles, the idea is to strip away all the unnecessary and get back to your naked roots. The food was delicious, served from rustic wooden dishes and without cutlery. I was left slightly hungry admittedly, but this may have been linked to the drinking that had preceded it…
Going back into the bar, my gown was fully gone.
Striding with pride naked into the bar, i felt well and truly liberated. As someone who shys away from nudity in communal gym changing rooms, this really was beyond my comfort zone, but I was loving it.
After a few more drinks, it was sadly time to call it a night. I reluctantly put my clothes back on but kept my slippers, got home, got naked, and ate some cheesestrings at my kitchen table.
Bunyadi had been a revelation, and while I still don’t stroll around the changing rooms naked, I will certainly dine that way again.
Bunyadi has sadly now closed, but keep up to date with it’s next location here: http://www.thebunyadi.com