If you expect your food to be au naturel, it’s only fair you are too—or so The Bunyadi, a naked restaurant in London, seems to believe. The diner, which was announced on April 19, is already racking up staggering wait lists and it’s not the only one that believes bare is better. In Melbourne and Tokyo too, pop-up restaurants offering a similar naked dining experience have appeared in the last month.
London’s The Bunyadi (Hindi for foundation) keeps its message minimal: “This summer, experience liberation”, it encourages guests. With 46,000 ticket applications already in, liberation is clearly something Londoners are willing to spend a hefty £69/₹6,600 for. The establishment has a stripped-down approach to dining that extends to modern technology too. Customers are asked to leave their cell phones at the door along with the clothes on their back, before being seated at candle-lit tables shielded by bamboo screens. In keeping with the theme, the five-course meal is mostly raw, natural, and unprocessed, and served in earthenware with edible cutlery. The experience comes with a gown and slippers, should you wish to cover up at any point.
Inspired by the London restaurant, radio hosts Jo Stanley and Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann organised a clothing-optional experience at a Melbourne restaurant called The Noble Experiment in May 2016. They first circulated the idea on their morning talk show, and decided to go ahead when they got an overwhelming response. The hosts put the evening’s emphasis on having positive attitudes about the human body and accepting all body types. The guests were of all sizes and shapes, including a pregnant woman and one in remission from cancer.
At the other end of the spectrum is Tokyo’s The Amrita, which is Sanskrit for immortality. (Indian names seem surprisingly popular with the nudist crowd.) The Japanese establishment’s approach is far more restrictive. Those with tattoos are disallowed; so is anybody above 60 years of age. Most alarming on its list of pre-requisites is that diners be no more than 15kg over their ideal body weight (BMI is calculated at the door).
The Amrita will be open for a weekend from July 29-31 and offers an organic Japanese meal for upwards of ¥14,000 (₹9,000), served by male waiters in g-strings. The diners are provided with paper underwear.
Fabiola Monteiro was formerly a member of National Geographic Traveller India's digital team. Since then, her words have featured in The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Roads & Kingdoms, The Goya Journal, and Condé Nast Traveller India. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro and is on Instagram @fabiolamonteiro.