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316 Queensbridge Road
Hackney, E8 3NH
+44 (0) 207 249 6727

Closest station: Dalston Kingsland

Opening times:
Monday – Saturday: 12pm-11pm
Sunday: 12pm-10.30pm

Egyptian-style restaurant in Hackney

Off the corner of Queensbridge Road in Hackney, amidst cookie-cutter houses, I see a building drastically different. Adorned with Egyptian sculptures and the kind of art you see inside the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun, LMNT restaurant grabs my attention at first sight.

In 2000, chef Peter Ilic took over the Duke of Richmond, an old rundown pub that took 18 months to renovate. The result was LMNT, a venue with unusual décor, innovative food and a welcoming atmosphere.

Sphinx me up

Stepping into LMNT feels like walking onto the set of an Indiana Jones film. Modern stylish designs, suave interiors and formal dining areas are alien to this restaurant. Instead, LMNT's over-the-top ambience offers you an exotic dining experience.

A huge part of me wants to laugh out at the quirkiness of it all. I see a giant sphinx in all its grandeur, with a fireplace between its legs.

There is a giant Greek mask dominating one wall. There are tables in every nook and corner, including a table set for four inside a gigantic urn, straight out of The Arabian Nights.

Merging of cultures

The atmosphere is friendly inside, and the candlelit tables add an intimate feel to the Egyptian-Roman-Greek themed restaurant.

But before you think it is only a merger of these three styles, you see a huge fresco on one side of the wall that looks like it has been taken out of the French Loire Valley.

There are balconies and raised opera-style tables at the top of a spindly staircase. The restaurant is painted in rich blue, gold and bronze; its walls are decorated with hieroglyphics and zodiac signs.

A trip to the bathroom reveals pornographic art of the most imaginative kind. If that's not your cup of tea, then consider yourself warned.

Dine like Cleopatra

The menu is short and sweet, with prices starting from £3.75 for starters and £9.75 for main courses. The starters include fish cakes, goat cheese tart, and venison sausages while mains offer dishes like roast cod fillet and baked polenta pie.

LMNT also has their signature cocktails, complete with quirky names like 'Bleeding Cleopatra', 'Egyptian Orgy', 'Perpetual Sphinx' and 'Sahara on the Snow.'

Situated in the exotic underbelly of east London, with its eccentric dining area and affordable prices, LMNT is a place to sit and dine in a style that would make Cleopatra proud.

Preethi Ramamoorthy