Enter the world of Twin Peaks at this spooky London diner
The Owls Are Not What They Seem 11 photo of FBI Agent by Paul Choy

The Owls Are Not What They Seem – an immersive, Twin Peaks themed pop-up dining experience – opened at the end of August in a secret location in London, and due to popular demand has been extended until 21 November.

We went along hoping for a damn fine cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie, and very much hoping not to have an encounter with BOB…

Entering the extraordinary Lynchian town of Double Pineview – a place imagined and built by Lemonade & Laughing Gas and Blanch & Shock – is an immediately surreal experience. We were greeted at the entrance by the event’s answer to bad-boy Leo Johnson, menacingly wielding a golf club, and taken to a police desk.

Our fingerprints were taken by a dead ringer for Deputy Sheriff Andy, and we were led through to the diner – Wanda’s, an appealingly close approximation of the show’s 50s style Double R Diner, and presided over by the Log Lady.

Twin Peaks fans will notice early on that names have subtly been changed – Agent Dale Cooper is called Don, One Eyed Jacks becomes Black Jacks, and Laura Palmer is simply ‘The Dead Girl’.

Greeted by a friendly waitress, and given a cup of very boozy coffee, we went to join a table. Tables are set for six people, so don’t expect a quiet, romantic date for two – especially not when the town’s local dealer pops by tapping his nose and asking if you want something a little extra with dinner, or Agent Cooper starts interrogating you as to your whereabouts on the evening of the murder.

The Owls Are Not What They Seem photo 9 waitresses by Paul Choy

Character interaction is part of the experience, and with only 40 people there isn’t much space to hide – but it also provides some of the most surreal and memorable moments of the evening, as does wandering around the themed spaces to explore.

Discussing relationship issues with the local psychiatrist in his Hawaiian-themed, incense-scented caravan isn’t how I’d usually expect to spend the break between my starter and main course, but provided an entertaining diversion.

The menu, as you’d expect, is based around diner fare with a Twin Peaks twist, starting with Donuts and Coffee – a beetroot and chipotle dip with mushroom and black garlic ‘coffee’, with Douglas Fir needle dusted ring donuts.

After the intensely savoury starter, we went to explore some of the themed rooms and spaces – there’s Audrey playing cards with guests behind a closed bedroom door, and here’s an orchid room where we half expected to find a diary.

You can even go to see the body of The Dead Girl if you wish, wrapped in plastic on a slab in the morgue – and there can’t be many restaurants that offer that experience.

You can take a tour of the jail – though be careful not to find yourself behind bars.

There’s a tiny room crammed with all kinds of owls – but are they what they seem?

Back to the main course in the diner, which was thick-cut, oak smoked streaky bacon, glazed with maple syrup, with slow-poached eggs, home fries and greens.

The Owls Are Not What They Seem cherry pie and damn fine cup of coffee

Dessert, of course, could only be one thing – homemade cherry pie, with Cherry wood ice cream.

Cocktails, available from Blackjacks bar, helped the evening along nicely – a Sour Cherry with grapefruit vodka, fresh grapefruit, cherry liqueur, lemon and soda was very good, as was Don’s Old Fashioned, and sticking with the Lynchian theme there was also a Blue Velvet Cooler.

The Owls Are Not What They Seem 11 photo of FBI Agent by Paul Choy

After dinner, we were called to a town meeting by Agent Cooper, who wanted to speak to everyone about The Dead Girl’s murder. Led through a disorienting labyrinth of winding spiral stairs, plush curtains and plastic sheeting, the meeting was suitably surreal, and without giving too much away, culminated in us wearing owl masks and discovering the Red Room with its dazzling black and white zig zag floor.

You are free to explore after dinner, or enjoy a drink in the bar and watch the cabaret entertainment.

The Owls Are Not What They Seem is a treat for any Twin Peaks fan. Catch it until 21 Nov at a secret location in London – which may be whispered to you in your dreams by a giant, or may be revealed by email, we couldn’t possibly say.

Discover more London events on Facebook and Twitter.

Official photos by Paul Choy.