Creativity Or Chaos: 35+ Times Restaurants Took Serving To Absurd Heights

By Pavneet L January 5, 2024

Are you ready to flip your perspective on meals? Usually, restaurants and chefs have a unique style of serving to make dishes look more presentable to the guests. Aesthetics are key even in the culinary world.

Now, imagine a situation where the chefs break the norm by ditching the usual serving style and turning the culinary world upside down—literally! We’re about to dive into a world where meals aren’t just served. Instead, they’re presented with a side of shock and awe!

Think desserts hanging from the ceiling and savory delights chilling in weird containers. Get ready for meals that defy gravity and taste buds and make you do a double take. Hold onto your napkins – we’re about to indulge in a plateful of culinary absurdities.

Constructive lunch

We have never noticed it before, but there seems to be a correlation between food and construction tools. From bread served on bricks to sauces being presented on shovels, we can’t help but wonder how this strange relationship evolved and how far it’s willing to go!

Image Courtesy: Reddit/frozzyfroz0404

Eating food placed on a shovel must be quite the sport because, with one wrong move, your hopefully tasty meal could end up on the floor. Also, can you imagine coming to a restaurant after a long day of work on a construction site only to encounter more shovels?

Butter on the rock

The waiting game at restaurants can sometimes leave you feeling ravenous, which is where those complimentary dishes come in. Let’s be real; some warm bread with a smear of butter is a fantastic choice here. But hold up, these guys serve the butter on a rock.

Image Courtesy: Reddit/siroj00

Yes, a rock. No one wants a slippery, melted butter situation on their hands. Unless the rock is stored in cold storage, the melting butter can soon become a hot mess. And good luck with passing that butter around the table!

Farm-to-table with a twist

Restaurants that offer farm-to-table food are all the rage and with good reason. Not only are you assured of healthy, organic meals, but the food is also quite flavourful and tasty because everything is fresh. However, not everyone can afford to do it.

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Though we doubt this was the approach these guys were going for, it seemed like a good idea to poke some fun at this serving style. Who serves cheesecake in a plant pot? We’d certainly look at the waiter funny. That little shovel is so cute, though!

Lettuce served in a head

The dining experience is a symphony of anticipation and delight. Imagine you walked into a restaurant and ordered a meal with lettuce. The moment right before your meal arrives, there is that initial rush of excitement as you anticipate satisfying your cravings, and then boom! Your food arrives, and it’s like a grand show.

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The menu sets the stage, teasing with just enough information about the dish to pique your interest. And when it finally shows up, it’s exactly what they promised: a whole head of lettuce with some croutons hanging around. It’s like eating your salad straight from the source. Talk about keeping it real!

Donuts on a Ferris wheel

Ferris wheels are fun. Well, at least for those who do not suffer from crippling acrophobia. If you have never been on one, trust us when we say that you are missing out on one of the world’s greatest pleasures.

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These guys probably knew that this amusement park fixture was a hoot, and that’s why they came up with this idea. Sadly, it didn’t work out for them since the person who posted these claims that once they removed a few, the wheel started spinning too fast, and all the bowls fell out!

Noodles in a cup

We know there’s such a thing as cup noodles, but you can’t surely imagine a restaurant serving noodles in a wine glass. From shrimp cocktails to decadent desserts like tiramisu, there has been a fair share of culinary creations served in glassware typically reserved for drinks.

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Recently, a certain restaurateur decided to take this concept a step further. They served noodles in a glass and placed the glass upside down on a plate. It’s like they’re setting you up for a challenge, eating noodles from a standing cup. Do you now have to eat them sideways? 

Lawn restaurant

There’s this burger place that’s all about bringing natural vibes to your meal. They are literally trying to bring the park to you because it is hard for everyone to chill out in the park nowadays. They serve their burgers on tables with grass in an effort to bring out an outdoor feel.

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One moment, you’re lost in a daydream, feeling all nostalgic, and the next, ants start crashing your lunch party! It’s like they didn’t get the memo that this picnic is humans-only! When it comes to food, we’re firm believers in healthy boundaries, so this would be a bit problematic.

Chicken in a cone

This famous family pulled pork is good to go because they spend a whole day marinating the meat and another half-day slow-cooking it just right. After that, they unleash this masterpiece right in the middle of the busiest part of town during lunch.

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They serve it up in flimsy paper cones, so when you order, you get this delicious, messy pulled pork in a leaky cup. It’s like they’re challenging you to a “how much can you spill while power-walking” contest. Next time, maybe aim for something spill-proof. We’re all in for flavor, but not on the clothes!

Bacon on a Barbie

Restaurants could slap bacon on anything, and folks would gobble it up. Bacon doesn’t need fancy clothes or a makeover to be appealing. Just the smell of it makes your taste buds go crazy. But there is a restaurant that puts bacon on Barbie. Yeah, we’re thinking of Lady Gaga’s iconic gown too!

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It’s from the same folks who brought us the wild “Cheese Blintz Babushka.” It’s like they’re on a mission to turn eating into a game of undressing a doll. They’ve got a niche audience in mind. This meal is for folks who like their food with a side of playtime!

Wonders of bacon

Oh, bacon. That smell can tempt even non-meat-eaters! Some like it crispy, others prefer it chewy – it’s like a culinary personality test. But let’s be real. As long as there’s bacon on the plate, it’s a win. That said, it’s kinda quirky to have bacon hanging from a clothesline.

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But here’s the snag: by air-drying those strips, they are losing all that juicy goodness. They’re forgetting the most crucial thing. Lesson for the future: put some toast underneath to soak up the bacon drama if you like the grease.

Meal on a shovel

More than half the time, customers return to a specific restaurant because of the interesting dishes they serve. Some restaurants have become a little too creative with their plating styles. In the restaurant world, having a unique vibe is key.

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Imagine sitting down for a meal, and they bring out something you’d usually use to shovel snow or scoop up horse stuff. Yeah, not exactly the most appetizing way to serve dinner. Maybe they should stick to plates and bowls – just a thought!

Food served on lamb jaw

Wanting a connection to your food is cool, but staring at the face of the animal you’re about to chow down on is a bit much. Even if they’ve skinned it and boiled it, most folks aren’t looking for a staring contest with their dinner.

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But there is an eatery that uses lamb cheek and tongue to serve their food, braised in a fermented, blackened banana mole, topped with veggies and wild creeping cucumbers. They serve food on the lower half of the lamb’s jaw, meaning you can count the teeth if you’d like! 

Eating off a clipboard

Everyone can get lost in their own world while having the most delicious food, and maybe that’s why this restaurant serves food on a clipboard. Sure, it’s quirky and all, but it’s like a sneaky reminder that work’s waiting for you on Monday. Surely, they do not want you to enjoy your food!

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Eating off something that screams “office vibes” might not be the best way to forget about the TPS reports looming over your head. Next time, maybe carry your own plate to be safe. At least then, you won’t feel like you’re about to get a memo with your meal!

A call from the ocean

There is an establishment that serves a prawn appetizer on a phone. This is not at all strange for people who like to stay on the phone for hours and hours. With this, you can stay connected because the restaurant itself is making that possible for you!

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While you are trying to stay away from the screen and have some quality time with friends, the phone receiver becomes a distraction. So, the best you can do is talk about the strange plating idea and reminisce about how boring life must have been without smartphones!

Aloes for plates

This one is one of the most insane ones on the list. How did anyone think this was a good idea? If anything, the marshmallows (yes, that’s what they are, apparently) look like disgusting worms on a plant! Just terrible.

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You know what would be even more ridiculous? If this was an actual meal that you had to pay for. Why can’t people just serve food on real plates? What happened to that idea? That system works, and as tech bros say, if the system works, it works.

Taco in a shot glass

Ah, celebrations! Weddings, anniversaries, sweet 16s – all big deals, and they’re meant to be unforgettable, with loads of grub, drinks, and good times. Just don’t plate up people’s food in wacky ways. A taco in a glass that screams ‘party’ is fine but impractical. 

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Where would you serve the drinks? On plates? That would actually be more stupid. Trust us; swapping those shot glasses for regular plates would save a lot of taco casualties. Fewer broken glasses and happier taco-eating guests – it’s a certified win-win!

Meal on a wooden board

By now, you have read about all the weird ways people are serving food, but this one is even weirder and may require some extra napkins. Imagine a meal of grilled chicken on a cozy bed of rice and beans, all drizzled with the special house sauce on a wooden board.

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Serving food on boards isn’t new, but using ones with cracks to serve saucy stuff is! You’ll be literally eating on the edge. It is a risky game of guessing if the sauce will spill or not. Stick to plates that keep the food where it belongs – on the table, not our laps!

Little too eggstreme

There is a restaurant that has cracked the code on how to get folks talking about their brekkie. Instead of little bowls, sauces and dips are coming at ya from an egg carton. Yep, the toast’s getting cozy right on the paper placemat while the coffee gets the royal treatment on a saucer!

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It’s like they’re playing “breakfast Jenga” with the tableware. In North America, there are places that are all about that breakfast life. However, instead of putting customers through this ordeal, why not just focus on making their experience a little more pleasant by ensuring their food isn’t at risk of spilling?

Plate and toothpick in one

Remember when we saw food served on a lamb’s jaw? Well, our next entry is even more ridiculous if you can believe it. Someone thought it would be a good idea to serve people on what looks like the horns of a deer.

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As such, we rendered a guess that this must be some kind of venison. With this ‘plate,’ you have a weapon and a toothpick. So, depending on how you feel, you can either use it to clean your teeth after eating or stab the thieves who tried to pass this off as food!

Food on a license plate

There’s this burger joint owner in the States who’s a real scavenger. They went all industrial and crafty, and voila! They made “License Plates.” Yep, actual license plates turned into burger holders! They probably spent more time sanitizing those plates than some folks spend cooking dinner!

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This was a DIY project unlike any other. Lots of spots are ditching plastic for cheaper, eco-friendlier options. But finding those alternatives can be a wild ride. But hey, if it works and saves some cash, dine off a piece of your car. Just remember, it’s for burgers, not registration!

Snack in a bucket

Hitting up a country western restaurant is like stepping into a cowboy movie with your pals. They’ve got all those messy, dreamy foods you wished you could munch on as a kid, like those tasty BBQ beef ribs or epic piles of nachos. 

Image Courtesy: Reddit/Mezzoforte24

But this particular joint serves chips in a rusty bucket! Yep, talk about going for that authentic look. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, let’s make you feel like you’re out in the dusty desert.” But watch out, there’s a chance you might snag a side of tetanus with those chips!

Food on bricks

There’s a fine line between smart savings and plain odd choices. Take this one restaurant, for example. They’ve hit a new level by using bricks as plates! It’s like the design team said, “Let’s serve food on something that could also double as a house foundation!”

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They balance messy food on this tiny, non-mess-friendly board. It’s like playing a game of food, Jenga! We never thought we’d have to say this but stick to plates that don’t double as construction materials. Saving is smart but not at the expense of people’s health.

Upside-down cocktail

When chefs invented new dishes, they used to focus on making them taste amazing. But lately, it’s like they’ve turned into magicians, caring more about the show than the meal. Cocktails and desserts aren’t spared either – they’re part of this whole “look at me!” trend.

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Now some restaurants are serving cocktails in a manner that’s just asking for a table mess and turning customers into, well, not-so-wise folks. Maybe it’s time for food to steal back the spotlight and leave the table tricks to magicians!

Eating out of a trough

Imagine being invited to a fancy lunch with the big bosses. Everything from how you sit to what you eat could make or break your career. For newbies to business lunches, picking a meal that won’t turn you into an embarrassment is key.

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Imagine that you guys walk into a restaurant where food is served in personal-sized troughs! Troughs are cool for animals and may be a fun gig for entertaining kids, but at a place with fancy white tablecloths, it’s not such a good idea. It’s as out of place as a chicken at a black-tie event!

Schooner glass for food

Having a bunch of appetizers for everyone to dig into is always a good plan. But the key to shared starters is making sure everyone can actually reach the food and sauces. Sadly, some places go to extreme heights (lows?) and place the sauces at the very bottom.

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They put the sauces at the bottom of a schooner glass, then stack sliders on top. It’s like they’re playing hide-and-seek with the condiments! Sure, it’s a space-saving, Instagram-ready move, but using a beer glass for shared appetizers is not the brightest idea.

Food in wine bottles

Instead of tossing out those empty wine and beer bottles, some restaurant owners have decided to give them new jobs by turning them into fancy serving dishes! But hold your glass! Turns out, those bottlenecks aren’t much help. Sure, they’re good for pouring drinks and getting fingers stuck in.

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But besides that, they just take up space. Maybe next time, let’s skip the bottleneck for the sake of everyone’s fingers and go for something more plate-shaped. We get the sentiment, but this may not be the best way to cut down on waste.

The tower of meat

You must have seen those massive meals on shows like “Man Vs. Food”. They are like food challenges on steroids, packed with more fat and calories than your average feast. But it’s not all fun and games. Finishing those beasts could potentially lead to heart attacks!

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This restaurant serves these 18-inch-tall sandwich towers on teeny, tiny 6-inch plates! It’s like trying to fit an elephant into a shoebox! If you want to escape without wearing your meal, you’d better start eating from the top down. Talk about a meaty skyscraper with a side of food acrobatics!

Coffee in a plastic bag

Ah, the morning rush – a few minutes late, and suddenly the whole day’s out of whack. And when it comes to grabbing coffee on the go, it’s like a race against time. If a cafe’s line is shorter than a giraffe in a limbo contest, there’s probably a reason!

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They serve your coffee in a plastic sandwich bag. Yep, forget cups; we’re going with bagged beverages! It’s not exactly everyone’s idea of sipping a morning brew, but maybe let’s stick to cups and mugs – they’re easier to drink from and way less crinkly!

Dessert in a spoon

Dessert, oh, sweet dessert. The highlight of every meal. But here’s the thing: it comes last, and sometimes, even the sweetest tooth hits its limit. Enter this one restaurant’s genius idea – the one-spoonful dessert. Yep, it’s just one teensy spoonful!

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It probably costs more than your main meal. And here’s the dessert rulebook: if you order this, you better take at least one glorious spoonful directly from the spoon. Anything less is like a dessert injustice! Maybe next time, let’s aim for dessert with a bit more spoonful and a bit less wallet-full!

Basket case

When it comes to running a restaurant, being creative is a must. You gotta know what your customers want and where the foodie world is headed. But sometimes, ideas get a little out there. This bread basket, for example, looks more like an artsy masterpiece!

Image Courtesy: Reddit/SwedishLenn

It’s like they’re saying, “Let’s make bread look like it’s doing a Picasso impression.” We think they kinda took the whole “artisanal” thing a bit too far. But it might work if they serve it next to a bowl of fresh bird’s nest soup!

Broom for food

The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster for small businesses, especially restaurants. With all the ups and downs, they’ve had to tighten their belts and get creative. But some of the changes they’ve made might leave you scratching your head, especially when you’re out for a meal.

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You sit down, excited for a nice meal and then there it is—a beautiful dish is chilling on what seems to be broom bristles! It’s like they ran out of side plates. Next time, let’s save the broom for the floors and serve bread on actual plates.

Dinner on the playing blocks

When a restaurant gets a makeover, it’s not just about looking cool. It’s also about serving food that wows and creating a vibe that clicks with the crowd. But these guys chose to go with food that’s going to end up everywhere but your mouth by serving meals on Lego plates!

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Yep, kids playing with their dinner…literally! Who knows? The mess might turn into a colorful, blocky masterpiece! Let’s just hope the next big thing isn’t stepping on leftover food blocks! We only have one question. Do you build the plates yourself, or does the staff do it?

Serving inside an edible bowl

Restaurants dream of ditching the dishwashing hustle. Tim Hortons even started serving soups in bread bowls! But it seems other places are getting even more creative. Just look at this meal served in a hollowed-out cabbage! It’s like eating your dinner out of a veggie bowl.

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That definitely sounded better in theory than in practice. Customers must think to themselves, “I ordered dinner, not a salad with a side of confusion!” Guys, let veggies remain as a meal’s best friend, not ‘its ‘trendy, nouveau’ serving bowls!

Caviar on a hand

Imagine being at a fancy shindig with all swanky decor stuff on display and a sparkly chandelier gleaming on the ceiling. You hear someone say oysters are best when they’re fresh, straight out of their shell. In response, another says that caviar is apparently top-notch when you eat it off the back of your hand!

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You’re there, having a chat, savoring the caviar, and suddenly, you’re trapped in a never-ending conversation! Now you’re stuck with caviar on your hand until you can ninja your way to the bathroom. Next time, stick to crackers – they’re less chatty and won’t leave evidence on your hands!

Tired pizza

There’s this restaurant that serves pizza on a tire. Yep, like an actual tire you would find on a car. We have seen tires being used as makeshift furniture in the form of tables, and some people have even found a way of repurposing them as flower pots, but this is new.

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Sure, it might retain heat like a pro, but when it comes to taste, pepperoni with a side of rubber is not exactly what you signed up for. Sometimes, the novelty of a new place can lead to unexpected discoveries. Would you eat pizza served on a tire?

Taco in the open

If you remember our previous slide about tacos in a glass, then this is something related to tacos but out in the open. Taco in a glass had a certain flair to it, but these new ones are too vulnerable. 

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They’re missing their guacamole sidekick and, dare we say, a little pizzazz! It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, where’s the fiesta?” These guys should reunite these tacos with their avocado amigo. After all, tacos without guac are like a party without music!

Dog dish used for plating

Restaurants getting creative with their serving styles is like a foodie fashion show! Seafood on a clamshell plate, pub grub in fancy glasses, the ideas are so random! For example, this joint serves hot dogs and fries in a dog dish!

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Truth be told, some folks might find it more clever than comfortable even though, to us, it feels like trying to wear shoes on your hands! Keep the dog dishes for out furry pals and stick to plates for the rest of us. After all, hot dogs are for eating, not fetching!

Caesar salad

Restaurants are finally getting the hang of veggie options, but sometimes, they get a little too creative. Take this Caesar salad, for example. It’s like they wanted to make a veggie masterpiece and ended up with a salad on sticks!

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The lettuce looks like it’s skewered and drizzled with dressing, ready for a veggie barbecue while the poor croutons play hide-and-seek under the salad. It’s like they were trying to make veggies for an art exhibit. Next, they’ll have broccoli pretending to be palm trees!

Steak on a weapon 

Imagine getting your favorite steak meal on a huge cleaver. In restaurants, all sorts of talks happen, from friendly to awful ones. But there is something about handing people food on potential weapons that feels like a recipe for disaster.  

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It’s like they’re saying, “Here’s your steak and a weapon. Good luck out there!” Guess they’re going for a unique dining experience, but let’s hope nobody takes the phrase “food fight” too seriously! This is a reminder to always choose your dinner partner very carefully!

Green pea soup with sausage 

In Germany, there is a popular dish called “Grüne Erbsensuppe mit Bockwurst,” which translates to green pea soup with sausage. This classic German dish combines a flavorful, vibrant green pea soup with slices of Bockwurst, a type of German sausage made from finely ground pork and spices. 

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The plot twist comes in the plating of the dish because the sausage is put directly into the soup. But fear not, it’s not a sausage pool party! You can scoop that sausage out and munch on it solo. It’s like the ultimate soup dipper with a side of sausage surprise!

Coconut shrimp in a coconut

Cooking is an art, and a big part where this is evident is the process of serving. Most respectable restaurants ensure that meals are presented in the most aesthetic way possible. Granted, sometimes that means the portions are little, but it’s the price you pay for aesthetics!

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That said, the owners of this place certainly don’t give too much thought to that side of things because how can you pass this off as a presentable meal? If the coconut looked less bruised, then this coconut and shrimp could be counted as a good meal.