Killing Eve: Is Purple Penguin a Real Restaurant in Charing Cross?

‘Killing Eve,’ Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s mystery drama show, revolves around the obsession-fuelled dynamic between an assassin and the government official on her tail. As Villanelle, with her penchant for flamboyant killings, surfaces on MI6’s radar, Carolyn Martens recruits Eve Polastri to work under her and track down the Russian assassin. As a result, with Eve and Villanelle pitched into each others’ orbits, the two women’s influence and scrutiny over the other leads them down drastic roads.

In the show, the narrative-defining conversation between Carolyn and Eve— regarding the latter’ secretive employment— occurs at the Purple Penguin Restaurant by Charing Cross. The establishment is chic yet attracts little attention, granting the two women a space for the hushed nature of their conversation. However, does such a restaurant exist in real life?

Purple Penguin Restaurant and Zela London

While many elements within ‘Killing Eve’ stem from a place of fiction, Purple Penguin Restaurant departs from the same, partially remaining an actual location in the real world. The show employed the real-life Zela London Restaurant— part of a global chain brand— in season 1, back when the location was reminiscent of its older embodiment, Cucina Asellina. Consequently, the show’s rendition of the Purple Penguin retains the prominent purple walls, uniquely styled interior, and an abundance of natural light— a signature of Zela London’s predecessor.

Zela London// Image Credit: cristiano/Instagram

Additionally, unlike the restaurant’s on-screen location by Charing Cross, the real-life location can actually be found up Aldwych Street. However, in the years since its appearance on ‘Killing Eve,’ the place has undergone a drastic shift after a change in ownership. No longer Cucina Asellina with its memorable purple wall and white furniture, Zela London now sports a Mediterranean-Japanese fusion theme with the Meppon cuisine at its culinary center. The significant conversion of the restaurant can be traced back to 2018 when Cristiano Ronaldo became the co-owner of the joint alongside Enrique Iglesias, Pau Gasol, and Rafael Nadal.

Thus, the same marked the shift from purple walls and dark wooden tables to artsy foliage, wicker furniture, and lighter wooden accents. As such, considering the location has long since changed ownership, the place holds significant differences from Eve and Carolyn’s rendezvous point in the show. Nevertheless, the establishment holds onto a faint reminiscence of its old blueprint that fans of the show may recognize and appreciate.

Apart from the same, there are several establishments around the world— from Canada’s Toronto to India’s Mumbai— donning similar names to Purple Penguin from ‘Killing Eve.’ However, their connection to the show is most likely a coincidence or a niche reference at most. Ultimately, the Purple Penguin Restaurant— as depicted in the show— does not exist in real life. Still, fans will find Cucina Asellina-turned-Zela London to be the closest thing since the former served as the filming location for the on-screen restaurant.

Read More: A Guide to The Filming Locations of Killing Eve