Whenever anyone tempts me with the promise of “American food” I’m there. Sure, hamburgers and fries are fairly ubiquitous these days. But combine that with the options of meatloaf, milkshakes, mac ‘n’ cheese and it’s a true American feast. Basically, what I am saying is that when I had the chance to review a night out at The Diner, I leapt at the chance.
I chose to eat at the Shoreditch location, purely because it’s on my overground line. I’m that lazy. But I’m so glad that I did, because the staff there were awesome. Seriously, everyone was super smiley, helpful and nice. An extra big shout out to Dion because he took such good care of us, and kept the suggestions for good options coming. But if Shoreditch is out of your way, luckily for you, there are 9 other London locations to chose from.
I’d read up on The Diner before I came, so there was one thing that I knew I couldn’t leave without trying. Their famous hard shakes. I had the Choconaut which was a mixture of dark chocolate liqueur, Kraken rum, and chocolate ice-cream (£8.25) whilst Sam had the Creamy Nut: hazelnut and vanilla ice-cream with Baileys (also £8.25). My shake was insane. Never have I gobbled down a shake faster. It was super chocolatey and smooth with just a spicy hint from the rum. Sam’s was lovely as well, though I am convinced that it tasted like cake batter. £8.25 is an expensive shake, but if you consider it the equivalent of two cocktails (because they are so giant) than actually, they are super good (London value) cocktails.
We split a starter of the Freakshow chicken. That was a lovely buttermilk chicken with a side of hot sauce. The Diner gets a big thumbs up for its chicken. The crunch on that batter was perfect, and the portions were super generous. If there was one tiny thing that I’d criticise (and it’s my only critique of the meal) it’s that the hot sauce wasn’t quite hot enough for me. But I’m a spicy food fiend. I think it would suffice for most.
For mains, I had a Monterey Jack cheeseburger (£6.50) with a side of sweet potato fries (£3.95) and Sam had the DCB burger (£8.95) with a side of “wet” fries (£2.95). My dish is self-explanatory, but Sam’s might take some explaining. The DCB is a buttermilk fried chicken breast, topped with streaky bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, slaw and pickles. My burger was perfect, cooked exactly medium-rare like I requested, with the Diner burger sauce just adding the perfect amount of condiment so nothing else was needed. But Sam’s chicken burger was awesome. It was the contrast in textures that really got me; the extra crunchy buttermilk chicken with juicy insides, the silky bun, the bite of the slaw. There was definitely some food envy going on. My sweet potato fries were good but I was so stuffed that sadly, I left quite a few men (fries) behind. Sam’s wet fries are a house specialty, fries swimming in Diner bacon gravy. Poutine’s American cousin. They were salty and rich, and I couldn’t eat more than a few. Sam unleashed his inner Sarlacc and managed to clean his bowl. I was in awe.
Then came the talk of dessert and cocktails, which we sadly had to refuse. Not because they didn’t look delicious, but because if I had eaten anymore I would have exploded a la Monty Python “wafer thin”!
The Diner (Shoreditch) is located at: 128 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AQ
***I was a guest of The Diner, and my meal was comped but my views are, as always, solely my own. ***