My favourite sorts of people to go out to eat with are those who also want to try everything on the menu, and think it’s a good idea to dump everything in the middle of the table so nobody gets food envy. Me and my friends have this down to a tee, and I think our monumental order during our most recent visit to the newly relaunched outpost of The Diner* in Islington may have taken our waitress slightly aback.
Taking a deep breath she reeled off what we’d requested with careful precision whilst I bounced in my seat with sheer glee, sloshing my margarita over myself. We were perched in a gorgeous booth, The Diner taking inspiration from the classic American staple in both the menu and restaurant design.
First up, a selection of starters to share, all falling into the ‘beige’ category, but only in colour, and absolutely not in flavour. Bacon jalapeño tater tots were little morsels of delicious with a tiny fiery punch and the chicken wings were so moreish, with the meat coming off so easily that I didn’t care about what an incredible mess I was making.
The freakshow chicken was chicken strips deep fried in buttermilk which was great, but it was the buffalo sauce that made me want to declare my undying love for The Diner’s chef. It’s the same sauce that was on our chicken wings, but having it in isolation made me realise how much I love it. I mean, I could genuinely drink a pint of the stuff.
We also shared a bowl of the Super Queso: a bowl of melted cheese with chilli pepper, surrounded by tortilla chips, guacamole, beef chilli, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños. It feels like it should be a meal in itself, but it absolutely works as a stupidly decadent starter. By the time our mains came, I’d undone the top button on my jeans and was attempting to be as horizontal as possible without lying across my friends.
First came a few sides to share, with the stand-out item being the wet fries with a few adaptations from our table. The standard wet fries from The Diner, essentially just skinny American-style fries served with gravy, are a favourite of mine, but we requested these with CHEESE and BACON and IT WAS AWESOME (as demonstrated by Erica’s face of sheer joy).
Through sure grit and determination I then attempted to take on my big ol’ meatloaf hoagie. Another name for a sub sandwich, it involved a filling of meatloaf wrapped in bacon, topped with slices of cheese, pickles and a ‘pig jam’. It felt like across between a burger and a hotdog, although it wasn’t the easiest thing to eat as the meatloaf fell apart pretty easily. Not as flavoursome as some of the burgers I’ve tried at The Diner previously, it was still delicious, and made me cry out in defeat about half way through.
I couldn’t eat breakfast the next day. In fact, I’m potentially still recovering, a week or so later. The Diner is rapidly becoming one of my go-to places in London to get a decent, filling, well-priced meal that feels naughty but tastes oh-so-nice.
PIN IT FOR LATER