Every now and then, you need to swap the salad for malted chocolate shakes and burgers dripping with cheese. Make like Elvis in these awesome London diners.
Hoxton Grill, Hoxton
Just about a diner, this one, but so sleek and styled its borderline brasserie or high-end steakhouse. The people at Soho House have kitted out their Great Eastern Street restaurant with plenty of diner design nods — jugs of filter coffee and red leather booths. The food's just as on-theme, with bottles of French's mustard on the tables and mountains of steak on the brunch menu.
Hoxton Grill, 81 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HU
Electric Diner, Portobello
Another offering from the Soho House group, this one with more of a trad-diner feel than the Hoxton Grill. It's got a long bar with counter seating, and red leather booths for when you take your best guy or gal out for a sundae.
The breakfasts are excellent but in the standard W11 brunch style of avocado-on-toast, granola and yoghurt or scrambled eggs. For a more American experience visit in the evening and try the Philly chilli cheese dog or the cheeseburger. Follow with the NY cheesecake, or if you’re just getting started, an apple old fashioned.
Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road, W11 2ED
Bad Egg, Old Street
The food at this Ropemaker Street diner is more American-influenced than American classic — pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, chicken wings and peanut butter sundaes all feature, but so do kimchi hash, sriracha-spiced burgers and 'nduja fries.
A mash-up, basically — one that's so popular with local workers it can be hard to get a table on no-bookings weekday lunchtimes. You can book for a weekend brunch, though, when £23.50 will get you bottomless orange juice, tea or coffee, and three dishes from the brunch menu — try the pulled pork, beans and kimchi on toast, the breakfast tacos and the cheeseburger hash for a full tour of their take on the US diner.
Bad Egg, City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, EC2Y 9AW
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The Diner, Dalston
There are branches of this diner chain in a starburst across north and central London, and probably more on the way as they're usually packed with punters after this cheese-covered, chilli-topped brand of Americana. The menu's enormous, spanning sweet and savoury, breakfast to dinner and Deep South ribs to Philadelphia hot dogs. How many types of fries can you reel off? The Dalston diner's got eight on the menu — plus five variations on pancakes and more burgers than we can be bothered to count.
A terrible place to be on a diet, or in any way concerned about the amount of grease in your food, although they do offer a vegan and vegetarian menu at their Dalston, Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Strand branches. Prepare to be awestruck by how many things they can deep-fry, and your own capacity to eat them all.
The Diner, 600 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH. See website for other locations.
Big Moe's Diner, Aldgate
A diner experience that leaves you in no doubt you’ve been in A Diner. You can take over a booth, play 50s rock and roll on the jukebox and order your burger to come with the meat triple-stacked: peak USA... in Aldgate.
Big Moe’s Diner, 96 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7PH.
Fatboy's Diner and Fatboyz Diner
Confusingly, there is not one but two Fatboy-named diners in east London. The first, Fatboy's Diner, calls a souped up diner-trailer in Trinity Buoy Wharf home. It's a cosy affair, limited on the seating but big on the flavours, including very decent chilli cheeseburgers.
The second is Fatboyz Diner (with a 'z' – cool, eh?) near East Ham, started by three friends following their waistline-straining travels around America. The loaded burgers, dogs and fries were simply too good to leave behind and so they brought them home to London. Finish your meal off with a Reese's peanut butter cup milkshake and you'll soon be gagging to bring this fare home with you too, says Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves.
Honourable mention: Ok, Backstreet Diner is actually a street food truck, so no red leather booths and formica tables here. But Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves recommends it nonetheless, for this roaming truck serves up fast, high-quality, diner-style burgers from chef, Benjamin Lindsey. He swapped the professional restaurant kitchen to his own corner of London and has never looked back since. You can usually find them trading near Old Street, but as street food trucks are notoriously hard to pin down, it's worth giving them a stalk on their website or Twitter first.