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. But 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 chili and cornbread or the cheeseburger. Follow with the NY cheesecake, or if you’re just getting started, a pickleback: Jameson's whisky with a shot of pickle brine.
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, mac and cheese and peanut butter sundaes all feature, but so do kimchi hot dogs, sriracha-and-egg baps and 'nduja scrambled eggs.
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
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 11 on the menu — and five variations on pancakes, six on hot dogs and more burgers than we can be bothered to count.
A terrible place to be vegan, or on a diet, or in any way concerned about the amount of grease in your food. Otherwise, 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.
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Lucky 7, Westbourne Park
Their website claims this is 'the most authentic diner this side of the Brooklyn Bridge', so they’re not short of bravado at this W2 restaurant. To judge for yourself if that's empty bragging or justified swagger, steer clear of the fry-ups — decent but not even the best this side of Blackfriars Bridge — and try the Reuben sandwich, the High Roller burger or the Chilli Cubano dish, all forces to be reckoned with.
Lucky 7, 127, Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QL
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.
Honorable mention: scoff very decent chilli cheeseburgers, washed down with bottomless filter coffee at Fatboy's Diner, a souped up diner-trailer in Trinity Buoy Wharf. It's not always open, so check before going.