Sunday 18 September 2011

The Diner, 18 Ganton Street, Soho, London, W1F 7BU

Location: Another Friday, another London burger joint off Carnaby Street in Soho. The area seems to have more than its fair share of them, with Kua'Aina and Carnaby Burger Co. also within a couple of streets of The Diner, Soho.

So, The Diner in Soho takes up a huge wedge of real estate in the middle of Ganton Street, black fronted with buzzing neon sign glowing red/orange over the outside seating area, you can't miss it as you walk by. I had been wanting to visit The Diner for a while, but with three outposts completely equi-distant from me, I could never make my mind up which one to eat in. Well, as it happened a friend from the US was visiting and had spent the day wandering in Soho - what better excuse, I thought, for a trip to The Diner for that authentic American diner burger experience in London.

Double Decker burger, £7.70 (extra Bacon £0.80, extra Cheese, £0.70). Fries, £2.60. Total Burger and Fries: £11.80. (Onion Rings £3.10. Mexican Burger - £6.70).
The diner menu in it's full laminated, faux leather encased glory
Classic diner. Food arrived in plastic bowls lined with Diner-branded greaseproof paper. The burgers arrived lid-off with patties and toppings on full display. Fries and Onion Rings were plentiful. My American dining companion said it felt like home. I was happy.

There were also a cracking selection of sauces - the French's, the Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Cholula Hot sauce. Ok Diner, good start, you have my attention.
Ok. I chose to top my double patty with Monterey Jack cheese, which was good. Soft flavoured, nutty and perfectly melted. The rashers of bacon looked the total shizzle, but were sadly overcooked and had little taste - none of that meaty, salty promise. Pickle was good, but tomato and lettuce were basic and watery, in fact I removed the tomato and onion sharpish. Thousand Island dressing looked the part, but when incorporated into the burger, the flavour was lost, to the extent that partway through eating I had to check if all the sauce had fallen out as I couldn't taste it.

The Mexican Burger was topped with beef chilli and jalapenos and both were, in my US dining companions words, 'Good, but hot. Damn hot.'. It really packed a punch.
Lid off - The Diner Double Decker Burger
The Diner Mexican Burger - hot beef chilli and jalapenos
Excellent. This was a classic part-brioche, milk-glazed, sesame-seed hamburger bun. It was fresh, lightly toasted and when squished to the eating position, it clung to its shape and form for the entire duration of the eating, and that was no mean feat given the wonderfully juicy, sloppy, rare beef patties and jack cheese. The Diner's buns are sourced from an Artisan bakery in North London, and clearly the work had been put in to ensure this bun was fully up to the task.

The Diner Double Decker
Good, but need more seasoning. To say my mouth was watering as I wrapped my sweaty palms around the double decker beast, would be like saying the pope is a little bit religious. The patty was ticking all the boxes as I sunk my teeth into the rare cooked meat. Juicy? Yup. Cooked rare? Yep. Rough ground texture? Oh yes. But the most important one was sadly lacking, taste. Sadly these patties were a bit bland - even with the addition of the crispy bacon and Thousand Island dressing they still lacked the required seasoning to bring the whole thing alive, which was a shame as lots about this burger was spot on. Maybe I had a dud, or perhaps that's what the condiments tray was there for.
The bite through - good, rare patties
Good. Fries were, to my dining partner, 'exactly like you'd expect in a diner in the US'. I couldn't get a response on whether that was a good thing or not, but they worked for me. Onion rings were served crunchy and flavoursome.

Overall rating: 7.5/10.

In my view, everything about The Diner delivers that classic american diner feel, from the swivel bar stools, down to the metal rack of serviettes on each table. If only the meat packed a little more punch, a little more flavour, a little more...well...meatiness, there is a real opportunity to get a bump up in the ratings. 

On another note, this burger with fries and toppings comes to a whopping £11.80, (just shy of the Goodman burger, all in) and for comparison, the normal bacon cheeseburger here comes in at £9.30. That said, The Diner is the antithesis of the Goodman experience in the best possible way, and you are getting a good 1/2-3/4lb of beef for your money, in the heart of Soho, and to be honest I was too stuffed to finish the fries. I fully expect to pay The Diner a visit in the near future to see if the seasoning issue was a one off, and I'll report my findings.

Diner on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
#HTML10 .widget-content{ width:728px;margin:0px auto; }