Brunch: a meal revered for its health-giving, hangover-reducing properties which are particularly potent on weekend mornings. It was with this thought in mind that I headed to the The Diner on The Strand to check out their American-themed morning menu.
It’s nearly midday on a Sunday, the sun is beating down and I have spent the previous night drinking my way through East London’s tequila reserves; anywhere near Covent Garden is the last place I want to be. However, despite its central location, The Diner on The Strand is a retreat from the gangs of backpack-wearing tourists and hordes of school groups, with its dark simple interiors and laid-back atmosphere.
I feel like I’m in an American, 50s, high school movie; peacock-blue leather booths line the mirrored walls and visitors are illuminated in the red glow of the neon ‘The Diner’ sign. The minimal bare-brick bar is painted grey with multicoloured bottles of American IPA providing the decoration and the menu above has been designed to look like an old movie list - it’s like an edgier version of Greece.
Food & Drink
The Diner’s menu is full Americana, and the brunch section is no exception - stacks of pancakes are served with butterscotch sauce and the Diner Breakfast Burger (£7) may be the only burger acceptable to start your day with.
There is also all the regular brunch staples such as Eggs Royale (£9) which is on two toasted muffins and comes with a side of crispy mini hashbrowns and fruit. The Eggs Blackstone (£8.50) has enough rashers of crispy streaky bacon and hollandaise sauce to appease the hangover gods for several hours.
As the world over knows, it is perfectly acceptable to drink alcohol before 12pm during a brunch, and fortunately for us The Diner has been inventive and generous with their drinks menu. Like any good American diner there is a comprehensive milkshake choice, but we are British and it’s a Sunday, so hard shakes are here to save us from sobriety. The Colonel Parker (£8.25) is a creamy mix of Evan Williams bourbon, vanilla ice cream and peanut butter, and the restaurant has also had the ingenious idea of adding alcohol to tea with a range of Hard Tea cocktails.
This is central London on a weekend so the booths are mainly filled with tourists taking a break from snapping selfies with the floating Yoda performers in Trafalgar Square. Don't be put off though - the booths are not only dangerously comfy but give a sense of privacy meaning you can loudly dissect what happened after your fifth vodka and soda without disturbing fellow guests.
There’s a danger an American diner could be tacky, but The Diner’s simplicity ensure that it’s cool; Staff are tattooed, young and distinctly dandy-like and the playlist is a great hit list of British Indie tracks.
This is The Diner’s eighth restaurant and it’s not hard to see why they’ve taken off. Portions are huge, food is more comforting than a hug from your gran and alcohol has been added to much of the drinks list - praise ye The Diner for answering our hangover prayers.