The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Diner, Shoreditch

The Diner
128 Curtain Road
020 7729 4452

by Blake Pudding

A diner isn’t just a place or a style of food but a reflection of national character. A diner should be generous, friendly and brash; the food may not be that good but there will be lots of it and it can be served any way you want.

I was hungover with a couple of advertising types, Marie Voss and Tom Dean. As their stock in trade is the ersatz, I thought where better to take them than an imitation American diner in Shoreditch. This place was almost exactly what you would expect from a trendy diner. The food was good, probably better than you would get in most diners in New York. My corn beef hash was delicious and the bacon I had on the side was some of the finest I have ever tasted. The coffee was bad, which struck a note of authenticity, but they had to be reminded about free refills. Tom and Marie both had eggs, hash browns and bacon, all excellent.

I don’t suppose I need to say that the service was atrocious. It felt as if there had been a death amongst the staff and we were intruding on their grieving. All this could have been made up for by the excellent food if we had not been so hungry on finishing it. Portions were, however, tiny. We headed across the road to soothe our still rumbling bellies with pints of ESB and those ludicrously strong salt and vinegar crisps that you can only get in Shoreditch. You wouldn’t have to do that in Albuquerque.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, the service is uniformally shit, but the food is quite good.

4:13 PM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger kiwi said...

Went for breakfast today (21/11/07. Food poor, portions small, service? what service? I'm surprised its still going. Just goes to show how much people like the idea of "Breakfast in America". 1 out of 10.

4:38 PM, October 21, 2007  
Blogger mark and howard said...

Tried it - what a disappointment! Love american diners but this is far off the mark. Absolutely terrible place. Inexcusable service failure, food too poor to balance that. I'm amazed people put up with it - isn't there anywhere better in the area? Better to make your own breaky and invite your friends round for heavenssake! Only in London would anyone think this is good!!

4:32 PM, October 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hold on a minute! first of all this is Shoreditch, not NYC! I've been to the States and sat in a fair share of diners both good and bad. But the Diner isn't as bad as these reviews make out. I went there this morning, (I live in Lewisham and my wife and I wanted an american breakfast) I was happy with the service my food was good and enough of it, coffee was refilled and food came within 10 miutes of us ordering it. I don't need be greeted with american cheese 'have a good day y'all' crap. after all its Shoreditch. We will be going back for sure.

8:14 PM, February 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with anonymous. I too have been to a zillion diners in NYC and its not the best of the best that you would get there but its pretty damb good.

4:22 PM, February 26, 2008  
Blogger Hoey D said...

I agree with anonymous and anonymous, I like the diner.

The service is sometimes, but not always, bad.

The food's pretty good, in general. Eggs benedict, in particular. (The burgers are nice too. Though avoid the Diner cajun fries.)

The portions vary dish to dish. A portion of the chilli fries, on its own, will usually finish me off. But I always think the pancakes seems the most disappointing portion - three smallish pancakes for 3.50.

6:06 PM, February 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to The Diner yesterday for lunch and I have to agree with Mark and Howard - this place leaves a lot to be desired. Part of the experience of an American diner is quick and friendly service. I'm not saying they have to say have a nice day or even smile but forgodsake acknowledging one's presence would be a good start.

10:05 AM, May 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10.57, Sunday 17 August.

Enter The Diner. Met by smiling server, invited to sit where I chose. Once seated, quickly offered a drink while I waited for a friend. Server was again smiling. 10.59. Peppermint tea requested. Tea arrived 11.04. Server smiled slighty. 11.07 friend arrives. 11.09 server takes order. Smiling. 11.25 side of French toast arrives. 11.27 main order arrives. More smiling. Orange juice (not fresh), veggie omelette (good), a Mexican breakfast confused with huevos rancheros (but very good all the same) and a good cup of coffee. The bill was brought promptly, with a smile.

We had three different servers.

11:44 AM, August 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a glitch. Normal service will resume soon.

3:49 PM, August 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally walked into this place after passing by for two years. I asked quite loudly if they had bottomless cups of coffee. With a smile I was told yes, and took a small booth. The coffee was fine, but the cup was tiny, I had to remind them for more, only to be served from a pitcher that needed to be refilled, and no one brought me water. It made me think of what was missing from the actual American experience: speed! efficiency! service with a smile! Not that you always get that, but it sure would be nice in the exported version. I also thought the breakfasts looked corny. "Mexican breakast"? "Veggie omelette" (as opposed to a Denver or Spanish or the actual vegetables named)? Hot dogs for 5.50? Anyway, I'd love a meatloaf, but I feel safer consulting my Joy of Cooking, god bless her. The menu looked ok, but having a salmon and cream cheese bagel in the same menu section as the hot dogs just made me think of stomach upset.

12:41 AM, November 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lived in the US in my opinion it doesn't even compare to any diner there.

The last time I visited I ordered an alcoholic milkshake, they forgot to put in the rum....

Our food took quite some time so we told our waitress we were going for a smoke. Upon our return aproximately 3 minutes later, there were other people sitting at our table and we had to queue to get seated again, even though we had ordered 20 minutes previously - not one of Shoreditch's finest!

5:49 PM, March 02, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tiny (but pricey) portions coupled with okay-ish service make this place one to avoid. Head to Troy up Kingsland road instead.

7:58 PM, February 13, 2010  

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