ISO U.S.-style all day breakfast in London
A sudden hankering for American road-side diner food is prompting this question. Can anyone give me insight into The Diner in Soho? I tried to do a search here on Chowhound but ended up with too many false hits. Any other places?
I'm looking for American bacon, fluffy pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs and never-ending coffee.
Looking at its website, it's difficult to know if it's "American" or a British version of what they think might be American.The inclusion of such British breakfast staples as beans and mushrooms might seem like the latter but the inclusion of spinach on breakfast plates certainly sounds like the former.
I wonder if there are many places in the States doing a traditonal British breakfast fry-up complete with Bury black pudding and the like?
There are certainly many British/Irish-themed bars/pubs across the U.S. that do offer the "fry-up" breakfast. I imagine some do include black pudding.
For example, the Pig & Whistle in San Francisco has the "Full English Breakfast" on its' menu, but I don't know if black pudding is on the plate:
O'Reilly's Irish Pub in San Francisco serves both black and white puddings with their full breakfast:
The Diner is a mini-chain, have been to the branch in Shoreditch. The pancakes are indeed the thickish fluffy version, and is pretty good, but won't blow anyone away. The Breakfast Club (also a mini chain) ranks as OK in my book, but it might be worth a try for the pancakes.
There are a few specific items at certain places that might fit the bill, but the places that serve them aren't packaged as diners:
If you're willing to go for a "fancy" french toast, the one at Workshop Coffee in Clerkenwell is excellent, but it comes with poached rhubarb and orange mascarpone.
Is Huevos Rancheros on your list? I'd seriously consider the one at Casa Morita.
The Hawksmoor steakhouses have been slowly introducing American items like burgers and lobster rolls into their menu. Haven't had breakfast at the Guildhall Branch, but the steak and eggs look tempting (have enjoyed the beef there in the past), if pricey.
We tried the Diner location in Camden just once, and it was a real let-down. Pancakes were thin, and were served with golden syrup (not maple or even maple-flavoured-- regardless of what the menu says). It's British bacon, not US-style rashers. The coffee was OK, but lukewarm, and not served never-ending style. In fact, the waitress seemed annoyed when we kept trying to flag her down for a second cup, although the menu says it's free refills. It just didn't come together the way an american-style diner breakfast should. I suspect that no one who works there has ever experienced the real thing. The shame of it is if they really tried to get some of these details right, they'd probably have queues out the door! They certainly have the decor down pat. If you go with minimal expectations, you'll be OK.
I'm pretty sure they serve that sort of thing at Automat, but you can check the website to make sure. I haven't been there in quite awhile. I had mac and cheese there a long way back, and it was not quite 'American,' but it tasted fine. Good luck! I know that hankering....