Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Diner.

The Diner is my favourite comfort food place to eat in London. Enjoying my Luau hard shake tonight (coconut ice-cream and rum), I wondered why I've not blogged about it before. I've been so many times, with so many different people, for so many different occasions. I used to meet James after working late on Fridays – which I used to do quite a lot and which is another reason I'm leaving my job. Blarg to that! – and we'd have a margarita and a California burger, chased down by good imported American bottled beer. I'd go on my lunch hour sometimes if I fancied a treat, and sit huddled down in a booth with a book and apple pie with cream. On hot summer days I'd leave my desk furtively mid-afternoon and pop out for one of their thick, creamy milkshakes, made with good ingredients...


The waitresses are friendly and the radio's always on playing MOR seventies rock in the background, giving it a warm cosy feeling. And I like the fact it's open until the small hours: it reminds me of Mel's Drive-in in LA, where you can go for fries and a milkshake after the club or gig. (In fact one of my favourite trips to The Diner was after seeing Jonathan Richman play at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen around the corner, then popping over there to eat before going home. Hardcore Americana action.)

I have so many happy memories of The Diner, I could go on and on. There are a few branches in London (Camden, Soho, Kensal Rise), but the Shoreditch is my local and favourite. If you haven't been and feel like a bit of a feelgood experience, definitely check them out. Locations here.

[Diner sign photo courtesy of Will Cheyney.]


  1. Dying to go there! If only I came around the East more often! That milk shake looks superb!

  2. You're West London aren't you, Em? There's one in Kensal Rise! And also in Soho. Would be perfect if you are missing NYC at anytime...

  3. Gah, there are 59 minutes until lunchtime and I'm even more hungry after reading this.

    Like the Diner very much, altho it loses points by not serving cherry pie. Sort it out, Diner!

  4. I love the food but the service in my local one - Angel - is AWFUL. nearly every time i go they forget to bring something or we're left waiting forever.. i'd rather Breakfast Club :)

  5. Reading about that milkshake made me want to dry heave as individually I hate milk, coconut and rum so as a combination it is some kind of spawn of
    the devil. Or at least some of his sticky outpourings.

    But went to the Diner on essex road last week, agree with Katie service is awful (esp on a Sunday morning when all the hipsters serving are clearly cripplingly hungover - we've all been there but a bit of professionalism please!)

  6. Yay, a commo from KPG always makes my day! Surely you'd only just had breakfast 2 hours and 1 minute earlier?

    Katie + WFI - how strange! I always have great service at the Shoreditch branch, although the friend I was with (who I'd been with before) said she always had bad service there, too.

    Maybe because they know I'm singlehandedly keeping that branch is business they're nice to me.

    (Love The Breakfast Club too. But I'm faithful to The Diner.)

  7. ps: 10/10 to WFI for referring to my milkshake as the sticky outpourings of the debil.

    Thought it was quite tasty, actually.

  8. Always a pleasure! For reference, breakfast was poor (had to have unsalted butter on my crumpets, dearie me), dinner even worse (veg lasagne had a bizarre sweet and sour thing going on), but fortunately tea will be taken in the pub. Hurrah!

  9. My friend is going to London in a couple of months. I'll sure tell him about the diner. I wish I could go too.

  10. Looking real cosy in there... (I don't know why I start talking like Sookie Stackhouse, maybe because it's a diner). I just reread your January post about quitting work - so exciting and a very brave step. You're a great writer, Caroline. Bring on the novel (or whatever you fancy)!

  11. It did make me laugh that it takes a post about food to draw KPG out of the woodwork.

    Funnily enough he's never commented on my blog.

  12. wow. jonathan richman. haven't thought of him in AGES.

    i lovelovelove husband is from new jersey, which has more diners per capita than an other state in the union. i find it GLORIOUS! grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, icy cokes (or an icy tomato juice with lemon since i got knocked up)...all topped off with a sky-high slice of cake or pie for dessert. what's not to love?

    when's your last day at work? are you excited or nervous or both?