Are you a meat eater with a vegan friend? Do you struggle to find a restaurant that works for both of you? Well look no further. Islington’s branch of American-style restaurant, The Diner, along with The Strand, Dalston and Spitalfields branches, thoroughly caters for vegans with a packed-out menu that far surpasses the usual tomato pasta or “salad without the dressing”.
Last Sunday afternoon my friend Sam and I visited the branch. We fancied pigging out, and really, is there a better way to pig out than stuffing your face with sweet potato friends and enormous burgers? If you hadn’t guessed so far, Sam is vegan, and as such, The Diner felt like a natural choice so she’d have a plenty of options to choose from.
Sam opted for vegan banana pancakes and chili cheese fries. Well, not exactly. The very kindly waiter who served us, a lovely guy who was very new to the company, brought her the wrong meal entirely. Her banana pancakes quickly became blueberry, and the fries were missing the chili entirely. Fortunately everything was still very vegan, and Sam tucked in regardless (i’d have definitely sent it back, she’s cleary much nicer than me!)
I meanwhile ordered ‘The DBC’ (The Diner Chicken Burger) with a side of sweet potato fries and a cheeky pot of blue cheese sauce. As per usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I managed to get through most of the chicken burger and took the majority of the fries home with me. If you’re going to take a trip to The Diner, my God, go hungry.
My sweet potato fries and sauce were absolutely incredible, easily some of the best sweet potato fries i’ve ever eaten. My burger was nice, but i’ve probably had better, if i’m being brutally honest. Sam seemed to love her pancakes, and had similar problems trying to make it through her fries.
The general vibe is very cool. A good playlist of easily recognisable pop/rock songs combines with neon decorations in an American diner setting. Sam and I went for ‘linner’ at around 4:30pm, and I was pleasantly surprised that the restaurant wasn’t very busy; since moving to London i’ve become wary that every place I visit will be heaving with people no matter what the time. The restaurant is easily walkable from Angel tube station and is handily situated nearby plenty of shops and bars if a few post-dinner drinks or shopping trip sparks your fancy.
SO, let’s crunch some numbers:
This feels a little brutal, but i’d argue The Diner is not a restaurant you visit for the top quality food. It’s cheat food grub that hits the spot, but michelin star quality it is not.
As I said, the vibe is solid. I imagine it’s a great place to get boozy before getting even boozier at a nearby bar. Plus the decor is just fun. It’s got neon decorations for heaven’s sake.
Not a ‘cheap eat’ but certainly not horribly expensive. A meal with an alcoholic drink could set you back approximately £20, if you decide to get on the ‘hard shakes’, expect to pay a little more.
Would I go again?
Absolutely. It’s a great place to catch up with a friend or two, grab a bite while out, or get a bunch of mates together for a boozy catch up. Oh, and it’s on Deliveroo too.