Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED
The Electric Diner has got to be in our top three places we’ve eaten this year. Although not in our usual stomping ground, it felt quite a trek to get to Notting Hill, but oh so worth it. A very cool interior awaited us, we certainly didn’t feel we were in London anymore. The diner has a proper old US feel, if it wasn’t for the exposed brickwork you could quite easily think that you’re in a one of those long silver trailers drinking a cup of Joe. The red leather booths adds to the authenticity as does the long row of stools resting against an even longer bar.
Since the fire at the adjacent Electric Cinema in June, there has been a lengthy refurbishment. The new restaurant is a collaboration between the private members club Soho House and Chicago’s prestigious Au Cheval restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff. Oh to be a member of Soho House! One can dream…
It was the launch night so we didn’t get a feel of the typical clientele, instead surrounded by the who’s who of the London food scene, and er, us. We sunk into a booth and agonised over the menu for a lifetime. If we could have ordered a mouthful of each dish, we would have.
The three of us eventually decided on a fine selection of plates. Sipping on a Horse’s Neck £8, a knockout concoction of Sazerac rye, diner ginger syrup, lemon, bitters and soda, whilst we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our food.
Ade’s Root To Mule Bombay Sapphire, lime, honey, Gentleman’s Wit £8 came in a copper mug, so cute as well as practical, and so very stealable. Not that we would ever of course. But we do wonder just how long they’ll last…
A side of Sweet Pickles £3 was the first to arrive, it made a refreshing change to eat them naked, not fried. Talking of fries, French fries £4 were more like chip shop chips rather than crispy fries. Which again was a nice break from the norm but we don’t like being misled on a menu – they’re chips, NOT fries!
We mistook Gina’s Bologna sandwich £10 for a burger at first sight. A tower of layered homemade, then fried, bologna (pronounced ‘baloney’ in the USA) in between a golden brioche bun, glued together with a creamy ‘burger’ sauce. There’s a heck of a lot of meat in this monster. In Pittsburgh they call it a ‘jumbo sammich’, possibly as it’s the size of a baby elephant! The heaviness of it eased, very slightly, by a plate of Bibb lettuce, avocado salad £7 and Tomatoes, steak salt, chives £4.
Ade’s Shaved rib of beef, smoked monterey jack £13 was immense, kinda like a super-sized Hawksmoor French dip. Cow and cheese and thick rich gravy, a winning combo. Add to that a small mountain of homemade lightly salted crisps. My Bone marrow beef cheek marmalade £11 was simply outstanding, served with fried bread to smear on the tangy meaty marmalade. Heaven!
But then the Crispy potato hash with duck heart gravy £12 was also incredible, may this never leave the menu. When the description said ‘Crispy’ hash, we thought ‘that’s not going to happen’, not with all that hearty gravy. But they pulled it off…
Desserts were a teeny bit of a let down, but only teeny. After browsing the menu at work, I had been thinking about the Coconut cream pie £6 all day, hoping to recreate the experience of the one I had at MEATliquor. A dessert I left a mouthful behind as we were sharing with two others and I didn’t want to look greedy. Possibly one of my biggest food regrets…
Anyway, this one was oh so different. Very light, topped with hazelnut cream and drizzled in a rich chocolate sauce. Had I not ever tried the MEATliquor one, this would have not disappointed. Ade had a Root beer float £7 trying to either become an honorary American or to relive his childhood. I think he was basically too full but didn’t want to admit it.
We ate some of the most memorable (and huge) dishes in a long time, with superb service and surroundings. And yes, we woke up thinking about it, our benchmark for a winning meal.
With the Electric Cinema now back open too, all shiny and new, we so want to return. It even sports double beds with blankets and there is also Electric Donuts, selling a unsual mix of flavours, such as maple bourbon, bergamot orange, ginger chew, Mexican chocolate. We want to all three Electrics for date night heaven. If only we could sleep there too…
191 Portobello Road,
London, W11 2ED
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7908 9696
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 08:00am – Midnight
Friday to Sunday 08:00am – 01:00am
Follow them on Twitter
Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate