Our disdain for West London has been documented here before: It is miles away. The few things worth going to are miles away from everything else worth going to. It is a pain. Even walking through core West London gateway Notting Hill you notice it has little to offer bar the new Jamie Oliver money spinner 'Recipease', a name so abhorrent that we want to send the person who thought of it a pint of milk on the turn in the second class post. Seriously, what's next: 'Jamie's Grubporium' or 'NoshStation Oliver'? We wouldn't bet against it.
But we love a diner. Fond memories of being seated
at a counter, sipping on a thick porcelain mug of filter coffee waiting for
whatever dirty food we had ordered warms our collective cockles.
So Electric Diner is something of a dichotomy for us. It's one of our favourite things, in one of our least favourite places.
But, it does sort of make sense: this part of town is Little Beverly Hills. High concentration of well-heeled US ex-pats. They love West London. And they can have it.
Tunnel of Love
Following a pretty gnarly fire in the Brasserie kitchen back in June last year, owners Soho House (the genius behind Dirty Burger, amongst a few high-profile others) took the opportunity to redesign Electric Brassiere and so called in Brendan Sodikoff, the celebrated chef behind Chicago’s French-American diner Au Cheval, to help design the concept, menu, and even train the staff.
And help he has: In keeping with the Sodikoff aesthetic, Electric has the low lit, bare bricked, white tiled sheen of his US based diners, not too dissimilar from what is commonly popularly in London right now. It's well polished. But there are some tidbits of Americana that give it a certain nuance: decadent red leather booths, comedy large yank beer taps hosting an impressive selection of brews, and wood panelling behind the bar.
It makes it feel like it's been there for a long, long time. It also feels genuine.
Along with the booths, counter seats add an authentic diner feel - sitting there you become privy to the banter between the expo and the chefs. Intermingled with the chatter from the bar and the booths, and the low grumble of dance muzak from a reel-to-reel in the background, it is super buzzy and boisterous.
The menu mixes it up more polished restaurant items with diner classics too - bone marrow with beef cheek marmalade casually sits alongside the humble hot dog. Everything is tarted up to a certain extent, what constitutes a portion of wings on the menu the financial equivalent of a swift knee in the bank account, but watching orders confidently leave the kitchen quality is evident.
The double-pattied single cheeseburger arrived impaled with a steak knife, unnecessary but ceremonial. The thin patties, well-seasoned and crusted, are melded together with a sticky Jack cheese. Similar in method to an In 'n Out Double Double, it creates an impressively robust beefy, salty, viscous unit. We like it that way. And Millers again cement themselves as the Google of the London burger bun with an impeccable effort.
Before the lid is thrown on, layers of mandolin-thin pickles are lobbed on the burger, followed by slews of hint-of-mustard mayo, and a generous sprinkle of diced red onions. The layering creates a crunchy tangy condiment but, and rarely do we say this, but tragically there is just too much of it. The mayo oozes everywhere and really takes the sting out of the cheesy meat bomb, dropping the whole just a notch. Shame.
Confusingly, the burgers here are buy-one-get-one-free. A single is a double. A double is a triple. Keep that in mind because the single is easily enough meat.
Bologna NOUN [UNCOUNTABLE] INFORMAL /bəˈləʊni/
It is the bologna sarnie that is the Rosette winner.
Reams and reams of wafer-thin meat, thrown on the hotplate to cook through, heating it to melt-in-the-mouth consistency, draped in slice upon slice of cloched cheese until it droops over it like an over-soused girlfriend, smothered in mayo and encased in the same Miller's bun.
It's too easy to eat by far. It is much more an American sandwich in London than nearly anything else we can think of.
It is all quality stuff. The crispy fries are cracking, like frites, containing more crust than innards. Drenched in an outstandingly rich, smooth mornay sauce, the bling wearing pimp of the cheese sauce world, and topped with a fried egg, it is *the* side to have. Even the French onion soup was thick, oniony abundance in a full-bodied broth, with a huge cheesy crouton dunked on top.
This has almost instantly become one of our recommended places to eat in London. Whilst still only mid-way through our first visit, Rob was lost in foggy-eyed reverie at the consistency of the quiet, unflappable grill boss, banging out burgers and bologna sarnies with unrelenting ease. It meant the Made-In-Chelseaite proclamations echoing around the place almost tolerable.
What could be better than a slow lunch here, followed by a few doughnuts and a movie next door.
We are so gutted it is out West. ✪
- Rob & Simon.
- Electric Diner
- FYI: ignore the TGI Friday-esque video on the website, it does the place no justice.