The latest launch in the Soho House empire showcases American style dining with all the trimmings
The Soho House chain is synonymous with cool eateries and equally as cool clientele, but as a refreshing change to what stereotypes suggest the new Electric Diner on Portobello Road was easy to be in but effervescent enough to keep you entertained. I may have been West but the vibe felt totally East and you can take that to be East London or East Coast.
While a diner is nothing new to the London restaurant scene, nor is brunch offering for that matter – the atmosphere at Electric Diner certainly was authentic, at first it was somewhat intimidating after dashing from the office the bar was buzzing, and a lack of being able to book a table a bit disconcerting, but the staff are so cool in the chaos you start to relax too.
You may have to stand with your cocktail but the Grey Goose vodka with elderflower, lime and soda was so moorish you’ll be ordering a fair few more before you’re seated. And since when is that a bad thing?
The booths on offer are best for big groups but to be at the centre of the action you’ll want to sit at the counter, right on top of the kitchen. Perfect when you’re too tired to make sparkling conversation and you’ll allow the dedicated chefs to do all the hard work as you watch in awe.
Now for the food, the menu is typical of any American themed restaurant but this one comes with its own renowned Chicago chef, Brendan Sodikoff. He was headhunted by Soho House founder Nick Jones who accidentally stumbled across the gourmet master when dining at award-wining French/American restaurant, Au Cheval in the windy city.
The portions are big, not on the scale of what you’d see in Chicago but enough to suggest skipping starters and diving straight into the main instead. The steak and chips with béarnaise sauce, £15, was epic, and the burger, £10, was particularly impressive for it’s feisty full-on flavour. Also very tempting were the honey-fried chicken wings with chilli and sesame seeds, £17. But it’s not all fries and fat though – the broiled salmon, £13, was just as alluring and I was close to ordering that with the roasted broccoli, £4, but meat called.
To finish things off take a pause then tuck into a traditional pie, £6, the coconut one triumphs over the chocolate offering, and it takes a lot for me to say that.
The vibe is buzzing for dinner service, although I imagine for brunch you’ll find a calmer tone but will miss out on what makes this place stand out. The staff make the evening, and they’ll tell you honestly what they think of the menu. So don’t be put off by a wait at the busy bar, it’s worth it. Big on taste, big on portions and certainly big on an electric atmosphere!
For more information see electricdiner.com
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