Sunday 17 November 2013

Jamie's Diner, Shaftesbury Avenue

Forget walking with dinosaurs – try eating with them! I enjoyed a beast of a lunch yesterday at Jamie Oliver’s Diner on Shaftesbury Avenue.

I’d been wanting to try out Jamie’s Diner since it opened a few months ago. I take the 19 bus a lot, and when it stopped at the lights outside the Trocadero, I’d look out of my top deck window and be confronted by the eyes and jaws of a T.Rex! Standing in the middle of the restaurant, surrounded by bright neon lights, he made the diner look like a great place to have a super fun meal, and being Jamie, I was sure the food would taste fantastic too.

At late Sunday lunchtime, I was surprised but happy to find the diner wasn’t too busy for a table for two. We sat on the Shaftesbury Avenue side, a great spot for people watching on the street below. Excited and hungry that morning, we had already had a snoop at the menu online. There were so many choices; diner classics, but with a twist. Hot dogs, burgers, ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese and slaw are all present. After ordering, we sat back and enjoyed our brilliant surroundings.

All the décor in Jamie’s Diner is dinosaur themed. I loved the artwork, like traditional tapestries depicting stegosaurus and brachiosaurus roaming across the countryside, or dinosaur petrol and road signs. Most of the restaurant's art was designed by artist Jay Jay Burridge, and are brilliantly creative; the posters include dinosaur rodeo, dinosaur polo, and my favourite, the dinosaur and “matadaur” in the bullring.

Then, the feast arrived. I’d ordered the Happy Cow Veggie Burger, made from smashed edamame, chickpeas, lima and pinto beans. Not only was it really delicious, but it was also marked on the menu with a ‘Good as gold, tasty, healthy’ halo, so I enjoy it (nearly) guilt free! My not so halo conscious boyfriend ordered the Pitt Waffle, and boy, was I glad he did! There were alternate layers of barbecue pulled pork and waffle, the meat is slow cooked for 16 hours meaning the whole thing was melt-in-your-mouth soft. Apparently it’s one of the most popular dishes on the menu, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the tastiest too. We had a mug of homemade chilli on the side, and also the “love ‘em or hate ‘em” avocado fries, despite the bad review from our waitress. Covered in a light dusting of batter, we both thought they were actually quite nice! The chocolate milkshake had left my boyfriend clutching at his sides, so we avoided dessert, despite ogling the Key Lime Pie from the other side of the restaurant. The drinks menu also stayed untouched, but I think we’ll be back for cocktails and cheesecake soon.

Despite being marketed as a pop-up restaurant, it’s actually in residence for two years. Phew! Whether it’s upstairs in the restaurant, or just grabbing a hot dog as you pass by on street level, you’re sure to have a fab meal at Jamie’s Diner. Go in the next few weeks and you can also sink your teeth into the very tasty looking Christmas menu

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