19 March 2018

Vegan Meets American

The Diner: Vegan Menu

Let's be frank - when you imagine American food, vegan and vegetarian dishes are not what you immediately picture. You think of cheeseburgers and chilli dogs, steaks and pancakes, chicken and waffles, macaroni and cheese... you get the idea. But in October of last year, The Diner launched its debut vegan and vegetarian menu, offering meat-free alternatives to classic American cuisine. What I didn't expect was to be reviewing said menu for my first foodie blog post of 2018, particularly given my supermarket trips are predominantly spent ogling the butcher's counter.

For my friends and I, a visit to The Diner would typically comprise our overindulging on the meatiest burgers and the creamiest milkshakes. But curiosity got the better of me. Knowing how much I love American cuisine, I was keen to judge for myself how the restaurant's alternative menu would stand up to its usual fayre in terms of flavour, distinctiveness and overall enjoyment. So I grabbed a pal, and the two of us swung by the Strand branch for a spot of lunch.

The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu

While Tazz was intrigued by the Vegan Benedict, a mushroom and falafel re-interpretation of a classic breakfast dish, it would have been rude had I not ordered a burger of some description. The Jackfruit Burger caught my attention, in which the exotic fruit is shredded to a similar appearance and texture as pulled pork, although its taste is unique in its own right. Alongside this, a side order of Vegan Mac & Cheese made with cashew cheese (which begs the question: how do they milk the cashews?), and a refreshing Coconut Ripple Vegan Milkshake blended with oat milk.

The meal had an unmistakable Diner character, and despite my initial hesitation, I'm delighted to confirm it was both delicious and exceptionally filling. Were my choices better than those from the regular menu, however? To be completely honest, I enjoy a juicy beef burger too much to regularly order a vegan alternative, although I would be keen to try the vegan milkshake in other flavours, were The Diner to add further options to the menu. At the very least, it's been a positive reminder that dining vegan doesn't imply "rabbit food", and that it's possible to create such dishes to complement even a cuisine that is typically meat-centric.

The Diner's Vegan & Vegetarian Menu is presently available at its Dalston, Islington, Spitalfields and Strand restaurants, with plans to launch the menu more widely.

The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu The Diner: Vegan Menu

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