The Electric Diner

Open Mon–Thur 8am–midnight, and Fri–Sun 8am–1am

I’m not sure why the Electric restaurant decided to abandon its brasserie status and become a diner. But I’m not sure I mind.

I liked the old pre-fire Electric. I liked the decoratively tiled front terrace where we would drink espressos and smoke Marlboro Lights. And I liked their steak bearnaise, which is fortunate, as it’s endured and remains on the diner menu. I have many fond memories of first dates, last dates, long lost catch-ups and meals on Mummy at the brasserie.

As a diner, the Electric stands out from the vast sea of decent French/ Mediterranean restaurants in Notting Hill. Although queues for a table are now even longer, it has a faster, younger, more care-free atmosphere.

I like the spacious booths, and the industrial paint-stripped, mottled brick walls. I like the comfortable upholstery. But I don’t like the thin-beamed, NYC subway style curved ceiling. I’m not a fan of low ceilings anywhere, and I find it makes the diner feel cramped and contrived.

Diner menus aren’t organised by course, something I find novel in a British restaurant. There’s something liberating about picking and choosing with no regard for order or the timing of other people’s plates. The diner menu is remarkably well priced. Although the old brasserie and new diner’s dishes are too different to compare, the price of a meal seems considerably lower post-refurb.

The food was spectacular. Although the ‘Strong Drinks’ menu was capsule, to say the least. I prefer more variation in a cocktail list, but here we have a diner not a cocktail bar, and upstairs is where you do your drinking. I had the rather exquisite salmon rillette with crème fraiche (£7), and the equally brilliant sea bass, capers and lemon (£14). The Actor had the bone marrow with beef cheek marmalade (£11) and the raw vegetable, apple, blue cheese and walnut salad (£8). I asked for a mojito but for some reason was brought the Root To Mule – a Bombay Sapphire, lime, honey, and Gentleman’s Wit concoction (£8). It wasn’t that it was bad, but rather that I was expecting a mojito. I washed it down with a Hemingway Daiquiri, a fragrant Bacardi Superior, lime, Maraschino and grapefruit blend (£8), which was far less disappointing. The Actor had the Grey Goose Le Fizz – Grey Goose, elderflower, lime and soda. Simple and perfectly balanced. All in all we had a lovely meal. A product of cheery attentive service, decent portions, and interesting, subtle flavours.

The menu in the upstairs Members’ Bar is equally impressive. Quick, varied, accessible and appealing, perfect for when you’ve stayed later than intended and missed dinner. N.B After the last refurb it’s even more popular and tables get snapped up faster than you can snap your fingers. If you’re yearning for a leisurely meal, you might have less elbows nudging and brushing past you downstairs.

A few days later I popped back in to the diner to sample breakfast. I like to think of myself as an eggs benedict aficionado, and I was not disappointed. The eggs were perfectly poached, the spinach wilted to perfection and the hollandaise sauce had just the right amount of bite. I took a veggie girlfriend who had the Vegetarian Breakfast (£11). Said friend normally has the appetite of a sparrow, but cleared the full plate of full English before we’d even started gossiping. I’ve discovered few better ways to start the day than with fresh mint tea (£3), eggs benedict (£9) and an Americano (£3) at The Electric Diner.

The Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road, London, W11;; 020 7908 9696

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