There’s been a dramatic increase in new restaurants from across the pond on our shores, in recent years.
Nowhere more so than in London, which has now become an official hotbed for US-style dining and authentic food inspired by our cousins on the far side of the Atlantic; today there is a mouthwatering selection of traditional and upcoming ventures serving the best in everything BIG: whether it be burgers, bourbon or a bit of Bruce Springsteen!
Home to the hottest burger in town, Meat Liquor brings an edgy New York vibe to London’s West End. You’ll smell the sizzling hamburgers before you see the hordes of people queuing (thanks to a no-reservations policy) outside this unassuming-looking doorway; inside, red lighting and splashes of red paint across the walls are unapologetically reminiscent of an abattoir. Fabulous cocktails are served in jam jars, while greasy servings of chilli fries, deep-fried pickles and monumental burgers are slammed down on your table on cafeteria trays with neither plates nor pomp. A must-see.
A new addition to the vibrant Haggerston area, this American-run brunch and dinner joint is already popular with the hip East London masses who gather outside on the picnic tables. Inside, mismatched furniture and an open kitchen give a definite Brooklyn vibe. American beer and cider are served at the bar, while the restaurant serves up excellent blueberry pancakes with syrup for brunch and juicy ribs for dinner amongst other all-American treats.
Another place where you’ll have to queue (we thought the English were all about the queuing?), Spuntino is worth the wait. An unmarked door and perfectly distressed interior scream expensive grunge and the food, served in admittedly tiny portions, fits the atmosphere perfectly. Delectably rare sliders (mini burgers), crispy shoestring fries and crispy salads were all delicious; a truffled toast with egg was fabulous. Our tip? Avoid the queues by heading there for lunch.
This Islington institution has everything an American dive bar should have. Ear-splittingly loud ACDC and Bruce Springsteen? Check. Cracked red leather bar stools and booths? Check. Incredible martinis and whiskey sours? Check. Bras hanging from the ceiling? There’s an extra. The friendly bar staff and L.A. vibe just add to the super-fun atmosphere of this joint which can’t be beat for a night of drinks and dancing.
More queuing still – on our visit at 7.30 a guy told us he had been waiting since 5:30 for a table – but there’s no snobbishness at this super-hip joint, which famously offers only three options on the menu. Staff will take your name so you can go for a drink elsewhere while you wait though, and a wannabe diner who told door staff, “I’m here in London for one night and I have money to spend!” was thankfully turned away. “Once you’re in, expect super-friendly USA-style service. Our waitress was so friendly she actually came to say goodbye after she finished her shift.
With three options at £20 each (the burger, lobster or lobster roll), each came served with fries and salad, not to mention a bib and utensils to get the amazing lobster out of the claws. The glorious unbaked cheesecake lived up to the hype – we were even given a freebie to the birthday girl in our clan. Well worth the wait.