We’ve long heard stories about Warsaw Diner and its legendary breakfast menu, however they only serve until midday and, as we are chronically lazy people at the weekend, we’re not usually out and about before lunch. However, after a recent holiday a bout of jet lag had us sat bolt upright at such an ungodly hour on a Saturday that we were able to check it out. Silver linings.
We were encouraged by the number of diners in the diner (?!), it was packed to the rafters and there were people queuing for tables, which raised our expectations further. The place is kitted out like a traditional 50s American diner – bit strange considering the owner’s Polish heritage – but it’s quirky and certainly more inviting than your standard greasy spoon. It was also interesting to see such a mix of people there, from gangs of students to families and couples.
I ordered the ‘Bad-ass breakfast’ (cos I can handle it) which comprised of 2 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 eggs any style (I opted for fried), hash browns, mushrooms and 2 pancakes. This also came with a glass of OJ and botomless tea for £7.95. Emily did a design-your-own style brekkie and ordered an english muffin with 2 poached eggs, bacon and a sausage. It was only after we ordered we clocked a separate menu for a Polish sausage (which appears to be the only nod to the Warsaw part of the name). It’s unfortunate we didn’t notice this or the server didn’t mention it as we both would have upgraded. We wanted to grab a server and quickly add it but the two running around looked so fraught with the sheer volume of customers that we couldn’t flag either down.
Our food arrived after a long wait looking substantial so we tucked in straight away… mine did look considerably less, well, sad than Emily’s.
The highlight of my plate was the hash brown. I’m not a big fan of the deep fried block of potato that passes for hash-brown nowadays, but this was proper hash: grated potato with onion fried perfectly with a crispy top and a soft middle. The bacon was nice and not overly cooked, which I appreciate as I prefer my bacon not crispy. One issue I had was the pancakes, which I never normally order as I don’t think it goes well with a breakfast especially when covered in maple syrup – just my personal taste – so I would have liked the option to swap them for toast. The only other problem were the sausages, the quality of meat was not good – they tasted so cheap and snidy that it made the regret of not ordering the Polish version all the harder to accept.
Emily’s non bad-ass breakfast was just ok. It arrived looking a bit pathetic and anaemic with the poachers, having been cooked in a mold, taking on that strange plasticy look. Although coated in oil (Emily ordered poached to be healthier than fried, typical) they were gooey in the middle and tasted better than they looked. The bacon was enjoyable, but there’s that rubbish sausage again. This wasn’t better than a greasy spoon but twice the price so we were disappointed here.
So overall, it was fine – but we didn’t go to the Warsaw Diner for fine. The hype unfortunately didn’t seem justified as the food didn’t live up to the legend, for us. It wasn’t the best breakfast we’ve ever had, but passable if you’re in the area and you won’t leave hungry. We’re still curious to as why it’s so popular – maybe it’s that Polish sausage!
Overall score: 5/10
Atmosphere and surroundings: 8/10
Emily and Stu