Located in the heart of Covent Garden lies the reincarnated ‘Diana’s Diner’, which until Wednesday evening had closed its doors for good. Historically known for being a popular greasy spoon owned by a buxom red head, what has been re-established couldn’t be further from its heritage. At least on the surface anyway, as despite the chic ‘low key, high end’ ambiance, a hint of the infamous Diana remains. Whether it be the dimmed lights and sexy pop-up art splashed boldly across the walls, or the lipstick kiss prints pressed onto their menus and marketing. Hence the insiders nickname… Dirty Diana’s.
On arrival, we were warmly greeted by owners James Bulmer and Matt Tebbutt, who were only too happy to walk us through Diana’s journey. Executive Chef Chen Ng is the creative mind behind the menu- Savoy trained but with a passion for exceptional, explosive food that can be created in the back of a van following a stint doing just that in Singapore, Chen’s food was exceptional. James and Matt had fallen in love with the history that Diana had brought to the space. I quote, “why try to make history when it is already made for you?”. Following Chen’s lead with the inspired street food menu, they have created a classic drinks menu, including cocktails and champagne (sponsored by Lanson). This combination, located in the most historic part of the Capital City is set to be a huge hit.
We sampled six dishes, all of which will be included on the menu from Saturday evening. Halloumi skewers with a pomegranate salsa, deep fried chicken balls with a fiery dipping sauce, prawns served with whole roasted garlic cloves, gyoza stuffed with shitake mushrooms and chicken served with a soy dip, pumpkin and rye bread with Chen’s guacamole (my highlight), and a prawn dog. Yes, you heard right- a juicy prawn encased in light, crisp batter on a stick. What had the potential to go so wrong absolutely wowed us. This food is also champagnes best friend- dry and crisp Lanson was a perfect partner for the bold, moreish flavors- trust us. The menu will have six £5 dishes, six £6 dishes and six £7 dishes- perfect if you are as indecisive as I am and suffer excruciating food envy- go with a group and you will have the opportunity to try most of the menu.
Needless to say, the opening was a massive success. I left feeling as though I understood the concept, where it fits into the market and exactly why history is set to re-write itself.