It’s October. It’s cold, the leaves are rotting and it’s dark by 4pm. The urge is to scurry home after work to burrow under a mountain of throw pillows and watch reruns of Frasier with the curtains drawn, chortling to yourself as you empty another bag of Doritos. On one such night I made plans to go to American diner Stax Diner, the main menu draw being the Fried Chicken and Waffles. I almost lost my nerve when I was there but thank God I didn’t. This is one of dishes I’ve fantasised about but never actually tried. Would it live up to my expectations? Would my fried chicken dreams be dashed? Well, the fried chicken is deliciously seasoned and de-boned, served on top of a crispy waffle. The maple syrup comes in a little dish on the side. OMG. It was so satisfying. It fulfilled all of my southern fried chicken and waffle fantasies. The Deep South by way of Carnaby Street, London. I didn’t even have to wear my George Bush mask.
I haven’t seen Cajun popcorn shrimp on the menu since I dined at Red Lobster in the 1990s. These were surprisingly juicy and nicely battered and came with a mayonnaise-based dip. Served in what was charmingly described as a “bucket” so it’s perfect for pretending to feed at a fancy trough.
The classic “Cheeseburger in Paradise” comes with your choice of American, Mild or Mature Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Stilton for the truly evolved cheese-chomper. This was described as being even better than Patty & Bun‘s cheeseburger. And it looked like a normal-sized – one that you could actually fit in your mouth. I never understood the appeal of a towering burger that you couldn’t even bite into without an industrial-sized waterproof bib.
“The Chickadee” is a towering behemoth of buttermilk marinated fried chicken breast on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo. This was a bit hard to fit into your mouth with one bite but worth the effort. Stax Diner really know how to treat a fried chicken fiend.
Boardwalk Fries- hot and crispy and nicely seasoned. I’m really beginning to only like heavily seasoned, salted fries. I’m really growing as a person.
Most of their drinks are bourbon-based and I made the mistake of ordering one, thinking that maybe it could be something I could get into. Unfortunately I still don’t like bourbon. Served in jam jars obviously. I wish they had vodka-based cocktails but you can’t have everything. Much to my surprise, Stax Diner is the creation of Virginia-born Bea Vo – she of the famous Bea’s of Bloomsbury cake shop and tearoom. One of the few places in London where you can get fried chicken and waffles – instantly making it one of my favourite haunts.
1.7 Kingly Court - Carnaby
London W1B 5PW