I suspect the reason Trinity Buoy Wharf remains under the radar – despite the fact it’s been home to the very cool Fatboy’s Diner for 12 years – is that it’s tricky to get to. It’s only a 10-minute walk from East India on the DLR, but it’s all a bit… ‘motorway’. So if you’re not driving, I’d advise hopping on a boat from North Greenwich Pier.
But it really is worth a visit. Everything here is cool. The Parkour Academy opened last year, there are arts centres, and Container City I and II pioneered the movement for creating affordable live/work spaces from old shipping containers. Back to Fatboy’s Diner – it’s all kinds of wonderful, with a whole lot of history.
The custom-made American diner was built in New Jersey in 1941, arriving in London in 1990. After spells in Bishopsgate and Spitalfields, where it made its name, Fatboy’s came to call Trinity Buoy Wharf home in 2002.
Despite it’s celebrity status (the diner has featured in films like Sliding Doors, Vogue photoshoots and music videos), the place is so relaxed it really is like stepping back in time. There’s the unmistakably 40s counter with red-topped stools, flashes of chrome, old jukeboxes on each table, and a distinct lack of people playing on their phones. Heck, we didn’t even Instagram our food.
I settled into a booth with a friend and the owner Ross was soon over to take our order. Having done more gawping and pointing than menu studying, we ordered a couple of thick, fabulous shakes – banana for me, vanilla malt for her – while we made some decisions. I went for the Hot, Fat & Wow, a whopper of a burger – 100% beef, topped with homemade chilli, cheese and onion – and my friend the Southern Dawg – two hotdogs, made from a ‘secret recipe’ of blended pork and beef, topped with tomato chilli, onion relish, sour cream and mustard. Both had a kick of heat, both were huge and messy, and both were delicious, accompanied by faultless sides of onion rings and fat fries.
A slice of blueberry pie for dessert, served with ice cream, cream and a thick, buttery, almondy pastry, rendered us immobile, but with a chilled-out vibe and views across the Thames, we were in no hurry to leave anyway.
Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place E14 OJW; 020 7987 4334; fatboysdiner.net