Angel City Diner
The American diner is an icon of both the country’s social and culinary heritage. To understand what this kind of restaurant is about we first need to explore its origins. Initially they were horse drawn wagons equipped to sell food. At the beginning of the 20th century they became stationary and were often fabricated of steel in one area and shipped to where the purchaser wanted to establish a restaurant. Sometimes when a railway dining car was no longer fit for service, they were used to create a diner at a (stationary) location near a train station or along the side of the tracks.
Because they were portable, the original diners were narrow as they had to be transported down roads or railway tracks. Their interiors reflected their narrow and elongated shape with a service counter and floor mounted stools dominating the interior along with a preparation area against the back wall behind the counter.
Today most people thing of a diner as a 1950s fast food restaurant with stainless steel panels, porcelain enamel, glass blocks, terrazzo floors, Formica and lots of neon sign trim. The Angel City Diner is modelled on a 1950s diner and has all the necessary style elements.
Diners almost invariably serve American-style food such as hamburgers, french fries, club sandwiches, and other simple fare. Much of the food is grilled, as early diners were based around a grill. There is often an emphasis on breakfast foods such as eggs (including omelette’s), waffles, pancakes, and French toast. Some diners serve these “breakfast foods” throughout the business day. Many diners have transparent display cases in or behind the counter for the desserts. It is common with new diners to have the desserts displayed in rotating pie cases.
It’s amazing how authentically the Angel City Diner has created a 1950s feel. The décor is a perfect fit, with a black and white chequered floor, turquoise walls, sculpted bronze ceiling and seating in booths covered with maroon and white striped vinyl. Walking in there is a senses of wow, just as if walking onto the film set of Grease. They understand the DNA of the true blue 50’s era American dinner, it must serve delicious tasting honest American food to the sounds of classic Rock n’Roll while seated in a family size booth. A soda fountain and an open kitchen are a must.
Not only must the food be authentic but also the music and the means by which its played. The Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation founded in 1927 was a top maker of jukeboxes. A no expense spared a genuine multi coloured, brightly lit Rock-Ola Bubbler was imported from the States with 1000’s of tracks from 50’s and 60’s music by artists ranging from Elvis to Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison and on to Fats Domino. For groups seated in the booths its not always easy to get up and walk over to the Juke Box to select a favourite tune. That is why each booth has a wallette, simply put a THB 5 coin in the slot, select two tracks and they will be placed in the queue to be played on the Juke Box.
“When we came up with this concept we focused on three time zones in our 24 hour operation,” says Executive Chef Matt Rubens. “They are breakfast, daytime dining for families and pre and post clubbing. Sukhumvit Soi 11 was an obvious choice.”
“When I was putting the menu together,” he says, “I wanted dishes from east to the west coast of the United States. Our beef and cheeses are all imported from Australia, to ensure a truly authentic American flavour our policy is to work with high quality ingredients and sell our food at an affordable price. Likewise to ensure we keep that commitment, our corned beef and pastrami is made in house. “
I started with the diner’s Monte Christo sandwich, an American take on the French Croque Monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The American variation uses French toast with an additional filling of turkey and and Swiss cheese. The French is more savoury this is more sweet with a garnish of cinnamon apple jam. I also tried a Reuben, a homemade corned beef melted Swiss cheese and a horseradish heavy Russian dressing served on toasted rye bread and served hot.
Burgers are their best selling food item. The Angel burger is made with a 200gm Australian Angus patty, ground to the same recipe for all Eclipse outlets to ensure authenticity. Its topped with bacon, blue cheese, caramelised onions,tomato and mayo with melted cheddar and Swiss cheese.
They also have a Thai menu were the taste is authentic for local customers and the rest of the menu is to satisfy the American palette.
Angel City Diner
Ground Fl, The Prime 11
Sukhumvit Soi 11
Visa, MasterCard and Amex at no extra charge
Average price THB 350