Trinity Buoy Wharf
64 Orchard Place
Tel: 07950 943402
Maple Mess Pancakes: £7.50*
Passion Storm Smoothie: £3.50*
Today’s post comes from Fatboy’s Diner at Trinity Buoy Wharf. For those not in the know – and I wasn’t – this area was once home to London’s shipbuilders, the ghosts of which linger in the area undergoing regeneration so that noble trades can be replaced by smug Espresso joints, galleries specialising in bits of metal in the shape of a duck and apartments that only those involved in drug trafficking can possibly afford. Initially I found the area rather depressing, as though frivolity had replaced the hard work and world-conquering technology on which an empire had once flourished. Then I remembered that our decline came long before hipsters and babyccinos, and at least we were no longer marching into countries demanding tiffin and all their natural resources, so that brief burst of patriotism lasted as long as it took to read the dessert menu. Just as well really. This is, after all, a food blog, not a Jeremy Paxman documentary analysing why Britain has only produced Ed Sheeran and Reggae Reggae Sauce in the last twenty years.
And so I head to Fatboy’s, eager for old school Americana of the Norman Rockwell / American Graffiti variety, nostalgic for a culture I wasn’t born into, have no links to and which I suspect only ever existed in episodes of Happy Days. Firstly, I need to point out that Fatboy’s isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. This has less to do with its location as it is to do with Google Maps instructing me down a dual carriageway nowhere near my destination once I hit Canning Town. But I persevered, and despite some initial misgivings (squashed food on the floor; menus flying around whenever a gust of wind came through the door; Del Shannon stuck awkwardly between TLC and Duran Duran on a genre-confused playlist etc.) I really liked it.
Brought over from Georgetown, Massachusetts, the trailer is exactly what the mind conjures when picturing a typical American diner, complete with ripped leather stools, tiled booths and the sizzle of bangers and burgers frying on a griddle. I sat at the counter so I could watch all the hot buns and beef action and take pictures of pancake batter bubbling and blistering into existence (a word of caution for vegetarians: all the food is prepared on a single griddle given a cursory scrape with a spatula, so if you think fruity pancakes are a good alternative to the multitude of meat on the menu, the chances are they will have been partially coated in beef fat and bacon grease before they reach you).
I opted for a mug of builders tea and the “Maple Mess” pancakes, complete with maple syrup, crispy streaky bacon and…er, whipped cream. If it seems like a weird combination you can always opted for ice cream instead, but somehow the idea of hot smoky bacon and freezing cold ice cream doesn’t hold much appeal, no matter what Heston Blumenthal might say to the contrary. The pancakes – roughly the size of four small side plates – are fluffy, light and utterly perfect, while the combination of bacon, syrup and cream works surprisingly well.
If I have one complaint it is that one tiny container of maple syrup simply isn’t enough for the job at hand. In all my experience with pancakes (and the quest for the perfect stack has been trundling on for more years then my waist cares to remember) you rarely get the 2 litre jug of syrup required to drench the things adequately, and when you’re reduced to pouring little puddles onto the side of the plate so it isn’t instantly absorbed into the pancakes you lose most of the taste and a lot of the fun. Fortunately I am incredibly cheeky and not overly concerned with the state of my teeth, so it wasn’t long before I was pestering the waiter for extra containers and dousing the plate in a sea of syrup. For balance I also ordered a “Passion Storm” smoothie, loaded with papaya, pineapple, peaches and other healthy things beginning with ‘P’ to keep the alliterative rhythm flowing. All in all, a fun place with good food and a great atmosphere. And now, time for a song: Sunday, Monday, happy days; Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days…
*Prices/information correct as of 19.10.19
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