Review of Honky Tonk, Chelsea, London
Honky Tonk is Shoreditch meets Kings Road, within an affluent area in London the diner’s ambience is a retro vibe with a modern streak.
The bar is country modest feel, red bricked walls and varnished wooden bar counter top oozing coyote ugly with a contemporary edge.
The dining area was a total 180 in comparison; a darkened lit greasy spoon cafe interior, mis-matched chairs and school canteen tables litter the room.
Leather booths are available for bigger parties. The walls decor is simple with vinyl records and framed retro posters.
The cocktails sounded incredible but I’m not a gin or whiskey drinker and was disappointed that were no vodka or non alcoholic cocktails available
The starters were spectacular; the smashed crunchy thin nachos of 3 tiered layers filled with fresh chunky guacamole, melted mature cheese, tangy tomato salsa and hot sour jalapeños.
The hollowed out potato skins filled with beans and topped with cheese and sour cream were immense.
The Honky Tonk burger and rosemary infused chips were served on a long skinny wooden board, the food just about fitted on it however it did start to get messy.
I asked for my burger to be cooked medium but it was more well done as the 7oz meat patty was slightly dry and not as juicy as I expected. The toasted bun was cold and it pains me to say it was stale. One bite and it began to fall apart, I could only eat half of it. The caramelised onions and salty bacon flavours were lost within the burger due to the overloaded lettuce. The portion was certainly a Man Vs Food size, fantastic for any carnivore but slightly too large for me.
The chips were presented in a mini wired pot, crispy outside and fluffy interior was perfect however I couldn’t pick up the rosemary taste.
The mac and cheese was creamy and light, the tubed pasta was soft and not el dente. The cheese sauce was quite runny (milk like) and not as rich and gooey I’d hoped and lacked seasoning. The porcini mushrooms were a delicious delicate flavour to the mac and cheese.
The individual apple pie was a splendid! soft crumbly pastry casing with a cinnamon sugar apple diced pieces was complete was heaven.
Honky Tonk was certainly an interesting experience, on the one hand it’s a kooky, vintage, American diner as well as an upscale burger joint. I do see the similarities and influence of the New York diner Katz and a mid town bar you might stumble upon in Greenwich Village.
The place was absolutely packed! I recommend to book in advance to avoid being turned away.
Here comes the disappointment: The presentation of the food was messy with random watercress garnish on every dish inc dessert. For £14.95 I expect the creme de la creme of burgers but for me it was down the chain compared to other London burgers I’ve sampled.
There was a lack of vegetarian options on the menu, a veggie burger, chilli con carne made with soya meat would be great in keeping with the Southern/ Mexican themed food.
Our waitress was very attentive and efficient however I couldn’t help feel slightly uncomfortable and awkward with her whole midriff on show. No matter what kind of restaurant staff should still dress modestly and professionally – this is not Hooters!. She also kept putting her notebook down the back of her jeans – cheek to pad- completely unhygienic as she also served our food to us.
Honky Tonk is definitely a buzzing, trendy diner in an area that’s filled with chains and pubs – refreshing to say the least. It has tremendous potential to be a fantastic burger bar but with Byron burger not too far away with cheaper high quality meat on offer it’s not that hard to choose between the two.
If you want to try a diner with a difference then Honky Tonk is the place for you, their desserts are divine and it’s brilliant to have Hoxton coolness in West London.