In the non-halal market arena, the popularity for American diner restaurants in London has seen significant growth, but for Muslim consumers, authentic American diner restaurants serving halal meat are still rare to come across.
Big Moe’s hit the halal scene around a decade ago with their Beckton branch, incorporating the drive-in concept synonymous with American Diners, finally providing halal food adventurers that nostalgic and authentic 1950’s American diner experience, which we had been yearning for. Big Moe’s has finally opened their second branch, located in Aldgate, which captures the spirit of the U.S. diner culture with a sleek classic 1950’s interior, outfitted with a counter, stools, mini jukebox, 1950’s vintage memorabilia and a show-stopping real 1950’s Chevrolet Bel-Air taking centre piece. A team of staff from a whopping 13 countries were involved in bringing their vision to life. The aesthetic of the 1950’s Diner era is so well captured that you’d be forgiven if you genuinely felt like you have stepped back in time.
For starters we ordered the family sharing platter consisting of BBQ Chicken Wings, Cheesy Garlic Bread, Stuffed Potato Skins, Mozzarella Sticks and Onion Rings. The chicken wings were well seasoned, mildly sticky with a delicious barbecue glaze. The wings were the most superlative component of this sharing platter, with the other elements either faring as average or mediocre. We found the batter on the onion rings to be too crispy for our liking and the potato skins appeared to be lacking seasoning. In our opinion, a mince meat topping on the potato skins to replace the cheesy mushrooms would truly transform the potato skins to something more appealing to the tastebuds. Nonetheless, the sharing platter is a copacetic option if you are dining in a group and want to sample a few dishes.
The Diner-mite Burger, consisted of two griddled beef patties, smoked chicken rashers, cajun onion rings, smokey barbeque sauce, griddled red onion, sun ripened tomato, fresh lettuce and topped with melted mature cheddar cheese. This personally is my favourite burger from Big Moe’s. The patty was seasoned exceptionally well, with a hint of spice emanating through. The patty was lovely and meaty, but it was cooked well done, thus not as succulent as I would have preferred. The smokey rashers were divine, with the addition of the caramelised onion and barbecue sauce adding greater depth of flavour. The onion rings, slightly diminished my burger delight, as the batter was slightly too thick for my liking, plus the onion rings lacked seasoning. Th sweet potato fries were good, however, a touch more seasoning would have transformed them into being magnificent.
The Tiger Prawns were coated in a deliciously spicy marinate with a perfect balance of Indian spices with a hint of chilli, giving the prawns a kick without overpowering the bold flavour of the marinate. We did find the prawns to be overcooked, perhaps to cater for Asian customers that generally like their prawns to be overcooked to the point of no return. We on the other hand, like our prawns succulent and juicy, which would have been achieved if these had been cooked for a mere few seconds. Despite the prawns being overcooked, the flavour was prominent and addictively delicious and had they been juicy, then they would have been sensational.
The Big Moe’s BBQ ribs; fire grilled and glazed with Big Moe’s barbecue sauce and served with cajun onion rings and Big Moe’s hand cut chips. The ribs, in the middle of the rack, was salaciously succulent, tender, sticky, smokey and sweet; truly divine. However, because it is beef ribs, there was copious amounts of fat, that was unpalatable. Also, the edges of the ribs were charred, making the beef dry and burnt. Personally, even though I enjoyed the ribs (where there was just meat), a lamb ribs option possibly would be a more pleasing alternative.
The hand-cut skin on the chips were rustic and gourmet in taste and exceptionally appetising.
The Big Moe’s Signature Sliders consist of a trio of their best burgers – Classic Beef, Diner-Mite and Texan Chicken Strip, all in freshly baked mini brioche buns. A great option if you cannot decide which burger to order.
If it came down to the taste test, the mini Diner-mite Burger would be the outright winner for us. The patty was well seasoned with the BBQ sauce adding richness. The classic beef burger was not really to our liking simply because we prefer additional flavours and textures that combine well together to give a truly gastronomic burger experience. Having said that, this is a burger that would appeal to those who prefer simple flavours.
For drinks we ordered the Oreo Milkshake and Freshly Squeezed Lemonade.
The Oreo Milkshake was of a very thick consistency that initially it felt like drawing up thick vanilla ice cream which inevitably got stuck in the straw. However, as the meal progressed, the milkshake had time to melt and once it was of a lighter consistency, the Oreo flavour was prominent and was a pleasant milkshake.
We tried all 3 flavours of Big Moe’s freshly squeezed lemonade – Original, Strawberry and Lime. The Lime was our favourite, followed closely by the strawberry, with the original, not quite to our liking. Both drinks were refreshing, with the lime and strawberry flavour respectively, coming through. These were great palate cleansers after such a hearty meal.
For dessert we ordered the Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae, a combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream, Cadbury’s flake, a selection of wafers and served with a special side of hot chocolate fudge sauce for pouring. This was a prodigious and outstanding dessert. The velvety gelato ice cream coated the palate with smooth chocolatey delight, the light and airy cream juxtaposed perfectly with the rich hot chocolate fudge sauce, which was gastronomically sensational.
We also ordered the Strawberry Chocolate Waffle – freshly made waffle, generously smothered with Nutella chocolate spread, then Layered with fresh strawberry slices topped with chocolate flakes and served with vanilla ice cream. The waffle was light and airy and indeed generously smothered in Nutella sauce, with the strawberry adding freshness against the rich Nutella.
With only one other halal American diner franchise in London, we believe Big Moe’s is a step above its rival in bringing a touch of the American diner culture to the UK halal market. The 1950’s authentic American diner concept is brought to life exceptionally well at Big Moe’s Aldgate branch that you are left with feelings of nostalgia and are transported back to a bygone era. Whether you like their take on American classics or not, Big Moe’s is certainly a place that would appeal to families with children. Although, some dishes performed better than others, the portions are hearty and there is a little something for everyone. Follow Big Moe’s 1950’s Halal Food Journey.
*We were invited to review.