Automat’s up-front American pose is too much for some (especially when the waiter’s opening gambit reminds you that you have exactly one hour to eat and go), but others are more forgiving of its brashness. The retro-diner vibe rings true with its ‘railway-carriage banquettes’, chequered floors and white-tiled walls, and it’s easy to imagine you’re grabbing a bite en route to Grand Central Station. The food is a homage to Americana, although we reckon it’s far from cheap (a plate of breakfast waffles with blueberries sets you back £10). Otherwise, the menu is all about reacquainting with old favourites – so recuperate over chicken noodle soup, indulge in steak tartare, chomp a burger or gorge on mac ‘n’ cheese. There’s also wild turbot steak with grilled asparagus if you fancy something flash. ‘Surly service’ is a bugbear.
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