45 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1M 5RS, 020 7065 6810, www.gntrbt.com
C’mon guys, where’s the fricken robot? If you’re going to call a place ‘Giant Robot’ you’ve gotta have a big old metal beastie in there somewhere. On further questioning, it seems like this Match Bar facelift was named for a robot that appeared in the square opposite for a while, before marching off to terrorise biological lifeforms elsewhere.
So, there is no robot in Giant Robot, but there are plenty of other attractions. Not least some tasty old balls, giant prawns (almost as good as a robot) and cucumber flavoured water.
This diner used to be the dark and very turn-of-the-century Match bar, but is now transformed into a retro-futuristic American diner. I sat through lunch half expecting Robby the Robot to brink me my spaghetti and meatballs.
While the décor is definitely a fifties-come-noughties take on a space-age diner, the food is more Italian than American. Sure there’s a nod to US fare with sliders (essentially a mini burger in a tiny bun) but the menu is liberally peppered with pasta, crostini and salumi.
We, that is Meemalee, Vachonline, Sarahbb1 and I, settled on the house pasta – a pesto and pinenut tossed linguini, a roast butternut squash and ricotta tortellini, the spaghetti meatballs and – because essentially we’re gluttons – a plate of five massive prawns.
Despite my initial scepticism, they won me round with the meatballs, although I though six small meatballs for a tenner was verging on the over priced, they were moist and tasty, slightly bouncy and full of flavour.
The pastas were all cooked al dente and were satisfyingly toothsome without setting the world alight. They were presented beautifully and the fillings were tasty, although i am pretty certain the advertised purple sprouting was in fact regular broccoli.
The prawns, although expensive at something like a fiver per prawn were very well cooked and very tasty, covered in a finger licking chilli and garlic sauce. And my word, they were big – crustaceous mutants, I kept an eye on them in case they came to life and made a bid for world domination.
I’d come again despite thinking the food is a little over priced because it’s a fun experience and the service is good. And they flavour their table water with cucumber. I love that.
Lunch with water came to about £15 each.