After performing a quick survey (asking two friends), I was astonished to discover that a large proportion of Oxford-dwellers have not tried the Atomic Burger breakfast menu. As I gasped in shock at the revelation of this fact, I was even more disturbed to hear that for some students, who are not lucky enough to live near Cowley, the proportion of time that they spend in Atomic Burger altogether is dangerously low. For those of you who are not even familiar with the supreme institution that is Atomic Burger, a small proportion I hope, let me enlighten you.
To simply label it an American-diner themed restaurant would be somewhat misleading. Tucked away behind a cute white picket fence (think Desperate Housewives), Atomic Burger certainly fits into the diner category of restaurants, but is so much more than that. Step inside, and you are transformed into a world of comic book characters, ‘80’s nostalgia and most importantly, of course, delicious food. The walls are lined with old-school memorabilia, superhero figures hang innocuously from the ceiling and a large projector provides entertainment while you wait, playing clips from cult classics such as The Breakfast Club, rather fitting for my latest meal at Atomic Burger.Considering it to be my civic duty, I took it upon myself to acquaint the aforementioned friends of mine to the Atomic Burger breakfast. Being a seasoned diner, I talked them through the menu. On offer – a selection of typically American breakfasts, from buttermilk pancakes (available with either just maple syrup or with your choice out of a chocolate chips or blueberrys) to the ‘Judd Nelson Breakfast Burger’ which is essentially a fry-up in a pancake bun. For those who prefer a lighter breakfast, it is also possible to order a simple bowl of imported American cereal, with my favourite being Lucky Charms.
On this occasion, I opted for the chocolate chip ‘Snoopy & Woodstock Pancakes’ with a side of homefries. As my meal arrived, I was disappointed by the apparent small portion-size, but soon discovered that the quantity I was given was more than enough. The pancakes were light and fluffy, living up to my expectations, but it was the homefries that really caught my attention. These perfectly seasoned potatoes may not have complemented my meal all that well, but they would be the first thing that I recommend to any potential visitor. I finished off my meal with a chocolate ‘thick shake’, which left me struggling to move but was very much worth it. Other recommendations from past experience include opting for the decently priced bottomless coffee, perfect if you are hoping to tackle an essay crisis after this morning treat. However, the one and only time I have left Atomic Burger disappointed was when I sampled the ‘Huevos Rancheros’ Mexican breakfast consisting of a tortilla served with eggs, refried beans, salsa and jalapeños, a dish that I found to be too ‘saucy’ for breakfast.
It is not just the food, but also the fact that the restaurant does not take itself too seriously, that keeps me coming back. Friendly staff, fun atmosphere, and the nostalgic surroundings make the dining experience all the more enjoyable even in the late-morning. Now serving breakfast from 10am-12pm daily, I would highly recommend that you try the Atomic Burger breakfast. Although it is usually very busy on weekends, the breakfast here serves as the perfect start to a lazy Sunday. But be advised to book in advance.
Price: A bit more than you would expect to pay for breakfast at around £5-£8 for a main
Service: Very friendly, usually fairly swift