In which the pudding carousel's still turning



It’s not very often that Worthing pops up in my Twitter feed. Usually because I follow 90s hero Dave Benson Phillips, or because my dad is plugging his comedy nights (Matt’s Comedy Club, Worthing’s premier/only comedy club – you should all go).

But this week I was alerted by a non-resident to something I didn’t even know about my hometown - that alongside the swish new swimming pool and distinctly above-average H&M, it can currently boast ‘Wimpy of the Year’ on Chapel Road. Wimpy of the Year! I know, I’d forgotten it existed too.

But it turns out there are still 220 of them in the UK, mainly concentrated around Surrey, Sussex, Essex and London. Despite not having eaten there since I was yea high to a seagull’s eye, Wimpy Worthing has stolen my heart from afar because it has one of the loveliest examples of a branded Facebook page I have seen in a long time. And that is coming from someone who spends half her day job working on branded Facebook pages.

I bid you, go and join the page immediately. Meet managers Nick and Charlie, marvel at the height of their rocky road sundaes, enter their competition to win a bottle of special sauce (the fewer questions asked the better) by guessing how many tables the restaurant has, and succumb to their home-fried charms.

“Have you tried one of our fantastically refreshing cheese toasties?” they ask. “No!” I cry back to the screen, “but boy, do I want to now!”

There are many other things to love about Wimpy too. The blithe optimism of a company that subtitles itself, “The Home of Fresh-Cooked, Nutritional Meals” above a picture of a burger with cheesy nachos and sour cream on top just has to be admired.

When I was young, I remember my mum considering Wimpy a more refined alternative to McDonalds, based mainly around the face they gave you actual cutlery and had that nice rotating dessert carousel. Puddings taste better when you’ve studied them intensely from all angles first, obviously.

Plus, I’m suffering from gourmet fast food fatigue syndrome. In a year where every variation on artery-blocking, truffle-infused, peanut butter-slathered, bone marrow-smeared ‘dirty’ burgers and hot dogs under the sun have been peddled through the London food scene to the point where I generally book myself two hours after lunch to lie on the floor, quietly groaning and rubbing my belly, there’s something so appealing about a nice, simple plate of calories without any trendy connotations.

So Nick and Charlie, if you’re reading this – save me a nacho burger, hash browns and a hot chocolate with cream on top. I’m coming to Wimpy Worthing next time I’m home, and I want the works.Diary of