Pre-theatre supper can be a bit ‘hit and miss’ as eating with one eye on the clock is never a good idea.
I was very busy at work so was delighted when my husband offered to book somewhere for a quick bite before going to see the wonderful Felicity Kendal in Hay Fever (a must for Noel Coward fans) provided that I did not micro-manage him….
I left my office on Southbank in a somewhat frazzled state but was soothed by my walk across Waterloo Bridge on a sunny London evening. I had paid little attention to where we were going to eat (most out of character) but when I looked up the address of Joe’s Southern Kitchen + Bar it brought a smile to my face. Its location on King Street, Covent Garden was a few doors away from the law firm where we first met! The evening was off to a good start.
I was greeted by the lovely Dwayne Brooks who seated me at table by the window. I had a good view of the diner with its endless bar, exposed brickwork and industrial style décor. The former warehouse has a double height ceiling and at six thirty was already filling up with the post work crowd and tourists. I spotted Ed Balls at the bar. Was he contemplating his next move?
I sipped a watermelon martini brimming with the taste of summer while I studied the menu. Joe’s promises to bring the taste of America’s Deep South to London so this is not a place for those of you on a carb free day. Classic dishes include corn bread, demi-brioche buns with various fillings, gumbo, ribs, and the ironically named (?) Joe’s Prison Plate of pulled pork and beans.
We started with surprisingly hot stuffed jalapeno peppers that woke up our taste buds, delicious Cajun shrimp in a black bean stew and southern fried wings glazed with honey and Tabasco.
The signature dish is Joe’s southern fried chicken and Dwayne explained that they have changed the recipe to it give a fresher flavour. The birds are soaked in tea brine for 24 hours and are seasoned with lemon “dust”. Our verdict was that the chicken was succulent and tasty, properly coated with a light batter and nicely accompanied by our sides of crunchy coleslaw, mac and cheese and bitter collard greens that offset the sweetness of the chicken. To embrace the spirit of the South we tried the corn bread but it was too gooey for my liking (unlike the Lockhart’s rendition of this staple).
We didn’t have time for dessert but promised to try them on a return visit. For those visiting for a weekday lunch there is a Big Plate Special of chicken, fries and BBQ pulled pork beans with a lager or glass of wine for a tenner.
I recommend Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar for great Southern food. Drinks are reasonably priced, the food is well prepared and the atmosphere is fun. If Dwayne is there you will be guaranteed great service. Kids will love it too.
34 King Street, London WC2E 8JD
020 7240 4008 http://joessouthernkitchen.co.uk
Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ restaurant reviewer. Nuzy lives in
Marylebone with her husband and seven year old son. She is a technology
lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more
than trying out restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us
and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.