Sunday, 30 April 2017


Joe Allen opened 40 years ago following the success of its American sister restaurant and it has been a hit ever since. If you are going to the theatre, it has always been one of the places to dine. The venue is filled with theatre memorabilia (we loved ticking off all the shows we had seen on the back of the menu), the waiters are wannabe actors and the casts of the shows regularly frequent the restaurant. I loved that at 17.45 the restaurant was practically full to the brim and had a great buzzy atmosphere. 

We were immediately shown to our table and it bought back memories of my last trip to Joe Allen's over 20 years ago (eeek I am getting old)! I made my daughter Arabella order a Shirley Temple as that was my old favourite.

The menu is typically American - ribs, salads, chicken, steaks, eggs - a lot to choose from. We decided to start with crispy squid and tortilla chips with guacamole. 

The food came out very quickly. I was expecting more from the squid, it didn't taste particularly fresh and was quite chewy however we were all fighting over the tortilla chips and guacamole, it was delicious. Arabella licked the bowl clean!!

They had a great children's menu with all the usual suspects and it was no surprise to any of us that Arabella went for mac and cheese. The portion size was quite large for a kids' menu but we weren't complaining as it meant we could all tuck in and together we polished the creamy, cheesy dish off.

I completely forgot about the secret burgers that are off menu and so instead went for "Mac Ragu" which is a combination of beef and pork ragu with mac and cheese and my husband Pascal ordered crispy pork belly with spicy Boston beans.

We enjoyed the mac ragu but in our opinion it wasn't cheesy enough and was a little dry. Once we added a couple of spoonfuls of Arabella's mac and cheese, it was perfect. The crispy pork on the other hand was amazing, the pork was soft and succulent whilst crispy on the top and we loved the beans which I am happy to report weren't spicy at all. 

Despite being fit to burst, I still wanted a pudding so I encouraged Arabella to order the knickerbocker brownie from the children's menu. I was expecting something small but instead was presented with a huge sundae of ice cream, sorbet, chocolate, cream, brownie and caramel sauce - Heaven!!

I wonder how big the adult one is...I might have to research it one day, along with the secret burgers!!

Once I had scoffed the ice cream sundae, we ordered the bill and we were very pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the evening was - it made me like the restaurant even more. I was sad to leave as I loved listening to the pianist playing but it was time to hotfoot it to the theatre. 

If you are looking for a show, go and see School of Rock - it is AMAZING. The kids play all their own instruments and are outstanding - I am hoping it might encourage Arabella to practise her flute!!

Joe Allen

13 Exeter Street
Tel: 020 7836 0651

Square Meal
Joe Allen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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