Tuesday 2nd July - I booked myself plus Lucy and Coral, who haven't appeared on the List for a very long time, in to Joe's Southern Kitchen and Bar on King Street in Covent Garden. Everything was 50% off (drinks included) for the two day soft launch period, but I was sadly feeling a bit under the weather so didn't manage to capitalise on their generosity. It used to be Navajo Joe's, which I never made it to, so I can't comment on how much it has changed its appearance. The menu is filled with enticing dishes, but the main show is Beer Can Chicken (pictured below). As you can see, the chicken is actually cooked with a beer can inside it - it is, for obvious reasons often called Beer Butt Chicken!
Ours sadly arrived already carved so we didn't get to see it in all its glory - sneak round to the carving stations to have a look, or alternatively have a go at making it yourself! It could be even more fun if they let you choose what beer you want inside, as they have a great selection. We chose a few sides to go with it, the pick of which was the mac and cheese with spinach (pictured below).
The cocktail menu is extremely impressive and readable, and it took a lot of willpower to not order several of them, but I was sadly operating at about 10% as Lucy and Coral can confirm - my conversational skills were not on top form. Redneck Popper with bourbon, maple syrup, chocolate cookie syrup, milk, cream and coco pops sounds pretty ridiculous, though Dark and Smokey (mezcal based) sounded more up my street. There is a totally separate bar downstairs (which wasn't yet open) that you can access from the road that looks like a lot of fun. I had a sneaky peek on my way to the toilets which have a soothing Southern audio book playing as you use the facilities! I hope to return again soon operating at 100% so that I can truly appreciate everything that they have to offer, but I can already recommend it highly.
|Southern Joe's basement bar - not yet open when I visited|
Friday 5th July - The heatwave was just getting in to gear in time for the closing stages of Wimbledon, and I remember coming out of work and feeling that I had to go and watch Murray's semi final somewhere central with good atmosphere. I dragged future KSO leader Jason along, with the promise that we would get some food first. It was the opening weekend for Shake Shack and Five Guys Burgers so we decided to check out the queues for a laugh - they were ridiculous! Approaching 90 minutes for both of them, we obviously moved on to find something else. I returned a week or two later to the American burger rivals, when the queues were back to a normal size - more on that another time. We instead settled on Soho Diner (part of Soho House Group) which was also officially opening that evening. We waltzed straight in, and ordered a drink within seconds for an extremely friendly waiter who was on his best behaviour.
At first, we were glad to be out of the heat round the corner at the back of the restaurant, but the atmosphere wasn't quite the same as the front where the windows open out so you can do some Soho people watching. Our Philly Cheese Steaks were very nice, though they were outdone by the enormous and delicious portion of chips with aioli. The beer menu is strong, and cocktails are amusingly available on tap. To really get the diner vibe, I would lower the music a little, and turn the lights up a bit, but what do I know? I was hoping to find Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks sitting at the bar, eating cherry pie. Anyway, there's still plenty to like here, even without Kyle MacLachlan.
|OK, so that is Twin Peaks.|
Saturday 13th July - I was lucky enough to be treated to lunch at The Shed in Notting Hill, especially as it is towards the pricey end for The List. They have done a wonderful job making this place look rustic, and have made clever use of mirrors to make it seem bigger than it really is. The Shed menu changes every day depending on what Oliver and Richard Gladwin have sourced from their brother amongst others in Nutbourne, Sussex. Oliver then comes up with lots of exciting, small dishes which are best experienced with a tapas sharing approach. Do order a fair amount as portions are quite small - that said, we were eventually defeated, though not before we devoured the popular lamb chips (pictured below) which are the only constant on the menu. I won't go into detail about what else we ate as it probably won't be there again (or because it was nearly a month ago, and I have no menu to refresh my memory).
There are interesting drinks on offer - the "loosener" cocktail jug (different to Bloody Mary listed below) was very refreshing, and they have their own homemade craft lager available too. The service was superb throughout, and they were very child friendly, even if the menu is not. The bill does mount up, but the food is high quality, inventive stuff so it is worth it. I would suggest that they get slightly comfier chairs though, if they can find some that match their decor! Thanks to Leona for another lovely meal.
I still have a large July backlog after my trip to Cornwall, including a very late Feast writeup and the Team List verdict on Shake Shack and Five Guys, so expect a few quick posts this week. Here's what else is happening, or launching soon:
Get your tickets to crazy zombie experience "2.8 Hours Later" here before it sells out.
New restaurants on the block - Flesh and Buns, Smokehouse, Pizza Pilgrims, Casse Croute, Chop Shop - keep checking Hot Dinners "Opening Soon" page for the best chance of 50% off soft launch deals.
Other fun: Camden Beach, Camden Lock Night Market, Street Feast in their new home, The Pit, Urban Sessions.
Finally, big thanks to Square Meal for naming me *Blog of the Week* and amusingly calling me a foodie, rather than an increasingly fat and poor musician with too much time on his hands.