Three animals that have eyes bigger than their brains? The ostrich, the tarsier and the colossal squid. One animal that has eyes bigger than their stomach? The colossal Katie Houghton. A heaving house of fried food and layered cocktails, Joe's Southern Kitchen truly was a restaurant that put everything I knew about feeling full to the test.
Diner with a dash of rustic finesse, Joe's Kitchen pretty much retains a classed experience throughout. With red banquet seating that no American orientated restaurant could do without (it's likely in their terms and conditions as a Prison Plate destination), Joe's seems to echo a bold and beefy menu with raw brickwork, caged spirits, steel top tables and cutesy, kitsch plates. Split between upstairs restaurant and basement bar Jailbird, Joe's Kitchen is a boomer of subtle, Southern stylings and London twang. Tie your far from legal croc to the plant castings outside and head on in for a plate 'o' grits, you were made for a place like this.
The Food and Drinks
I get it, proportionate to our British plates, American dishes are like a hug with a house; But i'll be honest, it wasn't the portion sizes that were an issue at Joe's Kitchen, it was the absolute gobble monster I saw staring back at me in the mirror only ten minutes before. With pretty much an unclenching need to order a menagerie of plates, we managed to make it all the way to......mains. Peppy and delicious starters came in the shape of prawn popcorn bites and jalapeno poppers (£3.95), while our mains made a movement for meat. While I almost successfully challenged their entire, incredible 8 hour beef short rib at £17.95 (I dare you to find more succulent strips), my dining chum ploughed through two pieces of Southern fried chicken at £12.95. His testament to the best chicken skin in the business most definitely has to ring true. And the macaroni and cheese for £3.95? I don't want to talk about it, I want to buy shares in it. This is American chow done with a must-try mark up.
Cocktails wise, Joe's Kitchen really holds up to its fresh and fun bargain. While their £8, Jim Beam, Kahlua and orange bitter laced 'The Duel' was a menagerie of strong spirits and sweet charm, their 'The Lychee' made for a refreshing finale to a rather bulky meal thanks to its Tanqueray Gin, creme de peche, pineapple juice and lychee garnish for also just £8 a boozy pop.
Let's be honest, London isn't actually the city that never sleeps. That's Vegas, and it must be tired. Come Tuesday and Wednesday, plenty of servers have their heads in their hands and a bottle opener on stand-by. But in actuality, I doubt that will happen at Joe's; everyone seems to know this fine fillet toting fella. Not only was every table in the restaurant full, there was bums on seats until a seemingly unusual 10pm for a Wednesday night, making a hubbub in the venue that really seemed to seize the amped and sprightly attitude of the servers. Atmosphere can kind of seem like a hard notion to nab sometimes, but you can almost trust in Joe's to keep the bustle coming.
While their basement bar plays more host to shooters and the occasional bout of shouting, Joe's Kitchen is just one darn tootin' place for dinner, whatever the demographic. Sure, you may need to purge after your visit, and you may never see that pristine shirt again for the map of mustard that you travelled upon on it, but Joe's is affordable, it goes against greasy Americana notions, and fills you up for four Fridays in a row.