2 Burleigh St, London WC2E 7PX www.joeallen.co.uk
Established American diner in Covent Garden Joe Allen recently moved location, not far but enough to signify a complete overhaul of the entire venue. Yet those familiar with the look and feel of the restaurant would almost not notice the change.
In fact, Jo Allen has been painstakingly recreated exactly as it was; a timeless New York dining haunt with theatre posters of productions past and presents on the walls and exposed brickwork. They moved the fixtures, fittings and bricks too, to ensure the change was not going be traumatic for those who feel at home there.
Its history is fascinating: it first opened in 1977, a sister restaurant to the original New York site. It was named after its owner and creator, a man dedicated to delivering fantastic dining experiences.
The venue is adorned with the best theatre memorabilia and because it was started by actors, producers and directors looking to woo the West End’s latest and greatest productions, Joe Allen quickly became known as the’West End’s Canteen’, with famous faces from all industries often spotted among the posters.
Yet we were here to try their revamped breakfast menu, and what a menu it is. Classics are of course available (pastries, Greek yogurt and granola, full English both meaty and vegetarian).
We thoroughly enjoyed our avocado on toast, what really shone however, was the sourdough slice of bread that supported the whole dish: beautifully soft middle, rightly crumbly edges and toasted to perfection (seems basic, but not something to take for granted).
Amongst the sweet dishes, we could not resist trying an indulgent looking waffle with blackberry compote, whipped cream, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar, perhaps a little too sweet overall but a great dish nonetheless, with a freshly made waffle and a fruity compote to provide a little tartness.
Despite being now part of the hotel next door, the feel is of a completely stand alone restaurant, with attractive decor, memories of the West End and a friendly and welcoming service.
Joe Allen breakfast is served weekdays from 8am.