Nestled down the back streets of Covent Garden sits Joe Allen. An American casual dining experience which i think can now claim to be part of London's 'furniture'. The restaurant opened its door to the eccentric theatre goers in January of 1977 by of course, Joe Allen himself. This Covent Garden branch is little sister to its New York and Paris counterpart. Both of which have equally as much history.
Very recently the restaurant was been purchased by two passionate, very endearing and proud new owners Lawrence Hartley and Tim Healey. They both bought the restaurant not only because of its rewarding capital returns (which i'm sure it is) but because they wanted to be the proud owners of such an establishment steeped in history. We dined at the restaurant on Thanksgiving (and bumped into The Hoff) to sample a traditional, yet modern take on the American staple which celebrates good food, drink, friends and family.
The a la carte menu has the expected American offerings such as juicy ribs, crispy squid and aged steaks. The famous burger, which is famously not on the menu is for only those in the know. The burger is still one of their best selling dishes - secrets are not so well kept in London's Theatreland. To kick off our meal we ordered the starter of goats cheese with truffle oil, a selection of roasted vegetables and chestnuts. It was all a little simple in both its preparation and presentation but all the ingredients were of excellent quality and you could really taste it.
With a thanksgiving dinner there really is no other choice than to opt for the turkey. A Sussex bronze, slow cooked turkey with lots of stuffing. Maple bacon wrapped sausages, lots of vegetables, mash potato and every kind of sauce imaginable. The turkey could have perhaps been a little warmer, but with a good drenching in thick, hot gravy it wasn't a huge issue. Those little sausages in maple bacon were a real treat and all the veg was served to share in the middle of the table, family style.
Finishing off the meal in true American style was a slice of pumpkin pie, something i had not tried before, nor been interested in - and gosh was i missing something. A lovely buttery pastry, filled with a soft and gooey spiced pumpkin filling. Sat perched on top was a fluffy dollop of vanilla ice cream and a sour cherry coulis. This dish is something i could eat slice after slice on a cold winters night, especially if paired with a glass of hot mulled wine.
Petit fours arrived with coffee, and by this point i had no choice but to box the beauties up as i was so incredibly full. Sadly we didn't get invited back to the Hoff’s penthouse but instead i left full, a little drunk and feeling though Joe Allen's was a place i'd love to return. It has a real homely atmosphere and a place you know you’d always be welcomed with open arms. Its also another excuse to come back and try that not so secret burger.