Joe Allen in Covent Garden was first opened in 1977, a sister restaurant to the original New York site, named after its owner and creator. Located just a stone's throw from London’s best theatres, the restaurant came to affectionately be known as ‘the West End’s canteen’ as it drew in theatregoers, actors, celebrities, and royalty. After an extended closure - Joe Allen re-opens with chef Gary Lee at the helm, who for many years led the kitchen at the original Ivy on West Street in Covent Garden. His new menu retains many of the Joe’s classics including the Caesar salad, the off-menu burger and the ribs, but adds the crispy duck and watermelon salad from the Ivy.
Russell Norman oversees the newly created Joe's Bar, a New York-style tavern at the front of the restaurant - the drinks list is big on Martinis and Negronis and there's a bar snack menu, including the truffled egg toast from Norman’s former restaurant Spuntino.
Portland crab and sweetcorn soup; duck with watermelon and cashews; a ‘three-minute' USDA steak with peppercorn sauce and goose fat potatoes; brick-flattened chicken with black eye bean salsa and a corn muffin, chicken gravy and plantain crisps and pumpkin pie brûlée and New York cheesecake.
Today, it is one of the longest running establishments in the West End. It remains one of the best places to spot actors having a late-night supper after curtain down, and for many years the must-order was the off-menu burger. The staff, often out-of-work actors themselves, would sing and take to the piano nightly.