RESTAURANT REVIEW: Cookhouse Joe, Soho
What do you do when you have created one of the most successful new restaurants in Soho? Some may sit back and enjoy the success, but the creators of Dean Street Pizzeria Soho Joe have decided to not rest on their laurels and have recently launched Cookhouse Joe, a Lebanese inspired rotisserie chicken restaurant just off Oxford Street.
Those who have been to Soho Joe will know how manic it can get in the evenings with queues often going outside the entrance, however strolling up to Cookhouse Joe at 6pm; I’m pleasantly surprised to find an altogether more relaxed atmosphere with plenty of tables to choose from in the 2 storey eatery. Cookhouse Joe is entirely family run and we are greeted by ‘Mama Joe’ who excitingly tells us all about the family’s long history of restaurant owning with such passion it’s hard not to feel engaged.
The menu contains all the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style dishes you would expect and much much more. There are options for vegans, vegetarians, and light salads as well as heavier meat dishes, but be warned, portions are extremely generous so be sure to work up an appetite before going!
Like customary meal time in the East, we are encouraged to share the smaller plates and take no time in choosing a selection of delicacies. The grilled halloumi cheese and pitta bread is a fabulous beginning with the salted cheese complimenting a hummus side. I soon find that great condiments are a general theme for the evening, as the next dish, a homemade falafel came with one of the best tahini yoghurts I’ve had.
Although the vegetarian dishes were fantastic, in reality I was here for the meats. I had been dreaming of their lamb, beef, and chicken ever since my favourite food bloggers flooded my Instagram timeline with Joe’s gastronomy delights and I’m pleased to say that the photos didn’t do the food enough justice. I highly recommend ordering the lamb kofte- a dish which has long had its reputation tarnished, but when done this well, you’ll never spend a Friday night in a dodgy takeaway again.
By this time I was well and truly stuffed, and totally forgot the main dish was still to come; the signature rotisserie chicken. Considering the quality of everything we had tried so far, I was slightly disappointed by the chicken, as although it was well marinated, I did find it dry on the whole and struggled to finish it.
My body was now in full food coma and I just wanted to slip out quietly, but Mama Joe was having none of it. After some serious persuasion, we decided to stay for dessert, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Made daily by Mama Joe herself, Cookhouse Joe’s Apple Pie is simply magnificent, made with a buttery pastry, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a healthy dollop of love, it’s not something that can be reproduced en masse and is a MUST.
London is awash with chefs attempting to create the planet’s most complex, unique menu, so it’s refreshing that Cookhouse Joe is bucking the trend by sticking to traditional recipes without compromise. It’s not as popular as its bigger brother down the road, but this is much of the appeal of Cookhouse Joe and as it undoubtedly gains popularity, I hope this charm remains.
Cookhouse Joe, 55 Berwick St, W1F 8SP. Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
2 Courses from around £15 per person. For more information, visit http://cookhousejoe.com/