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17 August 2018
The sad and unexpected closure of the fabulous Bedford & Strand forced me to cast my sights a bit wider for a replacement pre-theatre venue, in an area where chain mediocrity and high end restaurants tend to dominate. Having written Joe Allen’s off previously as a tourist magnet at worst and a late night venue at best, it was with somewhat low expectations that we found ourselves entering its darkened interior on its new (apparently) location on Burleigh Street. I don’t mind admitting that along with a great meal, I also had to eat my words and am now rueing the fact that it has taken so long to discover this little treasure. The staff just get exactly what pre-theatre means and ensured that despite our over-ordering, all the food was delivered promptly enabling us to have an enjoyable rather than rushed meal. Three of us opted for the not-so secret burger and it was absolutely bang on the money and when we turned down the offer of desserts and coffee, the bill just appeared without us having to chase for it. I’m sure I went to the old Joe Allen’s many years ago but too long ago to make any meaningful contribution as to which location is better. But on the basis of this meal and how we were treated, it is now firmly on my “will return” list.
20 December 2017
First time we've been following JA's move. Really impressed to see how the atmosphere is just as good as it always was. Real effort has gone into making it feel right. The food was perfect - tasty chicken parmagian, and my friends enjoyed their steaks. The only thing that concerned us was that the end where we realised that the service charge does not go to the waiter (or even split between the waiters). it seems to go to the business to help with the payroll. This did not seem attractive to us. We instead asked to have a new bill with no service charge on it, and then made a separate payment to the waiting staff. But I'm not sure how I feel about going back now. I'm very wary of restaurants arguing that service charges should not be fairly distributed to the service providers and reflect directly the service that has been given. Using it to "ensure all our staff have a living wage" seems questionable - surely they should have this anyway.
25 November 2017
It was like Joe had never been away. The big move, from Exeter to Burleigh Street, is in fact a mini trek of around 75 yards but all has been done so skillfully and it's just like old Joe's but better.
No more the descent from the street to the initial darkness it's now a just a step up to the smart new entrance and you're in.
It's all, still, so totally theatrical and inviting - packed on Friday lunchtime with ladies who lunch prior to an early matinee - with a front of house dining area that gives way, through a small arch, to the main theatre comprising spacious downstairs stalls overlooked by the circle.
Charming and faultless service from non-Brexit-fearing staff happy to be here, happy to be working and intending to stay who provided a top commentary on all of the regular dishes.
Our table for three went historically and immediately off menu choosing three Joe Allen, classic bacon/cheese burgers with all the trimmings accompanied by a bottle of El Caminito Malbec - delicious.
Dessert of the day was Classic Pecan Pie & ice cream with espresso chaser and mint teas.
The welcome, the food, the drink & the service charming and faultless.
The end story £113. (inc service of 12.5%) plus a small, additional cash in hand that brought a warm Lithuanian smile & a big thank you.
We shall return.
20 December 2016
Had a wonderful evening at Joe Allen's restaurant on 9th December with my closest work friends, i've booked this restaurant many times over the past ten years for my colleagues but had yet to experience it myself, finally I made it and it did not disappoint we had a really nice night and staff were super friendly and helpful with menu choices, really is a special venue a hidden gem, I cant wait to return.
19 December 2016
Sad to say the food was a real disappointment. I can't say it was an 'off' night. I just think what they are serving is poor. The Turkey Christmas main course was really in the realms of 'ready meal' quality, Slices of turkey that obviously were of some kind of compressed variety. The stuffing appeared to be out of a tin. It was round/oval and flat. The 'crispy bacon' was nowhere to be seen. I found a couple of lardons by the side of the plate!! The roast potatoes could have been Aunt Bessie's. The parsnip, carrots and sprouts were dry, not even tossed in butter. The gravy was of the bisto variety. I was expecting a lovely slap-up Christmas feast, instead I received a bad school meal. My wife had the half chicken with skinny fries. That's exactly what you get, nothing else. The chicken was ok, but the fries are so thin they are crisps. How about a nice side salad to go with it, rather than a little lump of watercress. The main courses are around £15! There are so many better places to eat for this money. Our meal for two was £100. What an utter waste. You should be able to get a great meal for this money. Well, not at Joe Allen's
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