Many readers by now will have observed that Joe’s – the replacement for the popular Kentish Canteen – has flung open its doors this week. Well, in that vogueish ‘soft launch’ way, with only bookings taken, and bloggers whisked in and out to provide a bit of early clucking on social media.
We’ve been flat out all week with our two new print issues (the first is out today), and so sadly haven’t been down yet. But it looked buzzy enough on the times we’ve passed after work.
Spread over two floors like its previous incarnation, Joe’s features a 90-cover ground floor restaurant, outside 20-cover BBQ and dining space, and, of course, basement cocktail bar. The concept? All “sleek interiors with a modern urban edge”, y’know, brickwork with parquet-topped tables, leather banquette seating, flashing neon signs.
They’ve also bagged a chef (Trevor Tobin) who’s done time at top Mayfair steak joint Goodman, so hopes are high for the scran. The menu will feature highlights from the original Covent Garden venue, but the main focus in NW5 is, we hear, a succulent “sweet tea-brined fried chicken with lemon salt and tabasco honey.” Let’s hope they balance the flavours to perfection – otherwise it could be a bit icky.
Elsewhere expect the likes of soft shell crab, mac ‘n’ cheese, beef short rib, pressure-cooked chicken, and other belly-filling American dishes. Breakfast and brunch will also be a focus.
Oh, and the new basement bar is called Jailbird, which, as with the much-loved Shebeen, casts more than a nod to its time as Victorian police cells. There’ll be an emphasis on Southern US classics like Julep and Sazerac, with a whole load of bourbons and ryes for good measure.
The team are pretty confident you lot are going to gobble this up. “After the success of Joe’s in Covent Garden,” says operations bloke Jim Robertson, “we decided it was time to open up our kitchen to more Londoners, and a new venue in Kentish Town was an obvious choice for us. The restaurant scene in NW5 is about to explode and we want to be a part of it.”
Interesting. We’d argue that the explosion – if we must call it that – is perhaps well under way.
So, will Joe’s knock the feathers out of the consistently popular Chicken Shop? Time will tell.