REVIEW: Joe’s Southern Kitchen, Kentish Town
Kentish Town is certainly having a moment – five doors down from Joe’s Southern Kitchen lies Patron, the charming neighbourhood restaurant opened by the French/English couple behind Soho’s Cafe Gourmand, and over the road, newly-opened cocktail bar Ladies & Gentleman. A little further up is pub The Bull & Gate, which officially celebrated its reopening last Thursday.
The area buzzes with activity after work hours, and Joe’s was no different on a hazy spring evening. We happily sat outside, Southern blues piped into the small outdoor terrace where we could enjoy the last of the day’s sun. An intimate first date venue this probably isn’t, but it’s great fun – the menu is cheeky and cheerful, the cocktails bright and strong. Interiors are a mixture of Red Dog Saloon’s neon signage, exposed metals and chatty staff, and The Chicken Shop’s more sedate, rustic wood panelling and slick cooking. Yep, this is ten times more polished than your average chicken joint – but if you love you some fried bird (and who doesn’t) it’s a fun night out with friends.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the extensive drinks menu (American and International beers, dozens of Bourbons, ryes, whiskeys, brandies, tequila and more) we plumped for delicious Rum Dog Millionaires to start – a heady blend of 5yr rum, syrups, lime juice, ginger beer and fresh mint.
Eager to try the chicken for which Joe’s is famed, our interpretation of the menu was somewhat skewed – we’re already planning a return visit to sample the likes of gooey corn spoon bread and devilled eggs, because all we could look at was the buttermilk marinated fried chicken wings, Southern fried with Tabasco honey or BBQ.
Feeling greedy, we ordered popcorn shrimp to sit alongside – and can report that the mountain of chicken wings was piping hot, freshly fried and delicious. Sadly, the popcorn shrimp was soggy and somewhat flavourless, its saving grace a zingy chilli lima salsa we opted to keep for our mains.
Having heard much about the 24 hour sweet tea-brined bird with lemon dust, we ordered half a bird to share (a reasonable £12.95 between two), paired with collard greens (beautifully cooked, but a little steep at £3.95) and BBQ pulled pork beans (£1.95) – all was well presented, though a ton of food for two moderately hungry people. Just a main course would have been more than enough, though we found ourselves licking our fingers to the end – just as well the waitresses are on hand with plenty of wet wipes.
Again, there’s a ton more on the menu that’s sounds worthy of a punt, and we’ll be back to try it now we’ve ticked off the chicken. Standout dishes included blackened catfish fillet with cajun mustard, and mac ‘n’ cheese with a biscuit crust straight from the Deep South.
Dessert was a honeycomb and chocolate parfait sandwich (which tasted as good as it sounds – any sweet tooth would be satisfied for days) but we’ll be tempted by a ‘liquid dessert’ next time – espresso martinis always go down a treat and we’re keen to try a creamy ‘Grasshopper’.
The all-singing, all-dancing weekend brunch menu is worth shouting about too – we popped in to try a tasty sausage and egg breakfast bun last Friday (the homemade chilli sauce and ketchup makes it), but a look at the menus shows they serve everything from ‘Mama’s biscuit’ to Eggs Benedict and the obligatory stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Take your friends, take your mama – this place has plenty of soul.
Address: 300 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2TG
Top image credit: The-zfactor.co.uk