I was lucky enough to be invited to Cookhouse Joe in Soho to enjoy a lovely meal for two. Always one to jump at the chance of trying a new restaurant, I was really excited about trying it out. This lovely Lebanese restaurant is brought to us by the owners of Soho Joe, another place I can heartily recommend as they do the best pizza in London!
As Cathy and I were going to a poetry play last Wednesday, this seemed like the ideal time to try it out. Cathy beat me there and enjoyed a beer whilst she was waiting. I was quickly served an orange juice upon arrival and then the lovely gentleman explained the menu to us and offered us a bottle of wine or presecco. I wasn’t drinking, but Cathy accepted a glass. The glass turned out to be a bottle, so I felt obliged to enjoy a small glass. We were then asked if we wanted to choose our food, or could he order for us and bring us a selection. I love trying different foods, so this sounded good to me and he promised to bring some vegetarian food for Cathy.
After a short wait, we were presented with a platter of halloumi, bread, olives pickled turnip, chicken wings and a gorgeous aubergine dip. I know it has a proper name, but it has currently escaped me – I shall tweet and ask!
We are both fans of halloumi and this vanished pretty quickly! The dip was gorgeous, chunky and refreshing, but for me, the chicken wings were the stars! I love chicken, but it isn’t usually something I order when I’m out and I am not a fan of places like Nandos. It’s far too easy for the chicken to be dry and overcooked. Not in Cookhouse Joe! The chicken was succulent, falling off the bone and delicately spiced. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I hoovered up the whole portion on my own.
Our helpful waiter then came to clear our plates and treated us to another delicious round of food. This time we were treated to falafel, lamb kofte, coleslaw, tabbouleh and a salad with delicious home made croutons made from flatbread. Yum.
Oh my word, the falafel was delicious. I like falafel, but I do think it’s difficult to get right, purely because so many places get it wrong. These falafel balls were lovely and crunchy on the outside, giving way to a soft and mealy interior. The dip was unnecessary (although tasty) because Cookhouse Joe actually managed to achieve the feat of a non-dry falafel. Hooray!
The salads were delicious, although the tabbouleh seemed ever so slightly too acidic to my taste buds. It was still nice, but I would have preferred a little less lemon. The lamb koftes were delicious and beautifully cooked, although I do think it was unnecessary to serve on the bread. We’d already eaten a lot of bread by this point, and whilst this would have been lovely if I could have rolled it up into a wrap, the bread wasn’t very “rollable”. I’m not a fan of coleslaw so I gave this a miss, but Cathy said that although nice it was “just coleslaw”. The tzatziki dip for me was also a bit of a let down. The texture was nice, but there just wasn’t enough mint in it. Now, I know that it doesn’t HAVE to contain mint, but most people are used to mint in tzatziki and it is refreshing. This tzatziki just tasted mostly like a yoghurt.
We were both stuffed by this point, but there was more to come in the way of an apple pie served in a mess tin!
We should have been defeated by this point. Cathy managed to try a bite. I tried a bite. Then I had to eat the whole thing. I was stuffed, I didn’t need the pie, but damn, it was pie! It was good! It was warm and comforting and chunky and cinnamony and everything an apple pie should be. IN A MESS TIN!
Cookhouse Joe is an absolute gem of a restaurant and I expect that they will do really well. Service is good, staff are friendly and the food is great; well-cooked, good portions and really well priced. I had a look at the menu, and wraps with chips start from £5, which for a central London location (they’re based on Berwick Street, Soho) is an absolute bargain. I will certainly be going back often as I now intend to eat my way through the menu, starting with their specialty rotisserie chicken. Yum! Just be sure to ask for some extra napkins for the table – one per person isn’t really enough for this sort of food.
A brilliant night of gluttony for Juneathon – now to carry on running off all that food.