Sunday, 17 February 2013
Joe Allen / Covent Garden
Who are they?
Joe Allen is a basement bar and restaurant, modelled after so many downstairs retreats in New York and complete with jukebox, dinner pianist and tons of theater memorabilia over every conceivable wall. What intrigued me was a chance to sample the Joe Allen Secret Burger; an option that is not advertised on their menu or anywhere in the restaurant. Time to find out if this well-kept secret is up to snuff.
For the interior of the bar, it's definitely going to be more of your thing if you are in to the history of theater land. I suspect that interior decorating has hardly been on the agenda, with a long bar definitely out of a bygone age of bar flies, late night cocktails and pre-theater drinking.
The burger itself is a well-sized and medium-cooked beef patty, complete with serving of bacon and cheese and held together in a brioche bun. As the photo attests, this is accompanied by a nice portion of well-cooked chips and, uniquely, some red onion shavings with intertwined parsley by way of a salad. The chips are as you would expect for catering-grade fare but are at least slightly crispy in comparison to some that are served soggy. The red onions are nice as a sort of different take on things, which gives you are a chance to either put them in the burger or leave them alone completely.
It would be churlish of me to suggest that the reason it is kept secret is to hide it away from their customers, but at least it is a solid effort of a burger. It's a nice mix of fairly decent quality bef, medium-strength cheese and crispy bacon that delivers a better than average burger and at a decent price. What it lacks is the solid definition to set it apart from the others, but as Joe Allen is not aiming to solely be a burger joint and instead more of a pre-theater dinner, it can be forgiven.
A nice enough burger, but nothing particularly memorable or special about it.
Where can I find them?
A small entrance round the corner from the Aldwych Theater