Joe Allen: a Covent Garden legend

Hurrah, I’m back in Covent Garden – and not a moment too soon, it’s been way too long since my last visit. Where better to break the CG duck than at THE Joe Allen? Tucked away downstairs in the back streets between the piazza and the Strand, it’s a comforting room with exposed brick walls full of pictures of the celebs who’ve dined there and plenty of nooks and crannies to settle into and enjoy your dinner.

The original Joe Allen opened in New York City in 1966 and the Covent Garden one followed, opening in 1977. I’ve eaten there quite a few times and it always feels a bit like coming home. The menu changes regularly though there always seem to be a few staples to be found.

Tonight we decided to share a few starters as we were after a lighter dinner. Our waitress was perfectly accommodating. All four dishes were tasty and fairly substantial for starters, leaving us  totally satisfied with our choices.

You can’t go to Joe Allen and not have chopped chicken liver, truly yummy
This amazing venison salami was served with balsamic baby onions
Cajun spiced mackerel with avocado and tomato salsa and toasted rosemary bread. A wonderful combination
Marinated baby artichokes with wild rocket and shaved Pecorino cheese

One of their legendary dishes is the Lascala salad which is basically chopped salami and cheese with other salad ingredients and a yummy dressing. It doesn’t seem to be on the menu often these days…come on Joe Allen, put it back on just for me! It’s truly delicious.

Oh, and it’s worth knowing that they have “secret burgers”. Secret in that they’re not on the menu but you can always order one and they’re really good, too.

Joe Allen is at 13 Exeter Street, WC2

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