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Joe's Cafe (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Joe's Cafe in Knightsbridge, London

16 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 9NB
Cuisine: Modern European
Tel: 020 7235 9869 | Transport: Knightsbridge | Write review

Joe's Cafe Review

Top 10 things to know about Joe’s Café:

1) Joe’s Café is hidden underneath a boutique store on glamorous Sloane Street in Knightsbridge, and like many of the big-name fashion brands on either side, it’s overwhelming, luxurious and a little baffling.

2) It’s not a bad restaurant per se, and is certainly an established fixture of the Knightsbridge brunch circuit. It’s just that during our visit there was a sense of unease – an unwieldy latex and lace bodice, when all we wanted was a woolly jumper and tracksuit bottoms.

3) The space is all black and white, punctuated with tasteful portraits of famous celebrities and a bar stretching seamlessly along the far wall – a canny choice of backdrop for the kitchen’s colourful, Instagram-ready food.

4) Take, for instance, the cupola of volcano fries with beetroot and parsley; visually stunning entrée, innovative even! But once actually tasted, the fries are soggy, the sauce is thick and it’s a slog to get through more than half a portion.

5) The flower-laden bocconcini salad and fluorescent orange chicken risotto – a house speciality – certainly look the part, and obviously go down a storm among diners, but don’t make for a particularly cohesive or tasty meal. You know those fashion shows where models take to the catwalk wearing nothing but platform shoes and a blow-up paddling pool around their necks, and everyone acts as though it’s the most natural thing in the world? Well, this felt like the fine-dining equivalent.

6) Not to mention some of the dishes are just plain mislabelled, like the fillet steak with truffle mash which we found to be unpleasantly stodgy and with nary a hint of truffle - a faux pas with prices this extravagant, really.

7) The drinks menu, however, cannot be faulted. The ever-attentive staff do an excellent peach bellini among other, typically classy, libations.

8) Throughout, the café’s soundtrack of choice (new-age ambient with hints of whalesong) blends awkwardly with the high-energy pop emanating from the shop upstairs. The overall effect is a background dissonance that Shining-era Kubrick would have been proud of.

9) We didn’t feel comfortable as the only customers in an empty basement; and nor when crowds of people suddenly swarmed in on the stroke of 1 o’clock, filling almost every table and disappearing just as quickly.

10) Maybe Joe’s Café is an extremely meta commentary on the excess and hubris of the fashion industry. More likely, however, is that it is an upscale, overly-pricey restaurant that shows promise but cannot leave good enough alone, leading to a dining experience as overcomplicated and unsatisfying as one of its DayGlo risottos. more

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