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Brasserie Joel (Restaurant, Hotel)

Picture of Brasserie Joel in Waterloo, London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London hotel, Waterloo, London, SE1 7UT
Cuisine: French Average Price: £30.00
Tel: 020 7620 7272 | Email to Brasserie Joel | Transport: Waterloo | Write review

Brasserie Joel Review

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According to award-winning chef and ludicrously successful restaurant-owner Emeril Lagasse, the secret to creating a great restaurant is simple: “great food, great wine and great service”. Seemingly a fairly common sense definition, I think you’ll agree. Well, here’s how Waterloo’s sparkling Brasserie Joel fared on the Legrasse test when I visited recently.

Great food: check. Every dish my partner and I selected from the classic French menu was rendered to absolute perfection. The New York Steak was a particular delight, with the meat, mash, garlic, sauce and marrow (resplendent in its bone) presented on the plate like a painter’s palette of flavours, separated and ready to be combined to the whim and taste of the diner. The Tuna Tartar starter was similarly as good as anywhere I’ve tasted.

Great wine: check. From the champagne in our cocktail aperitifs, through the rich Marquis de Casa our waiter expertly selected to go with our mains, to the sweet Coteaux de Layon that accompanied our dessert, not a drop could be faulted.

Great service: check. Our waiters were attentive, knowledgeable and accommodating, permitting us cocktails and side-dishes that weren’t on the menu, as all the best restaurants should endeavour to do.

So, by the measure of one of America’s most renowned chefs, Brasserie Joel has everything required to make it a worthy addition to the list of great London restaurants, right?

Well not quite. Because, with the greatest respect to Chef Emeril, he has neglected what I regard as one of the key attributes of any great restaurant: atmosphere. If Brasserie Joel had an ambience as sophisticated as the food and as charming as the service, it would indeed be rightly renowned as one of the finest in London. However, Joel is not just any London restaurant. It is the in-house restaurant of Waterloo’s Westminster Park Plaza hotel and, as such, cannot escape being consumed by the atmosphere-sucking corporate joylessness that such locations entail.

For example, a restaurant of Joel’s quality should be housed in a building that abounds with the celebrated combination of style, charm and tradition that the best London architecture exudes. Instead, the Westminster Park Plaza is a soulless glass and steel construction squatted functionally in the middle of a roundabout.

Situated so enviably close to Westminster Bridge, Joel should also boast the kind of priceless riverside views that people flock from all round the world to see. Instead, the architects, in their infinite dull practicality, rendered the Plaza’s flagship restaurant a somewhat stifling windowless box with views of nothing but the first floor concourse.

Even then, the efforts of the waiting staff deserve an appreciating clientele, whose classy dress and tangible sense of occasion contribute to an atmosphere that bristles with hushed delight against the backdrop of the romantic Piaf and Trenet melodies emanating from the speakers. Instead, the diners were little other than a typically hotel-resident mix of wealthy holidaying families and dull businessmen and sales reps. For these people, dining within the hotel is rarely an occasion, merely a convenience. And their lack of enthusiasm is sadly infectious. For instance, the ‘gentleman’ (a term I use in its very loosest sense) dining solo on the table adjacent to ours was dressed in cargo shorts and shabby t-shirt, and only occasionally interrupted his stream of annoyingly audible phone calls to deliver bouts of undeserved rudeness to the attending staff. He even complained about the complimentary aubergine caviar that all diners are treated to whilst choosing their food. It is difficult to maintain your enthusiasm for an evening where someone dressed for a hung-over Sunday on the sofa is complaining about free caviar.

Despite all this, Brasserie Joel is still an excellent restaurant, and really I hope it proves a success – it would be a shame to lose such excellence from the capital. However, the provision of superlative food, wine and service – which would be mission accomplished for most restaurants – is arguably the easy bit of the challenge for Joel’s wonderful staff. For a restaurant of this price (and it isn’t cheap), they need to go that little bit further to somehow extricate the atmosphere from its corporate surrounds, if Brasserie Joel is going to become the venue of occasion that it deserves to be. more

Customer Reviews for Brasserie Joel

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Brasserie Joel.

“Really great food, setting is a bit boring though, still if you do eat in a hotel you should expect that (I read the food was great and booked it without realising where it was!). We had lobster Cobb salad, gaspacho, steak and john dory, really tasty, the waitress was really nice too. Not cheap but probably worth it despite being in a hotel, its right by westminster bridge so great for a romantic stroll back after dinner!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Oliver, London Bridge (10 years 6 months 14 days ago)

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Our menu changes daily to provide the freshest fish, meats and produce, and includes a wide range of bistro favourites such as traditional Boeuf Bourgignon, freshly made Lobster Bisque, homemade Duck Terrine, hand-dived Scallops, char-grilled meat and fish specialities. Entrées are recommended to share, and range in price £7.00* for one guest to £16.50* for two guests sharing.

Updated 28/11/2012

Brasserie Joël Lunch Menu
Brasserie Joël Pre-Theatre Menu
Brasserie Joël Dinner Menu
Brasserie Joël Dessert Menu
Sunday Lunch
Brasserie Joël Sunday Lunch Menu


Wine Menu
Brasserie Joël Wine Menu

Brasserie Joel Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm
10:30pm - 2:00pm
Friday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm
10:30pm - 2:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm
10:30pm - 2:00pm
Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm
10:30pm - 2:00pm
Sunday: 12:30pm - 5:30pm
9:30pm - 3:30pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 5:30pm
10:30pm - 2:00pm

Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: French
  • Average Price: £30.00
  • Dress Code: Smart/Casual
  • Group: Park Plaza

Special offers, discounts and deals at Brasserie Joel

The restaurants at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge offer a range of promotions and events throughout the year. Whether you are having a meeting or family outing, our restaurants are ideal for you.

Updated 28/11/2012

Book this special offer now - fast, free and confirmed!

Lunch at Brasserie Joël

Type: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch Special Offer

Return to all offers and events

Brasserie Joel Hire Details

Brasserie Joël is happy to accommodate large parties. If you would like to book a table for 10 people or more, please contact the restaurant directly.

Brasserie Joël is also available for exclusive private hire for up to 180 people

Updated 28/11/2012

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Venue ID: 20873

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