As the other Instagramming clientele were ushered to their seats the troglodytes were shown downstairs (that will teach me to reserve a table for brunch, even if they say you can). Our low ceilinged cave had one long table easily able to seat the three of us and was lit by tealight candles, creating flickering Francis Bacon-esque shadows on the coarse sandpaper walls, evoking a Soho of past decades – welcome to Soho Joe.
A Sausage Too Far
The interior of Soho Joe is a cross between the Alamo and a railway carriage, the walls have been stripped back to paint and plaster, sealed and left. Luggage racks run the length of the wall above the upstairs tables, opposite which are two booths of wood, metal and glass construction, behind them the hustle and bustle of the kitchens. Downstairs you’ll find the basement part of the restaurant (and our cave), here it’s more of the same ‘stripped back & reveal’ vibe – I liked it.
The warm summer of 2018 had continued into this Sunday morning and we had arranged to meet A’s son T for a brunch, designed to fuel us for an afternoon of gallery prowling at Tate Britain. Once we were seated and with the light of a mobile to illuminate the menu we began to choose our feast.
With friendly efficiency, the Soho Joe staff kept us served first with coffee and tea and then with our brunch (our fear of being forgotten proving unfounded). The coffee is good here and at a sensible price, A also seemed happy with her breakfast tea. For brunch I had already decided it would have to be a pancake stack, the only problem was that the fruit option came with squirty cream and I’m not a fan. This led to a last minute change to Plan B, their meaty pancake stack of bacon and sausage. A followed suit while T chose the Full English Breakfast.
While A mostly enjoyed hers I was less happy. I have always thought maple syrup and streaky bacon to be a wonderful flavour combo. The inclusion of a sausage tipped this too far into meat flavours for me, the contrast between the sweet and savoury was overwhelmed by the sausage. T’s Full English did not hang around and was once again substantial. I’d like to tell you more about the scenes around us but unfortunately, the low lighting limited observation. On the positive side, if you enjoy a tall stack of pancakes then Soho Joe will not let you down, you won’t walk away hungry from this restaurant.
Soho Joe has a lot to recommend it: it’s a great place to meet for pizza and beers of an evening, the staff are friendly and helpful. Their brunch menu has a good range of savoury and sweet and their pricing is very good, most meals being around £8. I’m not sure we would rush back for brunch, nonetheless it will remain firmly on our radar for an evening catch up with friends.
Loo Review (PMC Rating): ★★☆☆☆ Rough and ready.
Soho Joe, D'Arblay Street, London W1F 8EY Sunday, July 29th 2018