I’m not usually a huge fan of Southern food. Oily, greasy, fried food just doesn’t do it for me. But there are always exceptions. Like I loved Wishbone (now Chicken Liquor) for example. And I loved the new Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, which opened this week in Kentish Town.
It’s the second branch to be opening; Covent Garden hosts the first. I haven’t been, but apparently they’re still a bit different. Covent Garden’s one is louder, perhaps more touristy. This one will attract more locals due to location, and the food is more refined.
It’s a stone’s throw from Kentish town tube, so hugely convenient and a place to visit year round, with a terrace for seating outside and huge windows which allow the sun to stream in. The place is spacious and simply decorated, with red sofa booths. Downstairs, the bar Jail Bird also just opened, so those keen to continue their evening can enjoy more drinks here.
We tried quite a few cocktails (their ‘Classics’ are only a fiver). The Lychee was my favourite. And then came the food: plate loads of it. As an apperitif they served a scone with honey butter. So good but so filling it could have been my dinner full stop. Then came ‘starters’ of eggs filled with Mayo and crisped chicken, deep fried meatloaf with mustard sauce and a poached egg on top and lastly a super cheesy cornbread. All delicious, all filling and very rich. This is not a place for the faint-hearted, or for those wanting to achieve or maintain their bikini bodies. But the food’s addictive, so we kept going.
The star of the show is, of course, the fried chicken. Not in butter milk but in sweet tea brined with lemon salt and tabasco honey. So succulent and juicy you almost don’t need the chicken gravy (served in the best chicken shaped jug ever). The accompaniments are waffles and maple syrup, prawn, bacon and cheese grits (moorishly good), mac n cheese, some greens (they certainly took a backseat), and watermelon. I’d never had watermelon with chicken before, but apparently it’s a done thing. And it was refreshing.
By the time pudding came I couldn’t really move. But I had to try a bite of the pecan pie – which was warm, delicious and not too sweet.
And then I rolled home.
For those of you who like Southern food, I highly recommend this place. And for those who aren’t a fan, you should give it a try – you may well be pleasantly surprised.
300 Kentish Town Road
Photos belong to Joe’s Southern Kitchen