There are now two American style meat serving restaurants named Joe in London – Joe’s Southern Table & Bar and Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats. And while they both share a common first name, Southern Joe’s is all about the deep south with lots of variation on chicken, while Texas Joe’s is all about traditional BBQ meats, done the Texan way.
Texas Joe’s, located behind London Bridge Station right near the upper end of trendy Bermondsey Street, is like stepping into a wild west saloon. A bit small on the inside – 70 seats (though there are plenty of tables outside if the weather is conducive), Texas Joe’s aim is to bring the spirit of Texas into a very small pocket of London. Does Texas Joe’s succeed? Yes.
Luckily the menu, which is cleverly printed in the style of a 1936 Texas newspaper named ‘The Big Smoke Signal’ and features articles written by Texas BBQ journalists, is not overwhelming. There are five different types of main courses; beef (brisket or short rib), chicken (wings, thighs or breast), pork (shoulder, belly and ribs), tacos (brisket, mutton or pork) and mutton (shoulder and ribs). What, you might ask, is mutton? It’s similar in texture and flavor to lamb.
Visiting Texas Joe’s six weeks after it’s opening, me and my dining companion were ready to savour the meats and other Texan-style dishes on the menu, food that I was very familiar with having grown up in New Mexico. I decided to go for the beef brisket, as I am a huge fan, while my companion went for the mutton. We were torn between the excellent variety of sides, but then settled for bone marrow (basically fat nestled into a bone), a house salad, cornbread and brisket chilli. As it was too hot that night to drink alcohol, we ordered the very refreshing root beer and cream soda from new brand Soda Folk.
My beef brisket was absolutely delicious. There were many larges slices presented on a platter, alongside coleslaw, lots of pickles, and a few slices of bread. The brisket, as you would imagine, was tender and lean while a cup of very mild and not too thick BBQ sauce accompanied it. The coleslaw was a bit too creamy for my taste, however, it had onions which gave it a nice kick. My companion’s mutton was thick, a bit colorless, but nonetheless delicious. Our starters were also very good – the house salad (quite a generous portion for £5), the bone marrow (a bit too lardy and fatty for us), corn bread (deliciously tasting with a hint of jalapeño, just like they make it in the southwest), and the brisket chilli – which was absolutely amazing. Yes it was spicy, but the massive portion given (at £5.50) is almost a meal in itself. So is the Mac & Cheese, which the people next to us were eating. The mains are reasonably priced based on how much meat they give you (most in the £12 to £15 range, though the chicken is no more than £9). The bread served with the meals is a bit unnecessary – cornbread should be served as that would make for a better companion to the food, though perhaps if you want to make a sandwich with the meat, then it’s makes sense. To top it off, we had pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The portion was just the right size, it was moist, warm and freshly made. After finishing our dinner, we didn’t feel too stuffed, and we were very satisfied. And compliments go to our waitress Beth. She was very knowledgeable about the menu, knew when we needed something, and was very charming and friendly. Too bad the goes back to school in Manchester in a couple weeks – she’s an asset to the restaurant.
After your meal, I highly recommend a visit to Joe’s Honky Tonk Bar, located right next door, which serves Texas bourbons and whiskeys, along with Texan Lone Star Lagers and a selection of local beers. And while you are there, pick up a bag of Texas Joe’s Beef Jerky. It comes in two flavors – Low & Slow BBQ and Lean & Mean Beef Jerky. it’s actually the best jerky I’ve ever tasted here in England!
Texas Joe’s has all the delicious dishes and southern hospitality that you could possibly want, in the central but deceptively discreet surroundings of Bermondsey.
And make sure you meet the owner Joe, he’ll say a big HOWDY to you all!
REVIEWED BY: Tim Baros
ADDRESS: 8-9 Snowfields, London, SE1 3SU
STAR RATING: ★★★★ (explained)
COST RATING: £££ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: At the customer’s discretion
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.