‘JOAN Shoreditch has a Mediterranean leaning menu which is a delight, and there’s no doubt this new eatery on the block, formerly Beach Blanket Babylon, will quickly become a brunch hotspot’.
I wandered into JOAN in Shoreditch, London, on a weekday evening and the warmth of the restaurant drew me in from the off. I was particularly taken aback by the chic interiors, with indoor plants giving it a rainforest feel, and because the restaurant is new, the vibe is fresh and breezy. There are chic velvet booths that are offset by a rustic feel with exposed brick walls. The centrepiece bar stands proud in the middle of the restaurant, adding to the atmosphere of the space as mixologists rustle up drinks.
There’s no doubt JOAN, part of the Soho Restaurant Group, is an excellently placed restaurant, residing in the hubbub of the East End and just a stone’s throw from Shoreditch overground. Peckish, we got dug into the attractive menu that uses some of London’s best ingredients and suppliers, beginning with small plates.
The menu is headed up by Niko Kontogiannatos, former head chef at Caravan Fitzrovia, who prides himself on making everything in house from scratch and the Greek influence certainly shines through.
When the octopus is on the menu I’ll always go for it as my dining companion pointed out, it’s not something you’d typically rustle up at home! I indulged in braised octopus with skordalia and chilli lime dressing and it was such a treat. Other small plates included beef meatballs, burrata (I was very tempted), and light dishes like rocket salad and cauliflower steaks.
Continuing the Mediterranean journey, we both got a large plate and I completely ravished mine. It was vegan pumpkin tortellini and dining in Autumn, it seemed very apt. It had a lovely subtle flavour that wasn’t overbearing, so scrumptious. We partnered our dishes with some white wine from a busy drinks menu, with the waiting staff eager to describe which wine might pair best with our dishes when asked. The waiting staff were very friendly and helpful, which always makes a dining experience more enjoyable.
Definitely don’t skip dessert! There are all sorts of goodies on the menu, including a vegan chocolate brownie and a peanut butter coconut mousse. One thing noticeable throughout the Joan menu is their nod to vegans/vegetarians.
Last but by no means least – the cocktail menu! I love the simplicity of it. Sometimes cocktail menus can be overwhelming but JOAN strip it back to eight signature serves, including a tempting rosemary negroni – of which I had a few. Guilty. However, it was the Spice Paloma Spritz that was labelled the winning tipple of the evening by both myself and my dining companion. The delicious drink packs a punch with tequila, grapefruit and soda used to create it.
The winning ingredient popped in is jalapeño, giving it a nice hit. As a fan of a Bloody Mary with a lot of Tabasco or this drink was right up my street. Classic cocktails are available too, fear not. We finished the meal with espresso martinis – as one always should!
If you haven’t heard of Eating In London before, here’s a bit about us – we’re a modern day team of food and drink experts, showcasing London’s best places to drink & dine at. We pride ourselves on providing trustworthy recommendations, just for you. Check out our London Map for more places to visit.
✔️ Overall Rating – 8/10
👨🍳 Our Expert @lottie_hulme