This recommendation comes courtesy of my flatmate who I’m sure I’ve given an alias too before but can’t remember it right now so I’ll name him Harvey.
Having worked in the theatre district and then the legal district for six years total now, Harvey has quite the affinity for Soho. Being that we live together, speak often, and much of my conversation revolves around pizza, I decided to try Soho Joe’s sooner rather than later.
I went to a yoga class then crossed the river.
Even though it really is quite a small area, I find Soho a very difficult area to navigate. This is really more my problem than the town planner’s, but, considering that I, too, used to work there, I should feel less enthused whenever I “happen upon” Soho Square, Frith Street, or Dean Street, which is home to Soho Joe.
Lobster rolls also seem to be very in in Soho.
Also, apparently the Gay Hussar (or something else that has the word “gay” in it; who am I to remember facts correctly?!) predates Soho’s reputation as the gay district.
Another fun fact is that Smithfield, not Soho, was London’s original red light district (again, who am I to remember or verify facts correctly?!).
We arrived at about 7.15. There was a board outside saying “2 cocktails for £10”, which is very reasonable for central London. Note that they have to be two of the same cocktail, so Paul had to eschew his manlier-sounding drink (I can’t remember what he chose; something with whisky), for a Soho Ho, chosen because of its name and because it included both rum and gin, two of my favourite spirits.
The cocktail was fine. We didn’t have another.
Moving back in time, we asked for a table for two. They then did that annoying thing of looking around a clearly only half full (feeling more optimistic today) restaurant, told us to wait while the host spoke to someone else, then finally managed to squeeze us in.
An Aside About Seating
Last week I went to The Fable in Clerkenwell for lunch. I went with my dad, who read it as “The Table”, so they need to work on their typography.
We entered via the Holborn Viaduct entrance rather than the, I presume, more popular Farringdon Street entrance. The restaurant was completely empty.
“I hope we can get a table”, I thought out loud.
The waitress was on the phone.
“Sorry about the wait.”
“Table for two, please.”
“Have you booked?”
“Oh. One moment please.”
She spoke into a walkie talkie for a while and then told us to make our way downstairs.
The sound from downstairs carried up somewhat so I figured that maybe it was deceptively full, and for some reason they couldn’t seat us in the empty upstairs. This was not the case. There were five or six tables of people. Granted, some had a party of nearly ten, but still, there were so many free seats.
Lunch was nice and we got a good seat by the window looking down onto Farringdon Street.
Here’s a picture of my pulled pork burger:
It came recommended by the downstairs waitress. It could have been otter and more flavourful, but it was adequate for lunch. The sweet potato fries were the star.
A 6/10. Maybe it’s too “businessy” a lunch spot for me, and ridiculous with its walkie talkie emptiness.
Back to Soho Joe.
Back to Soho Joe
We got seated, decided what to eat and drink, and Paul went up to order (you have to go up to order). I then continued to read the menu and check my phone, saw Paul leave the restaurant, continued reading the menu and checking my phone, looked at the couple next to me and saw that they weren’t talking or looking at each other, noticed that this went on for quite a while, texted this observation, continued observing, then Paul returned.
“They only take cash.”
Soho Joe bills itself as the “best value” London pizza. I guess this must be an SEO thing, but I can tell you, search engine user, that this is not the best value pizza: ECCo, ICCo and Franco Manco all top it in value terms. They were about £10 each, from memory, which is double the price of ECCo and £3 more than the next most expensive.
Here is the menu, you lucky thing:
I went for the Joe’s Special – because I’m worth it, because I tend to go for a place’s special, and because really it’s just a jazzed up CapriCciosa – and Paul went for the Diavola.
Here’s a picture of a pizza. The lighting was no good in there for pictures, but good for mood:
I will say that it is the biggest of the pizzas that I tried, excepting the six slices of the Pixxa Challenge.
The base was good, though, if anything, too thin and cooked more than I would have wanted. Gotta have some slop with that pizza base. And the toppings weren’t the most tongue tingling. Looking at that picture I am as underwhelmed as when I saw it in the flesh.
The Diavola fared better, if only because it had some spice to zazz up the pizza.
The couple next to us shared a pizza. For people with a normal appetite, I would say that they are personal pizzas rather than sharing pizzas. They again ate in silence, then the girl got up and kissed the guy repeatedly.
They left soon after.
I will go to my grave wondering what their relationship was.
Paul and I chatted about despair then left.
Sorry Harvey. You are incorrect. Soho Joe does not have the best pizza in London. I did quite enjoy the ambiance though, and admittedly it was a tasty, Italian-style pizza.
6.5/10 – Not a Soho Ho for Soho Joe. Good for strange dates (?)
Paul went to Pizza Pilgrims on Monday (without me, the heathen!) and, on my asking “how was the pizza, pilgrim” (I am a laugh riot), rated it “good value, sloppy, but tasty.” You can also book a table for 15 (or however big your party may be), which is why he went there over Franco Manca. Maybe I’ll try the newly-opened Exmouth Market one on a #FatFriday, but maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll stop hashtagging sentences. Huh, who knows. #LiveForTheMoment #Blessed #BoutDatLife #IllStopNow #SorryNotSorry #End