A busy Saturday morning in Summertown and the streets are bustling with folk going about their business but there is sanctuary to be found behind the doors of Joe’s Bar and Grill. In need of brunch I headed in….
I am instantly greeted by a waitress stationed at the door who leads me over to a table and informs me someone will be over to take my order soon. There is none of that hovering around in the doorway, not sure if you should just find a seat or wait for someone to help you which is a nice touch.
There is a nice relaxed atmosphere inside Joe’s and it has the feel of a sumptious American diner; a handful of booths are dotted around, nice comfy leather seating and subdued lighting focused above the tables all adding to the ambience. While not posh or pretentious it does feel classy and refined, somewhere just that little bit special to visit.
The Breakfast and Brunch menu is served until 4:30pm and features a selection of pastries, a full cooked breakfast (meaty and veggie options available), french toast and a whole range of egg options. I opted for the Eggs Royale; soft poached eggs on an English muffin with oak-smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce at £8.00, with a Rooibos tea to wash it down with. I am awarding bonus points for them serving Rooibos, surprising how many places don’t serve my tea of choice.
The eggs were perfectly cooked so the yolks oozed out when cut into while the whites held firm. The salmon melted in your mouth with the gentle smoking adding nicely to the flavour, the muffin was lightly toasted and the hollandaise sauce was smooth, creamy, nicely seasoned and generous in portion. The fewer component parts a dish has the less room there is to hide and with a staple like Eggs Royale any flaws are easily spotted, but Joe’s nailed it.
I have to give a mention to the staff as well, they were discreet but attentive and I am pleased to report that they did neither of my two pet peeves while I was there. Firstly there was no ‘Hi guys, what can I get you guys today then guys? and secondly nobody came over to see if I was okay, forcing me to interrupt my meal and trying to reply with a mouthful of food and a forced smile that everything is fine. Trust me, if it wasn’t I would let you know of my own accord.
There is an evening menu on offer, with daily specials on the board along with some pretty tasty looking cocktails. I know from personal experience that they do a mean burger – well worth checking out.