John Gregory-Smith hit the King’s Road to try Joe’s Oriental Diner
When Scott Hallsworth opened Kurobuta on the Kings Road, his dive bar style space and moorish shared plates were enough to send me skipping down the Kings Road after avoiding if for years (East LDN is just more fun). I loved the food, devouring everything almost as fast as the kitchen could knock it out. But I didn’t go back, instead returning to Marble Arch where I was less likely to be caught in a stampe of Made in Chelsea stars striding past to get a table at Beaufort House.
Scott has played Tetris, shifting Kurobuta across the street into a Camden-style boozer with old Hendrix posters on the wall and popped Joe’s Oriental Diner into the original site.
The concept is much the same but with a more pan Asian feel. We started off with pints of Kirin with a frozen head – a sort of beer slush puppy, piped onto the pint from a slushie machine – I have never knocked back two pints faster. This is officially my drink of the summer.
The rare beef salad (£12) looked stunning, with succulent slithers of beef showered in sesame seeds and topped with finely sliced red onion, carrots and ginger. It lacked a little punch for me, but was still pleasant. The Thai pork sausage (£8.50) delivered what the salad lacked, a heavy chilli kick and fresh fragrant aftertaste.
Citrus scented eel rice (£9.5) wafted out from the kitchen. It was delicious, packed with fragrant kaffir leaves, big chucks of unagi (eel) and a sweet soy coating. The yellow snapper curry (£13) was nutty and creamy, but could have been fishier to give it a more authentic S.E. Asian flavour.
We finished with short rib rendang buns (£13) – sort of build your own Chinese buns. The idea being to stuff the fluffy cloud like buns with a rich, nutty rendang curry. A twist on the classic roti accompaniment, which still packed a wickedly savoury punch.
Despite the lack of big S.E. Asian flavours, Joe’s is worth the pilgrimage and perfect for a fun night of feasting and frozen Kirin Slushies.
Joe’s Oriental Diner – 251 King’s Road, London SW3 5EL