Joan, Shoreditch


Just before lockdown, we visited a new arrival onto the London food scene, Joan, which is located in Shoreditch, and headed up by Niko Kontogiannatos, former head chef at Caravan Fitzrovia. Now, I have to admit that Caravan Fitzrovia had always been a favourite; I love the fresh but hearty foods, and I was even more excited to eat at Joan when I found out Niko was heading it up.

The restaurant itself is just a moment from Shoreditch High Street station, in the former residence of Beach Blanket Babylon, and as you enter you’ll be reminded of the pre-covid days of dimly lit bars, funky settings and delightful decor - you know, if it wasn’t for the mask, table service and 2 metre distance which they adhere to perfectly.

We arrived early - something I always seem to do now I’ve been unconditioned to being late after leaving the office - and decided to enjoy a couple of drinks in the bar. Given it was a Wednesday, in the middle of a pandemic, it had a busy vibe which was exactly what I was after. After a drink in the bar, we were shown to our table and explained the menu.

The menu is, what I can only describe, as a combination of all your favourite foods. You can have Braised Beef Short Rib with Bavette Steak Toastadas, or pizza, or a burger. Normally I am not a fan of a menu so confused, but with everything been done so well it’s hard not to love.

We finally settled on various small plates - ranging from £6.50 through to £9.50. You can also go for their larger plates, but we fancied trying various things from the menu.

  • Buttermilk fried chicken, chipotle yogurt

  • Braised beef short rib, creamy potato mash, fried onion and chive mayonnaise

  • Braised octopus, herby potato salad, yuzu dressing and squid in aioli

  • Burrata, caponata, basil oil and roasted pine nuts

  • Hispy cabbage, pancetta lardons, croutons, anchovies and garlic sauce

  • Bavette steak tostadas

  • Triple cooked fries with truffle and parmesan 

  • Orange pie, white chocolate cream, orange gel and crispy filo

  • Broken up cheesecake

Now I have to say, despite the range and mix of flavours, it all worked well together and it is my favourite type of dining whereby I eat various dishes over the course of an hour. Every dish was fresh and delicious, seasoned perfectly, but the stand-out plates from the above were the braised short rib, braised octopus and the hispy cabbage - they were all truly delicious. My only negative comment would be for the portion size, the prices are a little steep - but what they lack in size, they make up for with flavour. 

We also held out for dessert; opting for the delicious orange pie which was fresh and rounded off the meal perfectly. The broken up cheesecake was also tasty - appealing to those of us (guilty) who have an extremely sweet tooth. 

All in all, Joan Shoreditch is a great location for your casual dining desires. Blending a beautiful venue, that feels very Shoreditch, with easy, tasty food that caters to everyones taste buds. 

Now, to just get out of Tier 3 and visit again! 

19-23 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA

020 3848 0512

*Thanks to Joan Shoreditch for supplying the images! 


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