Joe’s Bar and Grill in Summertown, North Oxford, is a near perfect restaurant. From the moment you walk in, it feels warm and welcoming with an inviting bar, large round leather banquets, a beautiful chandelier, and artwork which is a mix of jazz photos and various Americana. The staff are welcoming, and most of them have been working there for years, which is always a good sign.
Joe’s serves food all day, from breakfast through dinner, with afternoon tea also available. They have free wifi and don’t seem to mind when I linger over coffee or have meetings there, though I’m usually conscious of scheduling these for off times as they do a roaring lunch trade. I have also popped in for a late night cocktail or two after dining elsewhere, as it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere and the barman knows how to make good cocktails!
Last night I went to Joe’s for dinner. Hubs and I shared a bowl of the butternut squash soup, which was a blackboard special. We each had a veggie burger (his with cheddar, mine with blue cheese and mushrooms), and we shared a bowl of hand cut chunky chips. They offer a wide variety of burger toppings (at £.95 each), and sides, including chunky or skinny fries. You do get a small salad and pickle slices with burgers, but fries are extra.
The soup was a large portion for a starter, and came with two slices of very fresh bread (think it was sourdough). The soup was silky smooth and seasoned perfectly. It was a lovely starter.
Joe’s veggie burgers are amongst the best in Oxford. They are outrageously good, and I remember the first time I had one I had to summon the waiter to verify it was actually vegetarian, as it’s the closest thing to a beef burger I’ve ever had. It comes on a nice, rustic bun, and I like to load mine up with mushrooms and gooey blue cheese. It comes with a small salad and red onion slices, and a couple of pickle slices, which is a touch of American styling that I appreciate. The chunky chips were delicious – I ordered them well done and that’s how they came.
I don’t usually order a starter, and sharing the soup and ordering the fries meant I was too full to eat more than half my burger, which is a shame because it tastes so unbelievably good.
So why isn’t the restaurant perfect? Well, in my opinion it’s slightly pricey. The veggie burger is the same price as a beef, chicken or lamb burger, which I don’t think is that fair. Priced at £9.95 without toppings or chips, it does get a little pricey once you add things on. They do a special burger night on Tuesday’s, where you can get any burger, chips and a drink for a tenner, so maybe I need to start going out on Tuesdays instead of Saturdays…. But then I wouldn’t be able to indulge in those delicious cocktails….
Joe’s Bar and Grill
260 BANBURY ROAD
OXFORD OX2 7DX
Tel. 01865 554484
For more information about Joe’s and other restaurants in Oxford, visit Oxford City GuidePin It