Sometimes you hear about a place through friends and you trust their judgement so you visit, enjoy and congratulate yourself on having such awesome pals with such great taste and sometimes you walk past it in the street and literally have to stop yourself from doubling back and ducking in for lunch because err, it’s 8am and ‘I’m sorry I’m late for work but I stopped and ate an entire 20” pizza on the way over’ is probably not the best thing to say to your boss on Monday morning. Fine on a Thursday FYI.
Joe Public falls squarely into the latter camp. I’m not a Clapham native so finding myself there for work over the past fortnight has given me plenty of time to peruse the neighbourhood for sweet spots to add to my ever expanding list of London must-eats.
Word to all future restaurant owners of the capital here: stepping out of the tube to find I have to exert only as much energy as it takes to swivel to the left before I can be sat at a picnic bench ordering a slice & a beer is a guaranteed way to make me like you. Yeah, I’m that shallow and you know deep down, you are too.
Making admirable work of a former public convenience with wooden stools, white subway tiles, cutlery in recycled tinned tomato cans and old skool diner napkin dispensers make this is as close to the sort of place you could imagine sharing a pizza stateside with Ross, Joey & Chandler (‘And then I kissed her’, ‘Tongue?’, ‘Yeah’, ‘Cool’) as I think you’ll get in London.
Serving California style pizzas – lots of toppings on sourdough bases – that can be bought by the slice or as a BFG snack sized 20” version, the menu boasts gluten free options for most bases and an array of ingredients to sit atop them from sausage & bacon to purple potato & artichoke, although given its West Coast inspiration, I was surprised not to see avocado on anything.
I’m a total groupie even for anything vaguely Middle Eastern when it comes to eating out so a Braised Lamb, Cumin Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Sweet Potato Base convinced me to Deliveroo my first taste of Joe’s rather than sit in as this was a flavour variant not available in house.
The base was full of sweet potato flavour which I loved and it was hot & crispy without being overly stodgy so full points for a super speedy delivery. Aubergine chunks were plentiful and nicely spiced but sadly the generous hand that dealt out those bad boys didn’t appear to want to do the same for the lamb which was a tad sparse.
Did it rock my pizza world? Not really and hand on heart, I’m not wholly convinced that this won’t end up being a place that runs on ‘novelty factor’ rather than the best pizzas this side of Naples however, if you find yourself stumbling out of a nearby pub on Saturday night, hungry for something to soak up those BOGOF Aperol Spritzes that taste so good in the sunshine, then I’m pretty sure the neon sign and cheap & cheerful value of Joe’s will be most welcome.