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Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides

The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories

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Review

Navajo Joe

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34 King Street, WC2
Tel: 020 7240 4008


Restaurant / bars come and go. Restaurant / bars can also be the victims of the fickle fashionable crowd: a new place opens, they make it their new favourite watering hole… and then they bugger off as soon as the next new “in” spot opens. A few years ago, Navajo Joe, the Covent Garden restaurant / bar with a justifiably legendary tequila collection, could have gone the same way. It’s got the location, the atmosphere – seductive lighting, funky décor and trendy pounding music – and, with those stacked shelves of tequilas, the vital Unique Selling Point. The beautiful people lapped it up… and, x years later, an awful lot of them are still hanging around. Which suggests Navajo Joe has got the formula pretty much right.

Starters of Fresh Crabcakes with sweet chilli and lime (£6.50) and Skillet of tiger prawns, lime, chilli, garlic and coriander (£7) were nothing out of the ordinary or innovative but very decently executed. Ingredients were fresh, the portions were suitably chunky and the combination of tastes highly successful.

The same could be said of the main courses. Char grilled Peri Peri chicken, baked baby potatoes, sour cream and chives (£13) was presented in appealing nouvelle style, albeit expanded to American-sized portions. The Peri Peri aspect packed a decent, but not overpowering heat, the chicken itself was moist and flavoursome and the baby potatoes a neat, almost humorous touch. Pan-roasted sea bass, red pepper salsa and butternut mash (£14) was also a success. This fine – and large – piece of sea bass, given colour and pep by the salsa and the sweetness of the mash, was devoured with obvious relish by my companion. Huge side orders of grilled mushrooms and rocket and parmesan salad (both £3.50), and a bottle of crisp, cold South African Sauvignon (Graham Beck Coastal ½, £17.50) left us full, content and pushed the total bill to a reasonable £65.

Desserts were an impossibility but a couple of cocktails at the bar – make that a couple of very good cocktails – finished the evening off in fine style. One visit and the appeal, and value, of Navajo Joe will be very obvious.

Average cost per head, including wine - £35

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Atmosphere: 4/5
Value for money: 3/5