Joe’s Kitchen is the latest addition to the burgeoning eatery selection in Nottingham’s Intu. Situated on the first floor, it was easy to find after a spot of shopping in the nearby John Lewis. We had to brave the crowds (oh Christmas, you beautiful inconvenience), but it was worth it. Why? The warm welcome from Omar and his team put a smile on my face and spring in my step as we were seated indoors.

The entrance is expansive with outdoor seating available, meaning you can happily people-watch should the need take you. On this occasion, Eastender Danny Dyer was in town, meaning there was a large gaggle of females (and a few blokes too) hanging around outside. Plus it was a little chilly, hence the preference of being seated indoors.

The menus are diverse, and the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m finding an increasing number of people asking me for recommendations for breakfast / brunch places, so it’s great to see that Joe’s Kitchen is taking the lead and serving breakfast (you’ll be surprised how many restaurants “don’t do” breakfast.

Giant Pepsi

We kicked off with 2 large Pepsis, which made us feel like we were inhabitants of Gulliver’s World, because the pitchers were massive (brownie points earned due to the sheer generosity of the drink size).

I ordered the Welsh Rarebit Bites with Salad (toasted slices of sourdough bread, delicious melting cheesy mustard sauce served with dressed mixed salad leaves & red onion chutney). I loved the cheese mixture and the sourdough was the fabulous balance between yeasty goodness with a sharp tang on the aftertaste. The onion chutney was a good antidote to the various levels of umami, bringing the whole dish together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle.

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My mate ordered the Vegetable Pot (smooth homemade artichoke, chick pea, garlic & lime hummus served with fresh raw seasonal vegetables, olive oil, pine nuts and flat bread). This was a very pretty dish to behold. Gorgeous slivers of blood-red beetroot and tender asparagus tips peeked out from the plant-pot filled with creamy, earthy hummus. The warm pitta was nice too, but I could happily have munched on this plant pot all evening and been perfectly satisfied.

Vegetable Pot

For the main, I ordered Chicken Katsu Burger (panko breaded chicken, curry mayo, spiced slaw, mango salsa, served on a glazed bun with a side of skin-on-fries). The glazed bread bun was delicious and pillowy soft on the bite, with a lovely caramelised top. The chicken was well seasoned, its flavour accentuated by the mayo spiked with curry, and sweet and sour mango salsa. The fries were really delicious and moreish and it’s great to see the sides getting some TLC and being lavished with as much attention during cooking as say, a main of chicken.

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Gal Pal A ordered the Macaroni Cheese (pasta tubes baked bubbling hot in a rich cheese sauce with herby crust, served with garlic sourdough). She loved this but had to wait a while, as her dish was piping hot. I nabbed a (few) forkfuls and loved this pasta dish too. It was cheesy and the sauce luxuriously velvety. My favourite part were the vast swathes of grilled cheese topping – this needs to be savoured and enjoyed, much like a fine wine.

Macaroni Cheese

For dessert, I had Pecan Pie (with white chocolate and cranberries, served warm with vanilla ice cream). The pastry was wonderfully short, yet the tasty filling seemed to lack cohesion. It was all magnificently gorgeous and scrumptious, I just wish I didn’t have to concentrate so hard on getting the delicious morsels off the plate and into my mouth due to its crumb-like texture.

Pecan Pie

Gal Pal A enjoyed her trifle, but found some sponge fingers rock hard; maybe they hadn’t been soaked off properly. The flavours of both desserts were great, I just wish a little more attention had been paid to the desserts on an otherwise great meal.

Hats off to Lily who was our server on the night. Omar runs a tight ship and Joe’s Kitchen should do well under his stewardship. I would heartily recommend Joe’s Kitchen, which is great for a breakfast pit-stop, hanging out with your girlfriends pre-shopping, or for a dinner date. Just go thirsty and you’ll be in for a treat with those giant Pepsi pitchers.

Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I hate it, I’d rather eat my own shoe” to 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)

Food: 8

Value for money: 8

Ambience: 9

Rate or Slate? Rate

2 Large Diet Pepsis £2.95, 1 Vegetable Pot £5.95, 1 Welsh Rarebit Bites £5.95, 1 Macaroni Cheese £8.50, 1 Chicken Katsu Burger £10.75, 1 Chips & Mayo £2.95, 1 English Trifle Sundae £5.75, 1 Pecan Pie £5.45. Total £51.20

Address: Upper Mall, Victoria Centre, Intu Nottingham. Tel: 0115 950 4318

*Note: the meal was paid courtesy of Joe’s Kitchen, Nottingham.

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