Joe’s Oriental Diner, The Laundry E8

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I am in a JOYOUS mood. When I first sat down to write this review, it was simply because I was drunk. I’m not talking about tipsy – I’m talking about that listening-to-loud_music-and-snarling-along-to-the-lyrics-like-your-Mrs-Beyonce-Swift-in-a-music-video drunk. The pure, virginal kind of drunk where the night is full of possibilities but it’s a weekday so you decide to call it a night while lamenting the more innocent times when such insignificant details as weekdays had no impact on your social life.

And I have not written a drunk review in FOREVER and as a friend kindly pointed our recently, ‘that was kind of my thing’. Ouch.

BUT THEN, oh dear readers, things got WAY better.

First, I noticed the cat had gunk in his eye. Stay with me. He’s seventeen okay, and he’s recovered from an over active thyroid so he’s basically a binge eater trapped in a bulimic’s body, and now he has kidney failure so he is completely USELESS at living, yet somehow holding on by the tip of his claw, which I love him for because he’s a grumpy miserable old git but he’s MY grumpy old miserable git and I’ve had him since I was ten which basically makes us BEST FRIENDS.

So I went to prepare some warm salt water to clean the corner of his eye then I remembered I had blocked the bathroom sink with drain cleaner because that stuff NEVER works it just makes the situation MUCH MUCH WORSE and WHEN will I learn… but THEN I figured, I’m going to get the plunger and fix this sorry mess because I am an INDEPENDENT WOMAN and there’s no use turning to the boy in this situation, he’s far too ethereal for this kind of thing (I even called my Dad and asked him how to unblock a drain earlier because it was TIME I became an ADULT. True story.)

So then I plunged the sink and LOW AND BEHOLD it was fixed, all this limescale type gunk plopped up and I cleared it out and now it works BEAUTIFULLY (but I burnt off all the silver varnish on the plughole with the drain unblocker, sssh don’t tell the landlord) AND THEN I went to clear the cat’s eye but he had essentially sorted himself out already because he is RESILIENT and it will only be him and the cockroaches left once the earth ends.

So anyway, after all that, I finally sat down to write this review, feeling considerably less Miss Beyonce Swift and more like maybe I should just write bullet points and flesh it out in the cold light of day. BUT NO because then it would make sense and that would be DULL. So here is my drunken review of Joe’s Oriental Diner at The Laundry.

So I didn’t actually mean to go to Joe’s Oriental Diner at The Laundry. I wanted to go to Som Saa, which for the longest time I was convinced was a Turkish restaurant for no good reason. So I essentially bullied my friend M (pictured, awkwardly posing for a photo with some food after threatening to start a blog of pictures of people taking photos of food – which is a GREAT idea, someone do it) to go to Som Saa with me.

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She was late, as always, as I was always late before I quit my job to write a book and stopped having real responsibilities. I went to queue up at Som Saa after walking around Climpson Arches looking confused and going “but these are some old abandoned industrial arches, what are all these good looking East Londoners doing drinking expensive wines in large metal tube type constructions?”

Seriously though, when the FUCK did some side street off of London Fields become so full of the BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. Where are they normally? Where can I stalk and slaver over them on a rainy day? Because today was sunny, and surely that brings out the good looking in us all. Or all of them. Whatever it was, it was enjoyable, and I felt like it rubbed off on me and that made me feel good.

So good, I didn’t mind when the smiley man at Som Saa said they had shut the list twenty five minutes ago and he didn’t even know if he could seat the people on the list and blame the sun because it had BROKEN THEM.

So instead, I wandered off to the nearest shiny metal tube space full of beautiful people eating and it happened to be Joe’s Oriental Diner at The Laundry. Normally I would have made the trek back to Rita’s Or Franco Manca but by this point even the lamppost looked delicious, I was that hungry, So I plonked myself down and waited patiently for M, asking for the menu in that kind of wide eyed frenzy only known to drug dealers meeting addicts on street corners at 7am in the morning.

She arrived, and I clutched the nearest waiter by the lapels and slobbered at them to feed me anything, anything for God’s sake just let it come quick. My friend, a pescatarian, umm-ed and aaah-ed until I ordered the yellow curry of snapper for her. I asked which was better – the BBQ belly pork with chilli jam or beef short rib rendang buns and without waiting for the answer ordered the former. The waitress suggested we ordered a rice to share and I politely told her in no certain terms to FUCK RIGHT OFF I WANT MY OWN RICE. Then we ordered a Sauvignon (moi) and a wheat beer (M).

After chatting about the joys of long-term relationships for about twenty minutes (we’re both at the six year mark), the food came. I had high hopes, from what I’d seen delivered to the tables around us, and the giddy smells wafting from the kitchen – and I wasn’t disappointed. Mine was an orderly queue of little porky morsels, lined up like they were marching off to market. The meat was soft, yielding like an insistent lover, the fat unctuous and melting in the mouth. The chilli jam was sticky sweet, clammily clinging to the palate and coating the pork with every mouthful. It came with little sexy strands of some kind of second cousin to bok choy – the crunch was satisfying compared to the other textures on the plate. The rice was rice – I ate it, and it was fluffy and it was good.

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My friend’s yellow curry was equally delightful – the snapper flesh was white, pillowy and tasted fresh, accompanied with cheeky little cubes of sweet potato. Although both my friend and I admitted to having eaten snapper before and still having no idea what it’s meant to taste like – which I get a lot with fish, which I suppose makes me unsophisticated. The sauce was creamy, the colour distinct, although M would have liked a shot of spice or heat running through, to give the flavour another dimension. It came rather snazzily adorned with cucumber spikes and peels of sweet potato, and the portion seemed bountiful – more than mine, which can be the only real negative criticism of my dish.

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All in all, the meal came to £73 with alcohol –not altogether cheap, but considering this establishment relocated from the well-heeled cobbles of Chelsea’s Kings Road, hardly a surprise. I wonder if the clientele will follow – it’s only been open three weeks. But I found the overall experience to be a joy – a great, cavernous venue, a cosy outside space and quick service – friendly, if not a little scatty.

Only one other negative to add – the soap. Look at the soap. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. Three glasses of Sauvignon in, I first tried to squeeze it, like some kind of antibacterial cow udder. It spun coyly in my hand and then I got the slippery hang of it. Not a pleasant, or particularly hygienic, experience. But hey, what’s a stick of soap between friends?

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Joe’s, I’ll be back.

Oh, and here’s a picture of me eating some pork. Because, that’s what proper bloggers do, apparently, and I want to be proper.

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