A long time ago, Joe's was undoubtedly the coolest place in Ryde, arguably the Island. Fickle fashion moved on, things changed, Joe's star waned. But now, it looks like it's on the way back.
Joe's still has a stylish atmosphere, and now the smoking ban has worked its magic, it's at last an atmosphere one can breathe. Joe's is still serving good food at decent prices. They even have linen tablecloths and napkins now, the décor has been smartened up, and there's a substantial fish and seafood menu as well as the usual stuff. Matt is delighted to report that his all-time favourite Joe's Old Fashioned Lemonade is now back on the drinks list - any glass of lemonade made with a whole fresh lemon has to be good.
Matt and Cat sat at their favourite window table, watching Ryde go by. A little scenario played itself out across the street - a crazy guy waved his can of Tennent's and jabbered on at passers-by. Before long, a neatly dressed chap who obviously knew the drunk turned up, calmed him with gentle remonstrations, and the two walked off quietly arm in arm. Perhaps it was a metaphor: Matt and Cat, safe indoors, felt as if Joe's was an old friend who'd returned after a long and worrying absence.
Cat's Caesar salad was a mighty portion, with mountains of chicken, ham and the occasional salty anchovy nestling in generously-dressed leaves. She happily crunched her way through, as Matt wrestled with an attractive side-salad served alongside his beer-battered haddock and chips. For some reason the salad was served vertically - in a narrow, tall pot. It looked spectacular, but offered an interesting challenge to the diner. Perhaps even more challenging was the curious aroma that arose from the battered fish. Matt quizzed Cat about her chicken - was it smoked? No, it was not. Was her crunchy Parma ham smoked? No more than normal. Could it possibly be the haddock, then? And so it transpired: the haddock was smoked. Not overpoweringly so, but enough to permeate the whole dish.
Whilst Matt's got no objection to aspirant Heston Blumenthals meddling with classic dishes, he'd always prefer some warning of this to allow an informed choice on his part. The specials board made no mention of the haddock being smoked, and frankly, it was an experiment that Matt might have chosen to forgo had he known. He checked with the very helpful waiter, who confirmed that yes, this was smoked haddock and it was meant to be like that. Still, never one to let gastronomic prudery stand in the way of a meal, Matt tucked in and enjoyed the meal for what it was. It was actually pretty good, once Matt had got over his indignation.
So, Joe's is back. Great service, good food, and very reasonable prices. Recommended.
Matt and Cat respond: Hi lex, thanks for your comment. Don't think Joe's has a website. Google says their phone number is (01983) 567047. If you go and eat there please feel free to add a comment to our site!
Friend had cooked breakfast: bacon, sausage, runny fried egg, mushroom, hash brown and grilled tomato all very good and fresh, toast acceptable with good butter; baked beans in their own ramekin; only pot of tea failed to please but this is a matter of taste. Great ingredients and great value at £4.95 or so. Really no need ever to have an English breakfast anywhere else in Ryde ever again.
I had softly-poached egg with fresh hollandaise and spinach on a good toasted muffin: near-perfect at £4.25 or so. Coffee was good enough to have a second large Americano: could be a LITTLE better but this is personal (e.g I like the coffee (only) at Tesco Ryde).
Quality newspapers on sticks like in an Austrian cafe. We chatted very agreeably with two fellow guests for 10 minutes or so, only to discover that they were the modest man-and-wife non-foodie proprietors with a decades-long retail presence in Ryde.
Very good service, large menu; will be back to have dinner soon and to try the NEW fish restaurant upstairs. Somewhere you can take anybody no matter what their tastes.
Hard to find ANY suggestions for improvement: maybe come in at 6 am and bake home-made breads?? make the tea and coffee PERFECT?
I had a large fish pie with a dish of vegetables in cheese sauce included on the side: beautiful taste of fish with lovely herb flavours in a good fish sauce, quality ingredients, topped with potato mash lightly grilled; a snip at £6.95. Vegetables good but could improve slightly.
Friend had broccoli & stilton soup, which, though not novel was perfectly executed: about £3.50 with a roll and butter!
Guess what? A new chef is making his own bread: friend had a white roll, I had walnut bread: both perfect.
For coffee, still ONE of the best on the Island; this team can make it THE best.
my husband took me to Joe's on Union Street for what was supposed to be a nice dinner.It wasn't!
The place was grubby;the service hard work;the food?at best o.k.
That was 18 months ago.
We decided to give it another go as we were staying in Yelfs Hotel opposite (that's another story!)
The place was clean and bright;the service was brilliant;the food?(bearing in mind we ordered from the specials,the main menu and the fish restaurant menu) was as good as I've eaten.
For a change,someone seems to be doing something right.
We look forward to going back.
We'll be back.
I also resent having to pay extra for veg to go with my meal as it appears most meat dishes only come with a form of Potato, Who wants breast of duck with only potato. I feel that it is overpriced as veg is extra. I will say there is nothing wrong with the food as long as it is cooked, just there customer service and the price.
I shan't be returning!
The cutlery was dirty which wasn’t a good start, We had the bread and olives to share which one would think you couldn’t get wrong but as it turned out you can if the bread is stale and hard, Then moved on to the main course which was the Fish gratan.Looked good but we couldn’t work out why the waitress bought us a cray fish sauce to go with it until she explained the chef had said it may be too dry .By now the alarm bells were going off and then we tried the food which i have to say was so salty that we both gagged on the first and only mouthfull.We left moments later very and shall not be going back.
Will definately not be returning, bring back ian whitehead!!
However, the quality of the rest of the breakfast has plummeted - less on a sumptuous galleon, than a leaky tin bath!
This place must have done a lot of economising on its ingredients, sausage was lower end and not top - eggs barely edible and bacon ghastly.
Coffee still the best in Ryde, however.....