The Cowley Road Joe's, sadly, is no more. The Summertown one still exists though - have a look for more recent reviews at the new review page:

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Joe’s, Café , Restaurant & Bar, 21 Cowley Road, Tel. 201120.

Aug 03

Being on the Cowley road gives any restaurant a fair amount of competition - there is enough variety to cater for every taste. Joe's however is different. It is the only place to be for cocktails and, more importantly, burgers. If you are not a fan of McFastFood but do enjoy a really great burger occasionally, try Joe's. Juicy, freshly cooked steak burgers on toasted ciabatta with mayonnaise and a choice of toppings (swiss cheese really makes a burger for me, but bacon and blue cheese also make my stomach growl. None of this plastic burger cheese nonsense here.). A comparison with high street fast food chains is not really fair, as you pay £7.95 for your burger instead of 59p for something that can only dream of what it's like to be a real burger, let alone a cow. In Joe's they take the time to cook it for you instead of serving it in a lukewarm polystyrene box and a sickly sweet bun. The pickles actually look and taste like pickles. And vegetarians will be more than satisfied with the veggie burger or the Mediterranean vegetable and couscous combination.

Joe's is actually somebody's house. Long and narrow, they have found space for some tables and chairs and a bar, but essentially it is just a standard town house. They even use the garden if you prefer to sit outside and away from the Cowley Road traffic. All this makes it a place where you can actually relax - this is not pretentious or posh, but somewhere to grab lunch or an early dinner and take in some drinks. The 2 course lunch is particularly good, £7.95 for garlic bread or soup and a main (the bangers and mash is as good as my dad's - a huge compliment), or forgo the starter in favour of sticky toffee pud. If you just fancy a light lunch, ciabatta with toasted goat's cheese and bacon comes with a plethora of praise.

And then there are cocktails. At £4.50 a go, make it happy hour (5-8pm) if you're planning a heavy night of it. Joe's has enough variety to keep you happy for a while. There are classics - the mojito is incredibly refreshing, the Moscow mule has a kick, the caipirhina is one of the best I've had in Oxford, but if you drink nothing else, have a raspberry daiquiri. I do. Drink nothing else, that is. Initially they taste virtually non-alcoholic, the fresh raspberry puree overpowering the rum. After a few you'll find yourself feeling philanthropically mellow and seeing the world through raspberry-tinted specs. For something a little more serious, it's all about Bond in Moscow - champagne, vodka and blackberry liqueur. Joe's is a chill-out zone, not too far down the Cowley Road to be considered a hike and will fuel you for a lazy afternoon or a great night out.

Abby Chicken