Joe’s Diner: American Diner in Heliopolis Looks the Part, But Falls Down on Food
79 Abdel Hamid Badawy St.
It’s never been easier to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in food scenes around the world and one concept that seems to be becoming popular again is the concept of a traditional American diner. Diners offer a great variety of American comfort food in a casual ambiance with a cheerful interior – something that we found with Joe’s Diner in Heliopolis.
Despite the gloomy black painted walls, purple lighting and mainstream industrial-style ceiling, Joe’s Diner captured everything we imagined a diner to be; from the black and white chess-like flooring and the cheerful red and white furniture, to the cartoony neon signs and retro posters. The ambiance was just remarkable – all that was missing was a jukebox.
We started our meal with Joe’s Sloppy Cheese Fries (39LE) as an appetiser, and as our main we opted for Louisiana Fried Chicken Plate (69LE) and Joe's Special Burger (59LE).
Starting with Joe’s Sloppy Cheese Fries, the fries themselves were perfectly cooked, but sadly the scant amount of cheese and flavourful sauce and chilli was disappointing, while the bacon needed to be crispier. In addition, scallions were used instead of chives, but they added great pop to the flavour regardless. Overall, the fries stayed crispy because the appetiser was far from sloppy.
Moving to the mains, the Louisiana Fried Chicken was the star of the meal; two pieces of tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside fried chicken with a mouth-watering crunch, topped with simple gravy made of cream and peppercorn. The dish is served with smooth mashed potato topped with the same gravy as the chicken and Mexican rice which was bursting with flavours, but a bit watery.
We were keener, however, to try the burgers at Joe’s Diner – because what’s a diner without outstanding burger? The Joe’s Special Burger came in the form of a juicy patty cooked perfectly to the requested medium-well and topped with processed cheddar cheese, soft bacon, and crispy onion rings. Aside from the fact that the cheese hadn’t melted at all, burger patty was ruined by the noticeably un-fresh bun and the carelessly thrown-together toppings, as well as the fact that the fresh mushroom and the BBQ sauce promised in the menu that didn’t make it to the sandwich. The burger is served with coleslaw mixed with apple cider vinegar that added a unique flavour, and French fries which confused us because it was cold and soft unlike the fries in the appetiser.
We finished our meal in true diner style, with Vanilla Milkshake (25LE), Strawberry Milkshake (25LE) and Chocolate Chip Pie (39LE). The vanilla milkshake had a perfect consistency and a spot-on amount of sugar, while the strawberry milkshake tasted closer to artificially flavoured ice cream. As for the chocolate chip pie, it was basically a cookie stuffed with chocolate and topped with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Flavour-wise, it had an overwhelming taste of flour and the stuffed chocolate was mild in flavour – but the ice cream was good.
All in all, Joe’s Diner looks the part, but in focusing on the look of the restaurant, our visit suggests that it has come at the expense of the food.