PJ's Restaurant & Bar

American Restaurant in Covent Garden
PJ's Restaurant & Bar image

6 / 10 from 5 reviews
30 Wellington Street
Covent Garden
020 7240 7529
Other Branches
Covent Garden
Nearest Station
Covent Garden
0.20 miles
Opening Times
Monday Open 12:00 - Closes 00:00
Tuesday Open 12:00 - Closes 01:00
Wednesday Open 12:00 - Closes 01:00
Thursday Open 12:00 - Closes 01:00
Friday Open 12:00 - Closes 01:00
Saturday Open 11:30 - Closes 01:00
Sunday Open 11:30 - Closes 22:00

With a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of mirrors, PJ's Bar & Grill has a Bostonian feel about it. A particular favourite with the customers is baked field mushroom with goat's cheese and oak-scented grilled salmon with lemon and chive beurre blanc. Or failing that, how about some bubble & squeak with roast duck? Catering for any number of guests is available upon request and seating on the pavement area is provided. They also provide a range of entertainment.

All In London Review

A friendly, memorable, comfortable and informal restaurant amongst a sea of anonymous and over-rated chains

Although I have been there on many occasions in the past (usually in the evening), it was a while ago so I was pleased when a client suggested we have a working lunch there. The owner/manager – Bill, a mid-Western American – welcomed us warmly and continued to come and chat to us (and make some surprisingly good jokes) throughout the meal. What a cheerful host! We were also attended to by other friendly staff – who were rather well spoken. The service, as a result, was truly excellent and probably the most notable thing about my visit – it’s rare to find such friendliness and genuine rapport.

Anyway, it’s traditional clubby décor – wood and never ending large tarnished mirrors. The French cartoons on the walls and the bistro feel of the place generates an interesting contradiction to the traditional American grill angle. And I love the large fuschia pots dotted around the place – they really stand out. The tables appear to stretch out into infinity – a tardis of a restaurant – but still intimate as a result of its spacious galley like configuration and those friendly staff.

Walking through the substantial bar area, we were guided to our table positioned just below a stunning Art Deco/Art Nouveau sky light – allowing us to enjoy the summer’s limited sunshine but protecting us from the view of the many rainy showers we are sadly having to suffer at the moment.

We took Bill’s recommendation on a couple of glasses of wine – New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (three glasses came to £22.50 – so we really should have stretched to a bottle – but it’s a tough call at a business lunch isn’t it?) and also had some still mineral water (£3.65). As calves liver is one of my favourites it was an obvious choice – and my companion was of the same mind. Although, as a regular, he says that all the dishes he has tried there are very good. My medium liver – placed on a roundel of spinach - was cooked well and the sauce was rich and tasty. It was surrounded by a Stonehenge-like arrangement of small roasted potatoes which were crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside. Time did not allow us desserts but we did enjoy our large espressos.

The brunch/lunch menu offers some great choices – eggs Florentine (£5.95), eggs Benedict (£6.50), smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (£6.50) – so it would be an excellent choice if you were meeting friends after shopping in Covent Garden and needed something light. The starters are fairly standard – pear, rocket, walnut and blue cheese salad (£5.95), breseola (£7.95), herb and sesame seared tuna (£6.95), fish soup (£5.95) and steamed mussels (£5.95) are amongst the many choices. There are salads and the chef specials include monkfish wrapped in Parma ham (£13.95), grilled aubergine taboulah salad (£8.95), crispy pork belly (£12.95 – my companion said that you need an afternoon nap after that one) and lemon sole goujons (£10.95). Other grill items include the steak hamburger (£9.95), Cumberland sausage and mashed potatoes (£9.95), scallops in chorizo (£14.95) and scotch fillet steak (£15.95). There is a separate menu for dinner and various deals such as theatre express and the web site indicates that they also run dinner jazz evenings.

I took a trip to the loos downstairs (the steps and downstairs area are a bit tired) and you can linger down here to admire all the photographs of the various actors, actresses and other celebrities that frequent the place. I’m afraid that I am not very good at recognising many of these people although I did notice Mick Jagger on the wall near where we were eating upstairs.

One unique feature of the place is that cherished and regular customers receive either their own table (e.g. Edwina Currie) or a little brass plaque bearing their name. You can see them alongside the dining tables and also on the front of the bar. I seriously want one of those! Maybe Bill will one day getting round to providing a list of all the names and a little bit about those people?

£64.52 was the total bill so I wouldn’t put it at the bargain end of business lunches – but it is a memorable, comfortable and informal restaurant amongst a sea of anonymous and over-rated chains in the immediate proximity. Reminded me of nearby Joe Allen’s – only lighter and friendlier.

Reviewed by KimT
Published on Jul 31, 2009

User Reviews

j. bengry

Jun 25, 2014

Some of the reviews are a bit mixed here but I actually like this place. OK, so the food is nothing special (but by no means bad either, just a bit un-inspiring) but I found the staff to be friendly, the service efficient and the overall atmosphere buzzy and pleasant.

Jan 15, 2012

it is in my neighbourhood so used to go there on sundays for brunch: after management change quite intolerable. called in advance , was advised there is a 15 min wait. after more than a hour wait in the bar being ignored by management after several reminders , gave up and went to the thai place across the road which turned out to be a brilliant decision

Feb 1, 2008

PJ's is currently on a gift experience before watching The Woman in Black production at the Fortune Theatre.
Please note this with caution because the service in general is very sloppy.

Theatre go'ers are given a set menu, where the food wouldn't fill a church doormouse, plus the waitresses are still learning English, the tables are cramped and the bills also come with a fine service charge added (how nice)!

Prices on the main menu are steep, and the attitude of the restaurant matradee was rude and unwelcoming. I'd strongly advise seeing the Woman in Black, just please go to another restaurant like Christophers two doors down. This place certainly wasn't the hottest dish on the m
Fast Eddie

Apr 8, 2005

I have been to PJ’s three or four times now and haven’t yet been disappointed. It has a very laidback atmosphere and you're never hurried to leave. Even though this is a very busy little bar and eatery with people queuing for tables I’ve never once been handed my bill without asking for it in an attempt to clear the table for the next paying guest.
The staff are friendly and attentive (PJ himself is nearly always doing the rounds with a glass of vino in his hand); the food is well prepared and tasty (slightly “less is more” maybe but the prices are more than reasonable considering the location.)
PJ’s is a classy place and I think they also put on latenight jazz in the week.
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