• Joi Buffet: Amazing value vegan buffet in London’s West End

    December 27th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    I cannot lie. I’ve found myself wandering, hungry, around the West End after a night on the town more than once over the years. On the most recent occasion, as I was walking back to Camden Town from Leicester Square, I happened upon Joi Buffet on Percy St., right off Tottenham Court Road. There was a large board outside with the word “Vegan Food” written on it in chalk, and somehow I found myself inside and seated semi-automatically (vegan restaurants have a habit of sucking me in) on the verge of a very interesting dining experience.

    Joi has, by far, the largest vegan self-serve buffet I’ve ever seen. I stopped counting the number of dishes when I got to 70, and there were many more to go – probably in the order of 90-100 or so food items from every kind of fake meat and Asian-influenced cuisine you can imagine (Chinese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian and Japanese) to vegan staples like meat loaf, roast potatoes and gravy as well as salads and 8 different kinds of hot sauce! About the only food item missing was pizza, but that was more than made up for with several kinds of pasta and sauces. Also, new dishes kept coming out from the kitchen every few minutes. It seemed like when one dish was empty it wasn’t always replaced with the same thing, so the food item turnover during a typical dining interval added to the sheer amount of stuff you could feast on.

    And feast we did. Buffets are always difficult for me — I act like a starving man in some post-apololyptical food oasis, filling my plate to the brim on each of way too many visits. And dining at Joi wasn’t an exception. I ate food from all eight continents (the 8th, by the way, was the buffet table itself – somewhere between the size of Antarctica and Australasia).

    There were way too many food items to take pictures of them all, or even remember which ones we ate, but we were delighted with our nice table, friendly waitstaff (who were not in the slightest bit bothered that we kept asking if everything was 100% vegan) and huge selection.

    Now, many people think that a vegan diet is healthy – and indeed it can be – but eating this kind of food every day will be anything but healthy. Everything tastes great, because it’s cooked in plenty of oil with little to no regard for calorific content. I can vouch for that as I’ve rarely been so stuffed after leaving a restaurant (only myself to blame, of course), and I probably didn’t eat a thing for 18 hours afterwards.

    Bottom line: Joi Buffet is conveniently located, has great opening hours and an unparalleled choice of vegan food, of which you can eat as much as you like. Just don’t eat there three times a day, and be prepared for some decompression time and extreme exercise to work off the thousands of calories you’ll undoubtedly consume unless you’re very diligent with what you eat.

    Oh, and the whole place is excellent value – the “all you can eat” option which includes every food item in the place is only £6.50 (around $10), and you can also fill up a to go box for just £3.50.

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7 responses to “Joi Buffet: Amazing value vegan buffet in London’s West End” RSS icon

  • I usually go to Joi on a Sunday lunchtime with my wife and three kids. The staff are friendly, the food selection is amazing and it’s all of very high quality. I agreed, though, that one shouldn’t eat too much of it on too many occasions, like all convenience food.

    There are, though, some very healthy salads, grilled tofu and vegetables available so eating at Joi doesn’t have to be a grease-fest!

    QuarryGirl: when are you coming back to London? We love seeing our restaurants written about on your wonderful blog. My family and I are visiting Los Angeles in the summer just to eat at the restaurants you write about.

  • Whaat? Holy wow.

    That buffet looks dangerous. I think I try to get too much for my money when I go to one.

  • Yes please!

    Yet another reason I have been trying to see if a clinical license will be valid in the UK!


  • Yes agree totally, a great treat, but as some of the best things are fried, an occasional one! Will always make a point of making visits there once a month! There are other similar Tai buffet places around London, though not with quite the same variety!

  • There’s a few of these all over London. One was on BBC showing them employing illegal immigrants paying them next to nothing an hour. I believe they also found rats in the kitchens etc. A lot of the food tastes like vinegar and seems like it’s been there for days. It’s also loaded with MSG.

    The place isn’t terrible, but I think you can do better for your money in London. From all the Tai/Joi buffets I’ve seen in London this one seems to look the freshest. The one in Camden is scary.

  • Damn, this puts the buffet at Inn of the Seventh Ray to shame.

  • Da Data Monkey

    Sadly due to the engineering works Joi is now closed (as is Percy st!). Try Buffet V 40 New Oxford Street
    London WC1A 1EP which is also BYO 🙂

    As to the rats (actually mice) that was one place that had problems with mice for year before they took over the premises. Staff are generally Chinese language students, and like most in UK work cash in hand. Thats normal and they enjoy it.

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