Stars turn out for Joe Allen’s 40th

unnamed-4Theatreland favourite Joe Allen is to celebrate its 40th anniversary with an appropriately star-studded line-up of alumni and guests on Sunday January 29.

Rowley Leigh will return to the pass in the kitchen where he started out, flanked by food writers Gizzi Erskine and Lisa Markwell, with TV personality Christopher Biggins meeting and greeting on the door and a cast of waiters headed by Jon Spiteri, David Young and Jonathan Blake, who worked at Joe’s in the 70s.

Actress Harriet Thorpe and jazz piano-playing restaurant critic Jay Rayner will provide musical entertainment, directed by Nigel Lilley, who brings La Cage aux Folles to the National Theatre next year.

The celebration may also turn into a farewell party of sorts. As we reported last month, landlord Capco has earmarked the site for Robert de Niro’s proposed Wellington Hotel, and it is understood that Joe Allen will move to new premises nearby.

Reservations for the dinner cost £40 a head for a cocktail and three courses, with £4 from each ticket being donated to Mousetrap Theatre Projects theatre education charity. Bookings are available on a first-come-first-served basis from January 3: applications should be addressed to


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