It’s really hard for a restaurant to stand out in the crowded neighbourhood of Soho. Every other shop front in Soho is now a new trendy resturant introducing London to the the latest cuisine from the other side of the world or a chic bar serving up their signature cocktails in mason jars.
Jackson+Rye is the brainchild of Mark Askew and Hannah Bass, the team behind Grillshack and is backed by restauranteur royalty Richard Caring. Dream team much? Serving up an all day dining menu inspired by the east cost of the US of A, Jackson+Rye on Wardour Street is pretty epic. Seb, Louisa and I walked in without a reservation on a Tuesday night and we were seated immediately. I am a big fan of any restaurant that entertains walk-ins and Jackson+Rye reserves quite a few tables for walk ins. Definitely a winning formula for me.
The restaurant is a lot bigger than it looks form the outside. Split over two floors, this Martin Brudnizki designed space actually manages to pull off that coveted ‘New York restaurant’ look that many places try to achieve but rarely do. With a beautiful L shaped bar right in the heart of the restaurant surrounded by closely packed tables and art deco inspired light fixtures and mirrors on the wall, Jackson+Rye definitely looks the part.
The menu is a collection of simple all day dining options inspired by the East Coast and includes all time American favourites like Truffled Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Buttermilk Fried Chicken along with a few exciting curveballs like Avocado Benedict. They also have a great collection of New York styled cocktails and an extensive rye (whiskey) menu on offer too. Overall, quite an impressive menu and easy to get excited about (especially when you get to the desserts section). Pecan Pie anyone?
We shared two appetisers to start us off – the Roasted Sea Scallops and the Seared Beef Carpaccio. The roasted scallops served on a bed of chilli cream sauce and completed with some baby shoots was absolutely beautiful. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the lightly spiced sauce complimented the scallops surprisingly well. The hand sliced beef carpaccio served with brown butter sauce, toasted hazelnuts, apple and rocket was another dish that was spot on. Nothing too fancy but then again good food doesn’t have to try too hard if it’s done well and this dish was exactly that. We scoured both plates up as soon as the waitress served them up. Definitely a good sign of things to come.
Seb’s main of Pork Chops served with a simple watercress salad from the specials menu wasn’t too bad at all. Simple, well cooked and well flavoured – it’s what I expect good pork chops to taste like. Louisa opted for something lighter, the Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Chicken Breast. The chicken was served with a simple salad and finished off with some avocado, maple bacon and blue cheese dressing. I wasn’t too sure about this dish when I saw it on the menu but it really surprised me – the blue cheese dressing, the maple bacon and the avocado worked really well together. Who knew? The grilled chicken was cooked perfectly but I wanted to taste a bit more of that grilled lemon and rosemary flavours. Overall not a bad dish at all.
The highlight of the meal for me however was the Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken – this was perfection on a plate for me. Unlike the buttermilk chicken that I sampled at Canteen in Waterloo which was too dry and salty, the chicken here was moist and the crispy buttermilk coating was flavoured just right. Served with a spicy white cabbage coleslaw and some fries, I cannot recommend this dish enough. Dare I say, just as good as the buttermilk chicken burger I tried at Solita; which is the buttermilk chicken to beat for me.
I wasn’t joking when I said that it’s quite easy to get excited when you look at the dessert options at Jackson+Rye. With options like peanut butter cookies and toasted marshmallows, you can see why I was so excited for pudding. We decided to go all out and try 3 different ones.
The Peanut Butter Cookies served with grape jelly, milk ice cream and finished off with chocolate sauce were beautifully presented complete with jammie doggier styled cookies with a chocolate centre and a cute milk pot filled with chocolate sauce for dipping. Albeit beautifully presented, the peanut butter cookies weren’t mind-blowing unfortunately – I was expecting a lot more.
The J+R Pecan Pie served with rye whiskey ice cream on the other hand was absolutely stunning. The pecan pie was a slice of heaven on a plate and the rye whiskey ice cream couldn’t have been better if it tried. You cannot go wrong with a hot pie and cold ice cream combination! Highly recommended. The Blueberry and Apple Cobbler was just as impressive. Served with some good old vanilla custard, it doesn’t get more homely than this. A classic pudding cooked to perfection that I would happily order again without any hesitation.
You gotta love the portion sizes at Jackon+Rye, it’s massive. My blueberry and apple cobbler could easily feed a family of 4! Okay, slight exaggeration but you know what I mean.
If you want some well portioned, homely East Coast inspired American favourites, look no further. You are bound to
like love Jackon+Rye. Great service, great cocktails, great food and great atmosphere. What more could you want?