In January, dining in London takes on a different kind of feel than it does at other times of the year. You’re not just going to eat out, you’re looking for food to provide you with some degree of comfort and respite from the wintry gloom and getting over the fact that your Scrooge-like boss informed you that there was going to be no bonus this year.
One place that is set up for a culinary binge is Jackson + Rye, which has just opened its newest branch on Old Jewry. The street is set up for entertaining City workers with Goodman’s and Browns across the way, along with The Anthologist just around the corner. Stepping into Jackson + Rye, it boasts an interior heavily dripping in Americana. It’s the kind of place where Don Draper would take his secretary or the protagonists of a Richard Yates novel would go to drink away their resentment of conformity.
Yet this is not 1950’s America, it is London in 2016, and we get to keep the food whilst missing out on the McCarthy hearings. The basis for Jackson + Rye’s menu is East coast American cuisine, and my companion and I started off with a couple of starters in the form of truffled mac and cheese and crispy chorizo prawns. The mac and cheese was exquisite, creamy and nuanced in taste. My prawns were also excellent and well presented.
For main course, my companion and I went for the Ravioli Pesto and Buttermilk Fried Chicken respectively. My companion’s choice featured freshly-made ravioli with peas, mint & ricotta with pesto, pine nuts, new potato and green beans. It had all the hallmarks and flavour of freshly made pasta and the addition of mint gave a lingering sense of lightness to the dish. I was equally enthused with my choice, which was two crispy chicken breasts with spicy slaw & Cajun sweet potato fries. The taste was wonderfully smooth and the meat combined exceptionally well with the piquancy of the slaw.
At this point, my companion and I were very full but keen to press onto dessert. We took a recommendation off our server and plumped for a shared Melting Chocolate Sundae, which featured vanilla ice cream & chocolate brownie with butterscotch sauce poured over it all. It was the perfect end to the meal with my companion and taking turns in scooping out the gooey goodness as we slumped down into our chairs.
Whatever your views about America and its current inability to elect presidents with emotional age of beyond six, there’s no denying that it serves up great food. Jackson and Rye showcases some of the best of it and also keeps America’s well-known excellent customer service, and the highest recommendation that I can give to a restaurant in that I’ve been thinking about its food ever since.
Jackson + Rye
30 Old Jewry
Tel: 020 3597 5153