Jar Kitchen Review:
A couple of years ago I went to a press preview of a new restaurant called Jar Kitchen in Covent Garden. It was a fun evening, the wine flowed, we ate endless dishes of wonderful food. And, we met the founders, two very passionate and enthusiastic women who had given up their day jobs for the sake of pursuing a love of good, locally sourced and ethically produced food. When I first met them, Lucy Brown and Jenny Quintero told us how they had done most of the renovation work themselves, sanding down old doors to make the bar and pestering their friends and family for leftover jars to use for drinks! I was really impressed.
The latest I heard from them was some exciting news, that they had a new chef, Paula Borreguero, from one of my favourite Soho restaurants, 10 Greek Street. They asked me back to try the new menu and of course, I was delighted to oblige.
The interior is still the charming, friendly shabby chic place that it was when I first visited. There are flowers on the tables and an eclectic mixture of furniture.
And, Jenny is still there, with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.
We started, as you should, with cocktails – an English Elderflower Spritz for me and a Chilli Ginger Margarita for my companion. The last time we’d been out together we’d asked for oysters but they’d run out – not so here. A pretty plate of succulent pillowy Colchester Rocks appeared with edible garnish.
Then, three more small plates followed, along with a bottle of Domaine des Orchis Roussette de Savoie Quintessence d’Altesse, which is an Alpine wine from Savoie
We loved the quattre fromage croquettes with ccorn and saffron puree. The puree lifted what could have been a wintery and heavy plate and gave it a breath of summery flavours.
Octopus, pea puree and cherry tomatoes was a truly beautiful composition with the addition of pea shoots, fresh peas, radish and edible flowers. I thought the octopus was a little chewy but I suspect that may simply be that I have got so used to the ‘frozen to tenderise’ version that is commonly served up now.
Cured sardines with smoked horseradish, spiced cauliflower and lemon verbena was my least favourite of the small plates. I do like sardines, but I found the intensity of the cured fish too much. It was, however, another remarkably pretty plate of food.
We shared a plate of venison loin with mash, cherries and black kale as a main course. Rich and earthy with a perfect, sticky red wine reduction sauce, I would have happily just eaten this dish.
The Venison was accompanied by a large glass of Baglio Gibellina Passimento. Sicily – Nero d’Avola and with sides of triple cooked chips and broccoli with peaches and pistachio dressing that I was uncertain about to start with but quickly decided was an excellent option!
I remembered the mini doughnuts from the last visit – and happily they were still on the menu.
Meanwhile, my companion loved her Neals Yard Cheeseboard with Baron Bigod, Spa blue, Gorwydd Caerphilly and with Rye and Cranberry bread from Fabrique bakers. It’s charming that Jar Kitchen does work so closely with local businesses – Neals Yard is literally 5 minutes away and I know their wine supplier is similarly local to the restaurant.
We finished the evening with Coffee from Monmouth coffee roasters – something you could easily queue for if you chose to visit Borough Market in search of the perfect cup.
I’m delighted that Jar Kitchen is thriving in the competitive London restaurant scene. It deserves to do well and I’ll certainly be returning. Apart from the regular menu with starters and small plates between £7 and £10 and mains from £15 to just over £20, there’s an excellent pre-theatre menu and a rather fine express lunch offering both at around £20 for three courses. There are charming touches including filtered tap water that includes a £1 charity donation to water aid. And there are still those mini doughnuts!
Visiting London or looking for somewhere new to try around Covent Garden? Why not pin this post for later…
176 DRURY LANE
0207 405 4255