Jar Kitchen in Covent Garden
Pulling back the curtain has become a popular idiom thanks to the pop culture powerhouse that was The Wizard of Oz. The saying is a simple one: it’s all about revealing what’s behind the impressive exterior and seeing the truth. On the face of it, Jar Kitchen is a real wizard too, beautiful imagery combined with great ethics, delicious-sounding dishes and reasonable prices including the ever popular £5 cocktails. The question is what lies behind the curtain.
We mean that quite literally in this case, as the first thing that greets you on your entrance from Drury Lane is a thick velvet curtain, shielding the restaurant from the cold air and creating an intimate atmosphere. It’s a quirky little touch and we like it. Behind it lies something of a mixed package. Let’s start with those £5 cocktails. We opt for a Moscow Mule, which is solid and dependable, fair enough for the cost really though not the talking point offered by somewhere like Blacklock, whose £5 cocktails are unfathomably good for their price. Still, a good offering.
That’s the story here really. A starter of Lamb Carpaccio is tasty, tender and delicate in a way that we simply don’t expect from lamb and nicely complemented by grilled artichokes and a dusting of parmesan. A slick of anchovy sauce is very much not needed, or at least could be there in quarter the amount but it’s hardly a deal breaker, you can just ignore it as we did. Courgette Flowers with Goats Cheese and Fig Jam are better, the stickiness of the jam and the richness of the goats cheese are a winning combination.
Cheese comes up once more, breaded atop a dish of Portobello mushrooms. It’s simple but effective, the mushrooms cooked to meaty perfection, tender and supple. Whole Mackerel with Cucumber and Pear is again very nice. The combination of sweet pear, cool cucumber and oily fish is an intriguing one and despite our initial reservations actually works quite well. A salsa verde served on the side doesn’t quite mesh though, and it feels like the whole dish could just do with something more, infused throughout – something citrusy, a touch of a floral flavour. Something that harmonises nicely and ties things together.
Desserts are an intriguing prospect. Pine Needle Ice Cream, Yorkshire Rhubarb, Hazelnut Crumb is as delicious as it is pretty. The ice cream in particular, manages to be both remarkably fresh and indulgent at once, an excellent feat. Panna Cotta is suitably silky, but it’s their take on tiramisu that really steals the show. Light as a feather, with a strong coffee kick and a smattering of cocoa nibs on the top for a textural contrast, it’s somehow indulgent yet deliciously light.
So, what did we find behind the curtain? Well it certainly wasn’t the old charlatan that lurks behind the original image: the food here is definitely enjoyable. Is it magic though? Well, not quite, but there’s certainly potential.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Abyan Mohamed
To book a table at Jar Kitchen, 176 Drury Ln London WC2B 5QF, call 020 7405 4255 or visit here.