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14 February 2014

The Burger Bulletin: Jackson + Rye Review

I've been wanting to visit Jackson + Rye, a New York-style all-day eatery on Wardour Street, soon after visiting its sister restaurant, Grillshack last year. It has been getting a lot of press of late, and with its sleek, dark interiors, impressive cocktails and comfort-food-heavy menu, it's easy to see why. In fact, their PR team may have been doing too good a job because when we arrived for our 6.30 dinner booking, we were shown to a bank of tables that were so tightly packed that a visit to the bathroom required some serious furniture juggling.


The ambiance was great though, with candle-lit tables and comfy leather seating. I also love the design of the menu and the website: quirky but stylish.



The all-day menu is fairly straightforward — steaks, burgers, fried chicken, meatballs and the like — although there are also daily specials. Several of the cocktails sounded delicious so it took a while to decide which to have. In the end, I settled on the Floradora, under the misguided assumption that the ginger, raspberries and lime, as well as the gin, would help to shift my sore throat. This wasn't the case, but it was a damn good cocktail.


I very nearly ordered the buttermilk fried chicken for my main course, but in the end I had to give the cheeseburger ago. Besides, my dinner partner went for the chicken, so I was hoping I might get to sample that too. I'm all in favour of efficient service, but our main courses arrived literally 30 seconds after our drinks, which was about two minutes after ordering. This is too fast. When you're having a nice meal out, you don't want to feel rushed and you don't want to feel like your food has been sitting on a warming plate in the kitchen waiting for your order. If we had been able to enjoy our drinks for even five minutes before the food arrived, it would have been a big improvement.

The burger itself was good, although both of my instructions — medium rare and no gherkin or onion — were ignored. Again, if the food hadn't arrived instantaneously, maybe they would have got this right. The meat was tasty and tender and the gruyère cheese made a welcome change. The shoestring fries were true to their name and were very thin indeed. They were tasty, though, even if they arrived slightly lukewarm. Next time, I would probably go for the fried chicken, which was excellent: juicy and crispy in all the right places.


Jackson + Rye's pudding menu is also strong, but I couldn't not order the peanut cookies and ice cream. The cookies had a jam centre and the ice cream came with chocolate sauce, which I poured over the cookies too, of course. The potted cheesecake was also very good.



Overall, Jackson + Rye gets a big thumbs-up. It looks cool, the wait staff are friendly and the food is good. They are getting a lot of things right and have ticked off a lot of boxes on the New York all-day-restaurant checklist. There are still a few kinks to be worked out — even if that just means removing one table-for-two from an overcrowded bank of tables to make customers feel less like sardines, and allowing people time to enjoy their drinks for a few minutes. I'm also keen to see what the place is like at brunch time, brunch being my favourite of meals.

Jackson + Rye. 56 Wardour Street, London, W1D 4JG (Tube: Piccadilly Circus). Website. Twitter.

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