American culture – especially food – has definitely landed in London. But none of the places that I’ve visited recently seem to take on brunch in that genuinely authentic American style. Why not? Well, brunch in England is essentially a Sunday Lunch. By definition that is lunch. Not brunch… A proper brunch allows you to start drinking at the same time that you can eat eggs. Ideal for us English, right?
Well, I can’t think of many places in London that I’d like to do that more at then in the Martin Brudnzki designed (designed Scotts, Hix, Cote amongst others), 1920’s-y interior of Jackson + Rye. So off we went.
Backed by owner of The Ivy ; Richard Caring and opened by experienced restaurateur Andy Bassadone – who co-founded Strada and Cote before helping Bills to expand, the restaurant had to deliver.
The menu draws inspiration from the casual cuisine of the US East Coast. It provides strong value for money with Mac and Cheese from just under £7 and cocktails from £6.
As the name might suggest, the drinks menu mainly consists of Rye. I went for a Breakfast Sour (below on the left) though which I adored. (Buffalo Trace, lemon, peach bitters, egg white and apricot preserve). Very fresh, with notes of citrus.
The Truffled Mac and Cheese had a great crunchy skin to it but could have done with well…more cheese. Although, If you like truffle, than it’s brilliant.
The thing is, that with both of these dishes, there are places nearby that do both of these items better. Spuntino which is just around the corner, does a phenomenal Mac and Cheese whilst The Riding House Café’s Buttermilk Pancake’s are exquisite.
What did really impress both of us was the Gnocchi. Usually dumped onto menus as the token vegetarian option, this one tasted like it had been pan-fried. It was delicate but crispy, all at the very same time. A pleasant surprise.
Overall, I thought the food was hit and miss. The drinks? Superb. Tables? Too close together. But I would happily recommend brunch at Jackson + Rye. It is definitely worth a visit.
Word to the wise though, if you get told that there’s an 85 minute wait, just agree to it. We were supposed to be waiting for 60-80 minutes and were seated within 15. Just pop round somewhere for a drink and they’ll text you when your table is ready.