Jackson & Rye, 56 Wardour Street, London W1D 4JF
Visited Nov/Dec 2014
Value for money: 4/5
I wasn’t planning on writing this while I was eating (I mean, who does that?) but the sight of another lovely solo female diner inspired me to jot something down quickly in between fluffy forkfuls…
Jackson & Rye is one of those places I’ve walked past a thousand times in Soho, but never thought of entering. Partly because it’s has a rather unassuming exterior, and gets lost in the miasma of bars and restaurants concentrated here, but also because I didn’t realise they do all-day brunch – including PANCAKES.
A friend who knows how much I love brunch and afternoon tea sent me a link to recommended brunch places. I’ve been to some of the places on the list and I question once again the integrity of such selections and shortlists: some of them are “meh”. Furthermore, I’m not interested in the eggs and farmers’ breakfast and kedgeree and avocado scrambles – for me, you have to do pancakes, waffles and/or French toast, and you have to do them well. Which so far has proved very difficult for UK eateries, including the boldly self-declared ‘American diner’. The only place which has come close is Stax, because the only decent thing on their menu is the pancakes and awesome maple roast beef bacon. Mmmm. Even so, nothing comes close to the delectable pre-lunch triumphs I have had in the US, dwarfing their pale UK imitations in quality, flavour, variety and size. Even IHOP beats most places here.
So, Jackson & Rye. Pancakes. I need to try.
I ordered the pancakes with blueberry compote and skipped the whipped cream. I was expecting 3 thin, small disappointing things on my plate (it happened before, Balans – and it was 2 flatcakes!), so was pleasantly surprised to receive a plate with 3 reasonably-sized, fluffy pancakes. No butter, but a small pot of compote (too small, it was a teaspoon of compote which should actually be illegal as a serving size anywhere) and of maple syrup, too (again, would have been much happier with a pouring jug but what can you do).
The pancakes were pretty good: tasty, not overcooked. Perhaps a touch chewy, but they were a little dry due to no cream or butter. I finished them and felt satisfied, not stuffed, but not hungry for more. I would come back for more, after a waitress said I could customise them a bit (but there’s no option to have ice cream with your pancakes, which is a shame).
The best positives?
Good service: one waitress brought me more compote without hesitation, another recommended chocolate with my pancakes next time I came.
Good price: the pancakes were a reasonable £6 (especially great for West End standards), and the rest of the menu looked pretty good and reasonably-prices too. I like the look of the lunch menu, so there’s another reason to come back.
Good vibe: I was eating alone, and so was another young woman. No big deal, of course, but it’s nice to eat in a nice environment and feel comfortable. No rush to move me along, the music is audible but not deafening…all nice.
All-in-all, definitely a place I’d drop into for lunch or brunch if I was in the area, and it’s good to know that a place like this exists in central London.