Soho’s hottest new restaurant occupies a prime corner spot where Wardour Street rubs up against Old Compton Street. Loud and lively, dark and moody, Jackson + Rye is a café and cocktail bar at the front and a full-service, all-day restaurant at the back and downstairs, offering what it calls American heritage food: all the time-honoured Stateside standards, plus a few appealing soul foodie curveballs to keep those of us spoilt cynics fast approaching burger-and-lobster satiety on our toes.
Backed by the London eating-out monopolist, finger-in-every-posh-pie billionaire Richard Caring (Ivy, Caprice, J Sheekey, 34, Annabel’s, etc, etc) and fitted out by Caring’s favoured designer, the prolific Martin Brudnizki (whose work runs the gamut from Scott’s and Hix to Cote and Jamie’s Italian), this is the second Caring foray into casual American dining in as many months, after the slightly less prepossessing Grillshack, on Beak Street.
Thanks to Jackson + Rye’s location, to Brudnizki’s design, inspired by New York bars of a century ago (timber screens and tables, olive leather banquettes, deep blue ceilings, pendant lamps, tiled floors), as well as to a much wider and more ambitious menu than Grillshack’s, Jackson + Rye looks like a winner.
Esquire went with friends last night and, in the interests of research, made short work of a great number of excellent dishes: shrimp and grits, truffled mac and cheese, prime cut steak, a decent cheeseburger, terrific chowder, Reuben sandwich, buttermilk chicken, solid sides, all washed down with Brooklyn Lager in frosted glasses, followed by a robust Oregonian red and a house rye to finish. Plus peanut butter cookies with ice cream and chocolate sauce (for the ladies, obviously).
Prices are reasonable and best of all – unlike far too many recent laid-back American-style London restaurants – they don’t expect you to queue in the cold: yes, you can actually book a table! Highly recommended.
Jackson + Rye, 56 Wardour Street, London W1D 4JG. firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7437 8338