Jean Jacques, London – Makes you feel at home
You know that feeling when you walk into a place and it feels like home? Starting with the smiling face of the waiter and a welcoming bread basket with butter, nothing seems too far-fetched at Jean Jacques, in the heart of Soho. This French three-storey townhouse restaurant and bar opened its doors to Londoners, founded by the successful Table Talk Group with 12 branches in Moscow and St Petersburg. Their first European project, Jean Jacques London is located on the Frith Street, one of the most cultural hubs for the local area, becoming a well known destination for artists, journalists, writers. The decor and atmosphere are bohemian and relaxed, with deep red walls and mirrors. The first floor is more classic, with sandy shades and patterned tiles, natural light, extended with a canopied terrace. You can spend hours here before realizing time flies by, especially when you are accompanied by chatty friends, with an appetite for life and food. Opened daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Jean Jacques should definitely be on your radar if you want to enjoy an exquisite meal. Staff seemed really engaged with the menu and helped with recommendations, always a plus. What I loved the most about this restaurant was the creative potential I saw: live music, talks, films and readings. We are talking about the most crowded area in London with a high competition, but Soho needed Jean Jacques as fresh air.
The dishes are inspired from the French cuisine with Gallic classics, such as steak tartare, Provencal puff pastry tart, grilled poussin, or escargots. Me and my party had a taste of their lunch menu (£13.50), a really well presented option for being under a budget or on a hurry, without cutting back on the quality. For starters we had to choose between:
WHITE BEAN VELOUTE SOUP WITH TRUFFLE OIL
CARAMELISED PEAR, SPICED WALNUTS AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD
The soup was an excellent choice, especially when that day the temperature dropped below 5 degrees. Creamy and delicate! The salad, which I had, was a symphony of tastes and textures, lifted by the blue cheese and caramelised pear. A delight! I think I am looking forward to starters whenever I go to a restaurant, because they dictate how the rest of the meal is going to be. The attention to details, the freshness of the ingredients and the cooking techniques were perfect.
After chatting, laughing and taking loads of pictures, we were presented with the mains:
PAN FRIED HAKE, TOMATO FONDUE, OLIVES, CAPERS AND BASIL
ROASTED GUINEA FOWL SUPREME, CREAMED SAVOY CABBAGE, BACON LARDONS AND JUS ROTI
Fancy titles with beautiful plating. Homey dishes, hearty and classic with a reinterpretation of what lunch should look like every day. The fowl was cooked to perfection, moist and tender, while the savoy cabbage and jus made me want to ask for seconds. The girls had the hake, a really beautiful dish, complimenting the tomato fondue. Superb food, excellent choice of presenting French cuisine in its essence, known for finesse and flavour. I am looking forward to trying dinner at Jean Jacques, I am sure my experience will be enhanced by the Chef’s precision and flair in the kitchen.
No meal without dessert, as they say. We had:
VACHERIN, RASPBERRY SORBET, MIXED WINTER BERRIES
I must admit, I had no idea what Vacherin was, but it turned out to be a better interpretation of the traditional Pavlova. Crunchy meringue, topped with an insane concoction of cream and berries, finished with a boasting raspberry sorbet. The dessert to put to bed all desserts, that’s for sure! I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat anything after the first two courses, but just looking at this dessert opened my appetite. Thank you Jean Jacques for enhancing once again why I am in love with French cuisine. An all day dining place which has them all: well executed food, reasonable prices, and a cosy atmosphere. When in London, mark 45 Frith Street in your agenda, you will thank me later.