The latest incarnation of The Jam Tree expands these acclaimed restaurateurs into Clapham’s Old Town. Using a Sixties aesthetic as the backdrop for a menu that deals in global exotic delights as well as British cuisine, the quirkiness of this venue comes alive on an inventive, jam-heavy cocktail menu.
From the minute you experience the soundless glide of The Jam Tree’s wooden automatic doors, the venue dazzles with modern touches and charms with nostalgic, Sixties décor. From Beatles seat covers to Warhol-inspired friezes of jam jars, the clean lines and bright colours of the restaurant’s design give the place a fresh and vital appeal.
The Jam Tree achieves the unusual coup of being chic yet informal at the same time, leaving the equally chic clientele at peace to enjoy the menu’s many indulgences. Posters and music from the era of free love and freedom of expression certainly help one to feel relaxed and inspired, and the minimalistic beauty of the bar area gives the impression of drinking in high style.
The Jam Tree cites its culinary inspiration as a ‘celebration of Colonial flavours’, and the orgiastic combinations of cuisine from Jamaica, India, South Africa, Malaysia and beyond - alongside Britain’s more traditional fare - is sure to have something to seduce every palate.
Glancing at the starters, an item as eye-catching as sautéed monkfish cheek simply has to be ordered, and the three fleshy, succulent cuts of monkfish with pea puree, caper berries, samphire and a saffron cream promise a savoury and wonderfully light start to a meal. Balanced against the generous portion of Santong manis battered spicy squid ordered at the recommendation helpful staff, connoisseurs of calamari are sure to rate it highly for its tangy and rich chilli and garlic sauce, and the gargantuan spools of squid, battered to perfection.
The main course offers the temptation of Moen’s 35 day matured Scotch rib-eye 10oz steak, and the giant slab of flavoursome red meat comes to the table accompanied by delicious duck fat chips, slow roasted tomatoes and a perfect peppercorn sauce, and does not disappoint. The rump of Hendwick lamb is utterly tender and resplendent in the juice of a perfectly roasted joint, with fluffy and delicious mint croquettes on the side.
Dessert continues to delight. A strawberry elderflower Eton Mess is a meringue swamped in beautifully thick cream and festooned in perfectly tart strawberries. And when it comes to ice cream choices, selections of banana, toffee, and valhora and cornflake provide creamy and delicate scoops with wonderful full-bodied flavours.
The Jam Tree welcomes wine connoisseurs with open arms and a knowing wink, and the bottle of Domaine Houchart has a rather heavy and distinctive palate of crushed raspberries, wild strawberry and nectarine for a rosé. With their gigantic and sparkling spirit bar and clearly knowledgeable barkeeps however, it is the cocktails that steal the show. The Jam Tree’s resident mixologists have created a fabulous signature menu starring their infamous Jam Mojito, a range of other eccentric drinks using jam and marmalade as key ingredients, and a mammoth range of Bloody Mary’s that make this the perfect Sunday brunch destination.
The Last Word
High marks are awarded for the inventiveness of the aesthetic and cocktail menu, a beautifully serene and stylish dining atmosphere, and exorbitantly satisfying and elegant cuisine that harks back to the origins of cosmopolitan London.