Published on December 12th, 2014 | by Sophia Longhi1
Jackson and Rye, Richmond
Summary: Playful puddings, hearty grub and well-mixed cocktails make Jackson and Rye a great destination for gastronomic tourists
Americana-inspired Jackson and Rye has gone down a storm in Soho and now it’s Richmond’s turn for a bit of that sweet Southern hospitality. With a menu serving American favourites like burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese and shrimp and grits, it certainly will appeal to hearty appetites, while the old-fashioned New York-style bar invites the drinks-and-nibblers to sit at the counter and peruse the list of cocktail classics.
The warm lighting and vintage decor is welcoming and creates a kind of faded-glamour ambience, which we soak up as we sit ourselves at the bar upon fawn-coloured leather stools and order some pre-dinner cocktails: an Old-Fashioned and a Manhattan (we’re channelling Frank and Ginger). The Old-Fashioned arrives in a huge, heavy tumbler and is well-made, leaving a smoky, honeyed aftertaste. If the Old-Fashioned is the Frank, then the Manhattan is definitely the Ginger: sweet, feminine, with seductive woody undertones – the perfect two drinks to start an evening in the land of Lady Liberty.
We settle into our leather booth and order a few traditional dishes – corn bread, shrimp and grits and, of course, mac ‘n’ cheese. An American place is only as good as its mac ‘n’ cheese. Luckily, this one is good – perfectly cooked pasta smothered in creamy cheese sauce, the flecks of black truffle visible and lending an earthy, rich flavour to the old favourite – though it does lack a thick top layer of gooey melted cheese that could have made it perfect. The home-made corn bread is sweet, golden and fluffy and when eaten warm and teamed with the dense and delicious sour cream, this simple dish is quite indulgent. It definitely benefits from the chopped-up firey jalapeños that have worked their way into the mix, which cut through the cakeiness and excite those tastebuds a little.
Shrimp and grits, a typical dish from the Southern states, can easily be ruined by watery, tasteless grits but these have a creamy texture, sweetened by the fresh sweetcorn kernels mixed in. The shrimp are fat, meaty and so juicy they feel like they pop in your mouth.
We vow to continue the journey of the States by trying more American staples: the mighty cheese burger and the southern fried chicken. Both are good versions of these classic dishes: the chicken is coated with a freshly-crumbed crispy coating and is served with sweet potato fries and an excellent homemade BBQ sauce on request. The burger, although a little over-done for my taste (I do like to see red meat juices splash onto my plate) looks like the real deal: huge, with melted cheese running over the sides of the patty and is served with the works – fries, pickles, lettuce and a giant beef tomato slice. The on-trend brioche bun is just what is needed to hold it all together and when I can just about dislocate my jaw to take a bite, it is a hugely satisfying, roaringly meaty mouthful.
For dessert, we go for the all-American peanut butter cookies, which are delightful and baked to perfection. Served with milk ice cream and a pot of melted chocolate, it is a fun but indulgent dessert that really provides that sweet tooth hit. For something lighter, there are the scorched marshmallows with sorbet and dipping chocolate. I have never seen this dessert on a menu before but they are seriously delicious and a lovely way to end a meal without overdoing it.
Playful puddings, hearty grub and well-mixed cocktails make Jackson and Rye a great destination for gastronomic tourists. Its diverse drinks list of selected wines and interesting beers teamed with its pleasant, smart atmosphere take it into upscale American brasserie territory, bringing something new and novel to Richmond.
Jackson and Rye, 1 Heron Square, Richmond, TW9 1EJShare This Post