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The Jam Tree, Clapham
The Jam tree offers one of the best drinks selections in town in my opinion, and although I am extremely familiar with tasting the different ways one can make a virgin Mojito in the same city they definitely know how to put their own twist to it – a strange at first strawberry infusion that ended becoming my favourite mojito blend so far. Displaying a very open list of fine wines to choose from as well as their famous Jammy Cocktail this place is perfect for a literal Jam night (yes, I just said that) or for even just a casual drink.
They currently serve 30 signature cocktails, which feature Jam as the main ingredient. They have a team of in house mixologists ensuring the finest cocktails are crafted, ensuring a combination of classics and their creative cocktails. These all include their playfully named Netflix & Chill, Pearl Jam and the well known Jammy Dodger a delightful muddle of Butterscotch Schnapps, Frangelico & Chambord shaken with double cream and strawberry cream.
Offerings twists on classic cocktails such as the Pamplemousse Martini with fresh Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka. The creative delights continue onwards with the Bloody Mary Menu with a Maple Bacon Bloody Mary infused bacon into Jim Bean Maple Bourbon and the Smoking Hot Mary with chase smoked vodka.
Or if you prefer a night of music and dancing, you could almost fine dine and dance at the same time, with a wide variation of music playing throughout while you eat. It was like a constant after-party almost with a live dj running until late, and more parties happening until 3am at their sister venue, Fu Manchu, located only a couple of seconds away from the front, close by in Clapham North. I did not see any of the performances however most of London’s best DJ’s are said to be found creating the constant buzz of the venue – dropping Old School Hip Hop, Club Classics, Chart Hits, Rare Groove & Soulful House until your ears are ringing (literally) – if that is what you’re after.
Before I had visited, they had just recently updated their menu options, expanding it further than just a typical English-Carribbean blend. Their Executive Chef, Dominic Taylor has been said to be the source of their innovative menu – And it was to no surprise that as soon as I saw plantain on the menu I could relate to the homage to his Caribbean roots meeting classic British flavour.
“Caribbean dishes inspired from the traditional, Ackee and Saltfish cakes, combined with Modern British favourites, Beef Sliders with plantain Jam”
Did I just see Plantain in the menu???
And not just Caribbean, there are several moments in the menu where there is a big display of cultural honesty. The North African ’Chops’ and ‘Curry’ blended into a St Lucian style seafood coconut curry, ‘Mama’s Fried Chicken’ and the Jam Tree’s secret recipe southern style chicken are only a start of what this great restaurant has to offer. They also offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diners, following a modern movement with a unique selection of old and new superfoods on the menu.
Although we came for dinner and not brunch, the new brunch menu was re-modified to create “food that people like to eat”, now serving ‘French Toast’ and ‘Chicken & Waffles’ which have already proved themselves to be customer’s favourites in the Clapham branch and they have thankfully added a mouthwatering Sunday roast with all the trimmings!
The Lunch menu features popular British Cuisine and spice with some Asian delicacies such as Malaysian and Caribbean offerings on the menu, spicy starters such as Sotong Manis, sweet spicy & crispy squid or a hearty bowl of Char Sui Roast Pork with udon noodles. This also includes a BBQ menu for those warmer English days, with mains such as Lamb Kofta with home-made chili sauce and pomegranate molasses on a fresh flat bread.
The Dinner menu is more hearty, allowing you to enjoy a range of dishes from a 28-day aged (really?) steak to Sweet Potato & Chickpea Cakes. Smaller bites include Mini Burgers in Brioche Buns with a delicious selection of fillings such as the stand out Halloumi Burger or Jerk Chicken Burger with sweet and spicy mayo.
The Sunday Roasts are generous and popular, vegetarians are catered for with a Mushroom Wellington with its own mushroom gravy. (I am not a big fan of mushrooms so that will definitely be skipped!) But the next visit for me will definitely be in the morning hours on a weekend, because the Jam Tree is renowned for its Bottomless Brunch served every Saturday and Sunday.
They also offer an indulgent dessert menu including Bakewell Tart with Cherry Custard and Chilli infused Chargrilled Pineapple Carpaccio with Lime Sorbet, which is as perfect as it sounds.
As soon as I walked in I noticed a creative urban style interior, giving it a colourful edge, almost like a splattered display of bright colours. It goes well with the laid-back vibes that continues through the walls adorned with pop art. There is the signature Jam Jar piece located behind the bar at the Clapham venue.
It is an incredibly fresh and contemporary creative compilation of both restaurant & bar (at both locations) and there is so much to look at but yet it never distracts you from the beautifully presented food that will be displayed in front of you!
Disguised around the brightness of the restaurant/bar is the Clapham’s branch Winter Garden that you could say is hidden within The Jam Tree. You would not really notice it unless you are looking for it and I was able to sneak a peak – even though most of the time it is hired out for private parties. It is newly erected and suits all season, from summery days to the cold and dark evenings that are protected by their toasty heaters throughout the entire garden, rain barriers and a soon-to-be launched Hot Cocktail menu! (yes please)
There is also an outer bar for those longed warmer days, where you can even hire your own Stella Artois Bar.
All in all a fantastic venue and lots to see and taste and requires if not another but several trips more to really absorb the variety of goodness that the Jam Tree has to offer. Unfortunately we did that thing that you always do when you’re spoiled for choice and don’t know when to stop eating and then you realise you’ve left no space for desert (no, not as bad as My Old Dutch thank God). They delivered a huge plate of a selection of sorbets and ice-cream blends that I could physically not touch (Ray helped me finish that off, as usual).
This is my beautiful, and it could be yours too.
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