I swore off tweet ups a few years ago after a disastrous afternoon during which I found myself in a group of bearded men who wanted to discuss tweets and pooh. Needless to say I ran off to feed the imaginary meter for my imaginary car and took a heavy dose of shopping therapy to recover. I have turned down every invitation since until last year when I went to a tweet up where I live and the conversation was thankfully more about business, networking and my favourite topic; wine.
Which brings me on to my review of the Jackson + Rye tweet up last week in Chiswick which was thankfully a very civilised affair over cocktails and dinner. For those of you that know Chiswick, Jackson + Rye is on the south side of Chiswick High Road and in a spot previously occupied by Jamie’s Italian and prior to that, Villandry neither of which lasted particularly long. My long held theory that celebrity restaurants just don’t cut it in W4, is proved time and time again so let’s hope the relative new comer to the casual dining /diner scene stays the course.
As we arrived, we were led to the first floor of the venue which I didn’t even know existed! This well kept secret is atmospheric and very reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting. We were offered Rye Manhattans, a heady cocktail made with Rittenhouse Rye, Luxardo Maraschino, Martini Rosso and dressed with a cherry, a speciality of the house. It looked amazing but I’m not a great fan of brown spirits so switched to a rather lovely dry white wine which went down well along with some nuts, olives and cornbread.
With the local twitterati of Chiswick assembled; I’m pleased to say the atmosphere was convivial, our hosts very obliging and the menu intriguing. There was the obligatory photographing of food and drink throughout the evening and lots of laughter too.
So on to the food; as we begin to tire of burger joints and all day diners, Jackson + Rye offers a casual dining alternative which still has an affectionate American drawl. I had half a lobster to start which was quite an ostentatious dish (I managed to console myself with the fact it suits my current exclusion diet; I won’t bore you with it on this post). And while this isn’t the greatest of photos, it gives you a good idea of what to expect; a fair sized lobster with lots of white meat to chomp on. My daughter had the truffled mac and cheese starter with a curly kale topping. We were both happy with our orders when they arrived.
The assembled crowd of 20 or so people ordered quite a variety of dishes from salads, to fish, vegetarian and of course meat. I had the USDA certified steak accompanied by skinny fries and a small serviing of chipotle mayonnaise, which was a nice alternative to bearnaise or peppercorn sauce. My daughter had the butter milk chicken which was a really big, hearty serving and enough for two people to share if you were having starters and desserts.
I’m not a great fan of desserts but my daughter is and she was spoilt for choice. I can say the melting chocolate sundae has a great sense of theatre about it. If you eat out as a family, this is one dessert which will have your kids wanting to go back for more. It’s basically milk ice cream and chocolate brownie with butterscotch sauce. It arrives in a metal container with a dome of chocolate and once the hot sauce is poured over, it melts to reveal the dessert inside. There’s a little taster on the Vine below.
What I like about Jackson + Rye is that it is unashamedly grown up and brings a breadth of taste and style to the table which many other American style restaurants fail to do. When it comes to the Chiswick venue, I would like to see a DJ and some decks installed upstairs to amplify the edginess of the decor and bring the place to life. The restaurant certainly has the right ambience for it to work and there’s very little going on in Chiswick if you’re a fan of music so it would be a welcome addition to the local nightlife too. It would also be great to have more events happening such as tastings, so the tweet up was a great place to start.
ABOUT THE RESTAURANT
Name: Jackson + Rye
Address: 217-221 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DW
Tel: 020 8747 1156
Saturday: 8.00am – 11.00pm
Sunday: 8.00am – 10.30pm
Restaurant: 130 internal/30 external
Disabled Access: Yes
Nearest Train/Tube: Chiswick Park & Turnham Green (District line), Acton Town (Piccadilly line)
Credit Cards: All major credit cards
Disclosure: thanks to Jackson + Rye for inviting us along for the complimentary meal.