Joeblade

Breakfast at Jackson + Rye

I’ve mentioned before my concerns about the creeping introduction of avocado on the typical London breakfast menu, but at Jackson + Rye it’s reached apotheosis in the form of the horrific ‘Avocado Benedict’: two poached eggs topped with hollandaise sauce on top of an entire halved, peeled and pitted avocado, in place of the traditional toasted English muffin. Finally, then, a Benedict for those whom the act of cutting and chewing a muffin was just too much effort for that time of day. Finally, a Benedict that can be eaten with just a fork; mash with the back, shovel with the tines, toss straight down the gullet like you’re a force-fed goose.

My first visit to Jackson + Rye didn’t go well. The place itself is a cosy, attractive, American-style diner-ish place but the staff were definitely having a bad day; coffee was forgotten and the wrong breakfast brought out, its replacement taking so long to arrive that I’d finished mine while my companion was starting to gnaw on her napkin. The delay seemed to be down to confusion from the oddly-named options: “Angler’s” is smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, “Farmer’s” is a meaty option, “Gardener’s” skips the meat and includes spinach. We ordered an Angler’s and a Gardener’s, the waiter heard Angler’s and Farmer’s, was corrected, then went and put in his preferred order anyway. When the Farmer’s came out instead of the Gardener’s we were briefly stumped as to whether we’d ordered that at all, suddenly unsure whether gardeners ate meat or not. Note to restauranteurs: if your restaurant’s breakfast options sound like a children’s nursery rhyme, you may be causing long-term problems for yourself.

Credit where credit’s due, though; the staff were apologetic and removed items from the bill without us having to ask and, godforsaken avocado dish from the 1970s aside, the food itself is pretty good. Coffee is above average, bacon is served in falling-apart slabs rather than slices, ‘country’ potatoes were initially shared and then fought over, buttermilk pancakes were thick but light and came with a liberal serving of vanilla cream and maple syrup. What I’ve had so far has just been good, hearty food at, considering it’s Soho, reasonable prices.

There’s an American theme to most of the options, leading to oddities like “Milk and cookies with peanut, grape jelly”, but I guess if you’re bringing a child along, or if you’re planning on going to bed moments later, you’re covered. “Creamed corn grits” appear as a side dish, so the toothless and slack-jawed really are well-served here.

By Paul Haine, in