Down by the riverside | Jackson + Rye Richmond, Hotham House, 1 Heron Square, Richmond, TW9 1EJ
We’ve been to Jackson + Rye on Wardour Street numerous times. The first, back in December 2013 when they first opened to sample their brunch menu. More recently was to pop in for a nightcap when a very silk tongued barman smooth talked Saff and I into spending nearly £100 on their vast array of whisky and rye (cue Don Mclean classic).
The genius behind Jackson + Rye and one of the reasons that we like it so much is their take and execution on American comfort eating. They haven’t modelled themselves on the classic US diner, all neon and kitsch and it’s not a stuffy high-end starched tableclothed restaurant either. Jackson + Rye is somewhere in the middle, a relaxed atmosphere, excellent and knowledgable service, proper sized US classics (with a UK skew) and very reasonably priced cocktails… Win, win, win and win!
The reason for our latest visit to Jackson + Rye was to check out their newest location on the banks of the Thames in Richmond. The decor is very similar to that in the Soho branch (click here for the review), just a little more refined. Maybe this is to compliment the restaurant’s beautiful setting, a mere 50 meters or so from the river. The staff are young but professional and eager to please, the dining area calm and relaxed, the stresses of our nightmare journey soon melted away, especially with the help of a couple of cocktails.
As I was driving I could only have one, so I opted for the very grown up and very bold Rye Manhattan, £8 – Rittenhouse Rye, Luxardo Maraschino, Martini Rosso and (best of all) a whisky soaked cherry! Saff knew she could have a couple of drinks so tried something new, first she knocked back an El Paso Sours £7.50 – Rittenhouse Rye, lemon and agave, described on the menu as indulgent and complex. Later, just to keep her awake (my conversation must have been less than riveting) she ordered a Black ‘n’ Rye £6.50 – more Rittenhouse Rye, Kahlua, coffee and sugar. This rocket-fuelled cocktail is their version of a classic Espresso Martini and it sure does its intended job.
Deciding what dish to pick is always a dilemma, there is almost too much choice. It can be so tempting to re-order our old favourites (Hot shrimp & grits £7.50 and Crispy buttermilk fried chicken £11.95) but there are so many untested items on the menu too. The thing is, Jackson + Rye offer an all day dining experience, which only adds to our indecision. So you want steak at 9am, that’s fine! Or you want bacon, sausage and eggs at 4.30pm, no problem! You could probably stick a pin in the menu and still come up trumps, so all our umming and ahing really shouldn’t have been an issue.
Finally we were ready to order. Saff had Roasted Sea Scallops £8.75 – chopped garden peas, chilli cream sauce, Old Bay seasoning and baby shoots. This was exactly as described, no surprise flavours, perfectly cooked plump little scallops with the fresh sweetness of the peas, you really can’t go wrong with this combo. I stuck to the seafood theme and ordered the Crispy Squid Rings £6.95 – chilli & herb crumb coating with chipotle mayonnaise. These deep-fried rings had a sneaky little chilli kick but the chipotle mayonnaise was more like a classic Thousand Island dressing.
Saff went all manly for her main course and chose Jackson + Rye‘s American take on the humble full English breakfast, The Farmer’s £8.50 – maple slab bacon, fried eggs, sausage patty, country-style potatoes, spring onion and grilled toast. She was beyond excited about the thick cuts of sticky sweet maple coated meat (it was sold out on our previous visit). She adores this slab bacon so much that she asked Jackson + Rye for the recipe and it formed the centre piece of last year’s Christmas dinner. The rest of the plate was just as good, two fried eggs (sunny side up), a juicy rectangular sausage patty (yes more pork) and crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle cubes of roasted potato.
I was a little more dainty with my main, my Shrimp Burger £11.95 wasn’t really what I expected. I naively thought that it would be peeled shrimp piled up in between the brioche held together by the guacamole, a bit like a prawn cocktail in a bun! In reality it was a patty formed of chopped shrimp sat on a thick slice of tomato and lettuce with a big dollop of the guacamole on top. A delicate and subtle flavour but a splash of hot sauce soon put a stop to that. It was definitely a healthy option (especially compared to Saff’s epic blowout brunch), this just gave be licence to go large on my dessert.
As soon as I read the words ‘Melting Chocolate Sundae’ £6.95, I knew I had to have it. In fact it had me at ‘melting’. This dessert had it all – a ball of chocolate covered milk ice cream, big chunks of chocolate brownie with a generous pot of hot butterscotch sauce that’s poured over the top, gently melting the ice cream beneath. How can you improve on this?
J+R really raise the bar when it comes to their desserts. They have obviously put in a lot of thought and aren’t afraid to steer away from the usual tried and tested puddings. Saff ordered the Toasted Marshmallows £6.75, served with blood orange sorbet and chocolate sauce. Two sizeable cubes of toasted sweet vanilla mallow complemented by the bitter sorbet – genius. Why isn’t marshmallow on more menus?
As Saff was finishing her Black ‘n’ Rye, I really fancied a coffee to perk me up and prepare me for the next leg of our journey (Hotel Du Vin, in Henley). I was just about to go down the latte route till I spotted the Hand Drip Coffee £2.75 for a big mug of the strong stuff. They change their specials daily (I had Java) you’re given a pot of hot water, the filter full of ground coffee beans and the cutest little bottle of chilled milk… And away you go!
As I said at the beginning, we always thoroughly enjoy our visits to Jackson + Rye and now we have the excuse to pop in any time we’re near Richmond, or Chiswick – there’s now one there too. Places like this make it harder for us to keep up with all the new restaurant openings.
To celebrate Thanksgiving, on Thursday 27th November, Jackson + Rye will be preparing an all-American feast. Available all-day, the two or three course meal (£14.50/£17.95) consists of roasted pumpkin soup with truffle and grilled garlic shrimps and creamed grits, to crispy buttermilk turkey breast served with spiced cranberry slaw and sides of mac and cheese and a generous helping of sweet potato fries.
Hotham House, 1 Heron Square,
Richmond, TW9 1EJ
Telephone: 0208 948 6951
Opening hours: Weekdays 8am – 11pm
Saturdays 8am – 11:30pm Sundays 9am – 11pm
Book a table online
Nearest station: Richmond (9 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Jackson + Rye, this does not affect our review in any way.
We always write with complete honesty.