When you hear American Diner, I know what you’re thinking: loud music; harsh lighting; HUGE fried portions – sound familiar? Well Jackson & Rye have been rather amazing at shaking things up on the Diner front. A bit like the stereotype’s cool’grown up’ older brother – Jackson & Rye have a sleek aesthetic and a wonderful, wholesome selection of hearty, classic and delicious grub.

Jackson & Rye have several locations across town (Richmond, Soho, Chiswick, Kingston and soon a new venture in Guildford), but this time I went to their recently opened City edition off Jewry Street. Stepping through the door you can’t help but have your eyes drawn your eyes to the rather impressive, ample supply of booze behind the sexily-lit bar.

I was visiting the restaurant in it’s dress rehearsal phase before the grand opening to the public, so you could feel the excitement in both the air and the tone of voice of the waiting staff.

Needless to say, it was incredibly impressive to hear all about their week of training and how genuinely enthused the staff were from what they had learnt – a week long crash course of everything on the menu from learning the cuts of meat from the suppliers at Smithfield Meat Market, through to Whisky, Wine and other spirit tastings, and pairing these with items on the menu.

I guzzled down a High West Rye – a gin based drink of deliciousness laced with wildflowers, menthol and liquorice flavour while I waited for my guest to arrive. It was safe to say I was feeling ready for a big old nourishing meal after that! It was a Tuesday after all…

At the table we were welcomed by a gloriously deep leather arm chair and bench combination, and the offer of another drink – this time a Boilermaker (Brooklyn Lager & Bullet Rye Whisky combo). Before I had even drunk a quarter of this potent number, our starters arrived. I went for the Chorizo Prawns that had a Mango Chilli mayonnaise on the side and my partner went for the Truffled Mac & Cheese.

Despite my prawns being just what you would want in a lovely appetiser, I must say food envy did creep up on me when I saw the pasta dish came with crunchy kale on top and smelt absolutely divine. One I will be certainly making a swift return for.

Oh gosh, cocktail number three had already been ordered post-entrée (damn, these wait staff sure know how to work a sucker like me), this time a White Peach Bellini to mix it up totally. It was a tough decision on what to go for with regards for main so I reached out for our dear oracles of wisdom – our lovely waiters – to show us what’s what. 

My partner was a vegetarian (which believe it or not, can still sometimes result in a limited menu despite it being 2016) but thankfully there was an abundant selection to choose from. She went for a House Made Spiced Quinoa Burger, where as I chose Buttermilk Chicken with a side of spicy slaw and sweet potato fries.

I know, I did the whole’diner thing’ so it must be said there are a ridiculously wonderful selection of other, less stereotypical options, just check it out here. The chicken was succulent, yet crispy on the outside – just the way fried chicken should be.

The bucket load of sweet tatties was seasoned in a Cajun-spiced flavouring that was expected, but good nonetheless. The slaw on the other hand did ever-so-slightly overdo it for me in the rich food scale, but if you’re in the mood for classic American sustenance then this dish is certainly for you.

It must be said, do come and check this lovely venue out. Food and surroundings perfectly match – humungous, yet stylishly executed. Flavoursome and tasty, with a not-so vivacious price tag. Ideal for an after work treat with a college or a pals – especially the drinks menu, My goodness, that drinks menu.