77C Walton Street London, SW3 2HT | www.jakswaltonstreet.com
You can’t say you’re short of choice in Jak’s. The chilled cabinet is packed with things I am gagging to eat this lunchtime – Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and quinoa, stuffed aubergines, chicken brochettes, parsley salads, hummus, tuna salad, poached salmon and, if my O-level Russian does not deceive me, something on the blackboard written in Cyrillic script.
Ah that’s a clue, that is. In fact, as I tune in, many of the glamorous women around me, dressed in pure Knightsbridge fashions and waving iPhones about, are chatting in Russian. Their husbands are no doubt out busy oligarching and so they are killing the day over salads and white wine.
It’s a bit of a glam place Jak’s all round really. It’s cosy and warm and friendly but Russians aside, there is a sense that the customer gene pool is limited – the hair, the teeth and the eyes all testifying to generations of close upper-class in breeding.
You can see why it’s so busy. It neatly fills the gap between full on restaurant and sandwich bar with a massive range of freshly made, freshly sourced food and ingredients that offer something for everyone and all day too. If you can’t find something you fancy here, then you are simply insatiable.
You can mix up as many salads as you want on your plate, just point and the man behind the counter piles it on. This can be dangerous for people like me – at any buffet I inevitably get greedy and put about 20 different things on my plate, which then swirl into a hotchpotch. This is unfair on the individual ingredients and even more unfair on my stomach. At least in Jak’s you’re aware that the man behind the counter will hopefully prevent you from going mad with food lust, even if it’s just with a raised eyebrow.
Everything here is squeaky fresh and freshly prepared and is on your table in minutes. Even first thing in the morning there are mounds of oranges to be juiced and plenty of healthy, and if you’re like me, not so healthy but delicious, options to choose from.
Jak’s is open from early until late, a real constant presence in a very sweet street, a place where locals clearly go at all hours to meet friends, refuel and recharge. It reminds me of a New York side street deli; busy, warm but without the rather intimidating ‘hurry up’ of a NY eaterie. The staff work their socks off to keep it all moving and we could do with more places like Jak’s in London.