When a restaurant tries to provide something more than just good food and drink, things can get confusing. With this east London jazz venue, the potential for confusion is real. Jackdaw has a lot to offer, but its concept may need finessing.
Jackdaw has two spaces, the larger of which is the ground-floor dining room. The atmospheric basement is where the music happens, and it’s here that things turn tricky. It's possible just to have a drink while enjoying the music, but in our experience, the combination of dining and listening was not an easy multi-task.
Quality was mixed in what we ate. Our cocktails lacked the balance needed for true slurpability, so the interesting wine list may be a better bet (prices start at £24).
Most of our food, ambitious and inventive small plates, was very fine stuff. Highlights included a partridge kiev, enlivened by a streak of sriracha; al dente purple sprouting in garlicky almond milk; and well-seasoned chunks of chicken thigh, grilled sweetcorn and rioja-braised salsify. The single dud was a tough onglet.
Food this good deserves to be more than a sideshow. If it’s food you’re after, staying upstairs may be the smart move – even if it means missing out on the cool sounds. Or at least postponing your musical pleasure.