Jar Kitchen (CLOSED)
Time Out says
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A friendly, new-wave café in Covent Garden with a good line in Ottolenghi-style vegetarian dishes.
Please note, Jar Kitchen has now closed. Time Out Food editors, March 2018
As one door closes, so they say, another opens. As we process the sad news that Neal Street’s Food for Thought, a veggie institution with rock-bottom prices, is closing after more than 40 years, only a couple of streets over, newcomer Jar Kitchen shows how far good café food has come in that time – but also how some things never change. Most of us still need friendly places serving good, imaginative food at fair prices – especially in Covent Garden.
Run by Lucy Brown and Jenny Quintero, this smart café sits at the northern end of Drury Lane. The kitchen is open to the ground-floor dining room where Brown, a former model agent, was busy greeting and waiting tables on our visit. So far, so ordinary. What makes Jar Kitchen super is the brief menu, prices midway between caff and restaurant, and delightful dishes.
An Ottolenghi-ish mixed-grain salad looked great, with its pomegranate arils and fresh mint leaves, toasted almonds, roasted heirloom carrots and drizzle of coconut yoghurt. A sizeable bowl costs £8; for an extra £3, the kitchen adds shreds of braised lamb shoulder. Another simple but brilliant dish was a green chopped salad, costing a mere £3.50, featuring pert mixed leaves and an attractively tangy dressing.
Jar Kitchen does vegetarian dishes well, but it’s not a vegetarian restaurant. Scraps of ‘ceviche style’ sea bass (£6.50) came with creamed avocado, chopped fennel, and a multi-seed dressing. Orther dishes might include roast pork belly, or lemon sole with brown butter.
Our only caveat was that every dish we tried contained nuts or seeds, sometimes advertised but sometimes not. If you have any sort of nut allergy (or simply don’t want them in every dish), make this clear before ordering.
There is breakfast service from 8am on Thursday and Friday; later on, a dozen wines are sold by the glass.
Why ‘Jar’? It’s a reference to the glass containers that decorate the place. Apart from this transparent attempt at a theme, nothing here jars at all.