There’s a framed series of mugshots on the wall of this Hackney café. They’re of members of the Black Skulls – part biker ‘lifestyle brand’, part American comfort food pop-up – who are doing a permanent residency at Jim’s, and they’ve brought a whole lot of leather along. Jackets, emblazoned with legends such as ‘Fluffy Thunder’, decorate the walls at the back of the space. The soundtrack is extremely loud rock, and there’s a beautiful vintage car parked out front.
You can’t be quite sure whether the whole thing’s ironic or deadly serious. The cocktails are brilliantly strong, and it’s the kind of place where you might get a pissed stranger at another table consider buying one of the leather jackets while the whole room will try to tell them with their eyes that it’s a bad idea.
Grab one of the booths at the front: this is perfect booth (aka diner) food. The cheeseburger is a must-order: a thick, pink patty layered with gooey cheese and topped with tiny red onions. Also impressive was a dish of charred courgettes on a bed of whipped labneh. The most delicious thing on the menu was a pretzel-studded peanut butter cheesecake. These dishes make Jim’s worth returning to: the food is interesting enough to overshadow all the biker stuff. Service is easygoing and efficient, and you can bring your dog – which is making the people of Hackney very happy. No pooch-sized leathers available yet, though. Watch this space.