Summer has finally reached London, bringing warmer weather (apart from the recent monsoon rains we’ve had), chilled cocktails and plenty of BBQs. The Jam Tree have decided to celebrate these long summer days with a free-for-all hog roast on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the summer months.
We at Vada spent a Thursday evening at The Jam Tree on Kings Road to try the food (besides the hog roast) and cocktails on offer. We sat outside as in the covered garden, adorned with twinkling fairy lights and ordered a couple of cocktails, whilst deliberating the menu.
The Pearl Jam (£9) is made from Hendricks, Cointreau and muddled with cucumber, limes and fresh mint. Meanwhile, the Damson in a Dress (£8.50) is made from Damson vodka, Martini Bianco, lime jam and Prosecco. Most of the signature and bartender recommended cocktails contain a jam for sweetness and flavour, well it is the Jam Tree after all.
The Jam Tree in Chelsea offers a BBQ menu in addition to the usual menu. We decided to mix things up a little, choosing our starters as small plates from the main menu and having BBQ for our main courses. To start we chose the scallop and sea bream ceviche (£7) and the sticky battered squid (£5). The moreish, sticky squid really got us in the mood for BBQ food, so we highly recommend it as a starter choice if you’re going for the hog roasts this summer. The ceviche was light and refreshing enough, although a little watery. It is perhaps not the best choice with jam-sweetened cocktails, but if you’re enjoying a few glasses of white from the wine menu then this would pair much more beautifully.
We accompanied our starters with further jam-based cocktails in the form of Gin n Juice (£9), which is made with Bombay Sapphire gin, elderflower liqueur and lime jam; and a Wham Bam Thank You Jam (£9) – think vanilla vodka, Chambord and raspberry jam topped with popping candy, reminding us of well-spent childhoods in sweet shops.
For our BBQ mains, we chose the pulled pork burger (£12.50) and the short rack of ribs with a whisky barbecue glaze (£14). Each main course included a choice of two sides, so between us we shared a coleslaw, sweet potato fried, Greek salad and rosemary pit-roasted new potatoes. Ribs are one of those foods that you have to make a bit of mess when eating. Suffice it to say mess was made and eaten, the ribs were. The pulled pork was moist and succulent and the burger was stuffed with a more-than-generous helping meaning and excellent bun-to-meat ratio.
A further couple of drinks were in order, but moving away from the sweetness of the jam-based cocktails we chose a classic Martini made with Sipsmith Gin and a lemon twist (£9.50) and glass of house white (£6.20), which were a perfect accompaniment to finish off food.
Given we’d had plenty of sweetness from cocktails already, we just opted for one dessert to share – a playful twist on the classic British of strawberries and cream: a gin and elderflower jelly served with fresh strawberries & mint cream (£5). Three gin-cocktails down and it was admittedly slightly harder than normal to notice the subtle gin flavour in the jelly, but it was there. It would have been nice to have seen flecks of mint or perhaps elderflowers through the jelly as a visual hint of the flavours inside but overall this was a well-balanced dessert.
What was most impressive for this pub (and in essence a very well-presented beer garden) was the level of service we received. Despite there being a large party booked in the same evening, our service was not impeded and staff even noticed and replaced a fallen fork barely a few seconds after we’d picked it up. Staff checked back regularly to ensure we weren’t low on drinks (or gin), which is something you would expect in a restaurant rather than a pub.
Happy hour takes place from 5-7pm in both Chelsea and Clapham venues, giving guests plenty of opportunity to try out the Jam Tree’s extensive cocktail list. If you’re London-based or London-bound, make the most of the remaining free-hog-roast Thursday and Friday nights:
The Jam Tree Chelsea
- Thursday 6 August
- Thursday 20 August
The Jam Tree Clapham
- Friday 7 August
- Friday 21 August
For those not yet acquainted with the Jam Tree, the Clapham venue is located at 13-19 Old Town, SW4 0JT and the Chelsea venue is at 541 Kings Road, SW6 2EB.
Visit them online at thejamtree.com for more information.