SquareMeal Review of
JEAN-JACQUES CLOSED PERMANENTLY ON MAY 2016
This three-storey townhouse restaurant and bar is an ode to French Revolution philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but is in fact the London debut of a collection of Russian restaurants. Announcing itself with deep red walls and mirrors, the decor is striking and extends to a basement bar, ground floor dining room and canopied terrace. We dined on the first floor, which tones down the red in favour of sandy shades and patterned tiles; filled with light from large windows, this pretty room is the best of the bunch. Handsomely presented dishes lean towards France with Gallic classics (steak tartare, grilled poussin, Provençal puff pastry tart), our garlicky escargots were generously piled but upon rather burnt toast. A crab and avocado salad was salty and full of flavour, while our bream was delicately cooked, the flesh moist beneath grilled skin, lifted by almonds and lemon. To finish, tarte au citron is a tangy treat, while the extensive wine list highlights French regions before looking further afield. Staff appear genuinely engaged with the menu and the brand, which should turn this outfit into a creative hub as a programme of events develops: expect live music, readings, talks and films as Jean-Jacques finds its feet. It’s unlikely to spark a Soho revolution, but this is a quality addition to the neighbourhood.