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Saturday 19 December 2009

London's Best Independent Cafes - Jak's Cafe

Jak’s Café

I was recently invited to review Jak’s Café on the glamorous Walton Street in London’s Knightsbridge. Living in Islington, I hardly ever head to that part of town apart from the rare occasions when I go to Harvey Nic's.

Unlike other shopping areas like Covent Garden or the dreadful Oxford St where the choice of food outlets is mind-boggling, I always felt rather stuck around Knightsbridge.

We arrived at Jak’s to find a very charming café/deli - the place was buzzing with a cosmopolitan well-heeled crowd. We were soon greeted by the manager and owner Val who quickly showed us around before finding us a table.

Most impressive was his organic fruit and vegetables counter, where platters of gorgeous prepared  fruit and veg were stacked up to be freshly made into various juice concoctions. Val prepared us a couple of glasses of pear, apple, celery and orange juice @ £3.50. This was deliciously refreshing and bursting with flavour.

The food cabinet contained many different types of salad and other choices, mostly Mediterranean in style with strong Italian and North African influences. We were served two selections of salads – these are sold @ £7.50 (3 types of salad or vegetables) or £9 for a larger selection of 5 items.

Considering it was well past 3pm, the salads were still very fresh and tasted delicious. Of note were the cabbage with apple and herb salad, and the tabbouleh and quinoa salads. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, fresh and al dente. As we ate our salads, we noticed a constant queue of people ordering food, and the freshly prepared bowls of salad, cakes and other platters being brought out from the café’s busy kitchen.  The high turnover is a good indicator of the freshness of Jak’s food.

 We were then served three main courses – “Portobello mushroom stuffed with quinoa, rice and herbs and topped with cheese” (served with two sides @ £9.50), “Lasagne” @ £8.50, and “Brouchettes de Poulet” (served with two sides @ £9.50).

The mushroom dish was utterly delicious - the stuffing had an interesting combination of ingredients and flavours. It was filling and felt very wholesome, the sort of food I love eating.

The lasagne was perfectly made, with the ragu sauce very rich and delicious and @ £8.50 it is very well priced for the generous portion served. It puts Carluccio’s version to shame.

The Brouchettes de Poulet or Chicken Skewers were also good – the organic chicken had been perfectly cooked, and the tomato sauce was well flavoured, delicate and obviously freshly made in the premises. 

I do not have much of a sweet tooth, and generally by the time desserts come around I will give them a miss. I am glad that I did not on this occasion as Jak’s Strawberry Sponge Cake was fantastic. The sponge was very light, and the cream not overly sweet, counter-balancing the tartness of the strawberries. I loved this dessert.

 One of the strong impressions I gained from Jak’s was the proprietor’s passion for what he does and his commitment to serving food that is healthy, very fresh and delicious. I took an instant liking to Val – a generous man, a gourmand, someone who is proud of what he does and isn’t afraid to share his love of food.

I am glad that I went to Jak’s Cafe on Walton Street, and to have found a real gem of a place in Knightsbridge’s busy shopping area – I will certainly be going back to Jak’s whenever heading that way. 

Verdict – Excellent, fresh food in the heart of the busy, exclusive shopping area of Knightsbridge, at non-exclusive prices.   A must for anyone visiting the area.

Jak's on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. if you live in islington check out the hope workers caff, above is not a caff but an eatery


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