A Southern European/Middle Eastern/Ashkenazi Jewish restaurant, set inside a sort of orange bubble that hangs over the edge of Hanbury Street: Jago sure is different.
Most tables are within that candle-lit bubble, and when it’s raining outside (the roof is plastic, so you can see and hear the outside world) there’s no better atmosphere. Sit on the orange benches or a mismatched chair and order a plate of punchy Cantabrian anchovies to kick things off – perhaps with a glass of acidic Italian orange wine to cut through that delicious saltiness (beware: wine is expensive here).
It’s one of those places that encourages sharing, and because Louis Solley is at the helm (ex-head chef at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill) many of the plates are vegetarian: grilled calcots and romesco; an earthy roast cauliflower dish with almonds and pomegranate; and, our favourite dish of the night, crumbly, lemony grilled Greek manouri cheese with smashed cherry tomatoes and herbs.
Other than that, it’s basically a salty meat and fish party. Have litres of water to hand, or else you won’t be able to enjoy salt beef and chrain (an Ashkenazi horseradish relish); saltfish with squidgy smoked aubergine and parsley crumb; and ham hock terrine with tiny pickles. All three dishes are recommended by our friendly, fashionable waiter.
The best way to end a meal like that is with something super sweet. A fragrant frozen cheesecake with fall-apart pistachio shortbread and honey was spot on – one of the lightest cheesecakes we’ve ever had. Equally good was a petite orange cake, perked up by a fresh orange curd and peppery caraway seeds (pictured below). A nice match for a Spritz cocktail, served in short glasses Venetian style.
Price range: Mid-range (but wine is expensive)
Highlight: Grilled manouri cheese and the orange cake
Misfire: Too salty! Order wisely to avoid dehydration
By Charlotte Morgan