Jago is Shoreditch’s latest restaurant opening and it’s part of an uber-modern shared working space called Second Home. Walking past you can’t miss the place; the dining room is a glass, curved bubble sticking out from the side of the building.
The dining room is certainly unusual; I’ve not seen anything like it before – it felt like a cross between a tube carriage and a bike shed. A bright orange one at that. The long wooden, park-bench style seat that runs along the whole length of the restaurant isn’t the comfiest of seats and there was obviously a problem with the air flow as it was a tad breezy. But saying all that, I found it all rather charming.
The menu had a whole Jewish/Middle Eastern thing going on. To start, the salami and cornichons (£6) and the nduja with pickled chillies (£6) were easily some of the best I’ve tasted. I’m talking incredibly good.
Next was grilled manouri, cherry tomatoes and sweet herbs (£8). Manouri is a grillable cheese with a texture somewhere between haloumi and feta, which I’m not 100% sure I like but I doubt that’s the fault of the kitchen. Roast cauliflower, pomegranate and almonds (£6) was a sweet/tangy/crunchy/creamy delight. The sharp pomegranate against the rich, sweet cauliflower purée was spot on.
The salt beef and chrain (£8) had a brave and bold balance of salty flavour and rich meatiness making it totally moreish. Particularly salty though. A less successful dish was the saltfish, in this case pollock, with smoked aubergine and a parsley crumb (£7). It had a floppy texture with a fishy aroma as strong as its taste.
Both mains; lamb rump with pearl barley (£14) and veal cheek goulash (£11) were both seriously tasty plates of food. They had a comforting quality to them – they were the sort of dishes you’d love to eat on a freezing cold evening. The celeriac and swede gratin (£10) served with a bitter chicory salad, continued the comfort food theme. It also has the most insanely crispy/cheesy top you could only dream of.
For dessert, we went for the orange cake with orange curd (£6) and the frozen cheesecake, pistachio shortbread and honey (£6). Both could have had slightly bolder flavours but we finished them all which is always a good sign.
It wasn’t a perfect meal but I really liked Jago. It was different, unusual and not just the same old rubbish that we keep seeing churned out at the moment. The service was great too; really passionate and charming. And it really is an interesting space that’s well worth a look in.
I dined as a guest of the restaurant