As an Old Town resident, the opening of The Jam Tree Clapham was firmly on my radar. Located in a stunning town house with big airy windows that open up and out onto the street, a secluded secret garden and plenty of creative space inside, it soon became clear that this is one of the best spaces for eating and drinking in South London.
The famous Jam jars at the bar
The signs were good as we stepped through to the large open plan bar and dining room. The Jam Tree primary colours were all there; bright, youthful and modern. The bar is adorned with domed copper lights and the famous jam jar artwork, and the raised dining room sharing space with the bar has a good mix of cosy and communal dining tables. The adoption of the now de rigueur pressed tin ceiling complements the Colonial inspired food menu.
The more adventurous can step through the hidden library door and uncover an additional, more relaxed bar and seating area boasting chesterfield furniture and its very own ping pong table. Those who like things alfresco will be delighted to discover the patio doors, spilling out to a beautiful terraced garden perfect for parties and lazy brunches.
The second bar and lounge area leading to the terraced garden
The Clientele & Atmosphere:
It's setting in the Old Town of Clapham pulls in a happy mix of young professionals, yummy mummies and late-night revellers; The Jam Tree is well catered for it's wide and varied clientele, offering brunch, lunch, dinner and DJs until late. Be warned though, those dining on a weekend from 8pm should not expect an intimate chilled out affair; rather, the front bar cracks into party-mode and the venue has been known to get pretty boisterous.
Food & Drink
The food was very impressive, although it didn't come cheap. Considering the bar/gastro pub type atmosphere in which dishes are served, my compliments to the chef - there are delightful colonial sourced ingredients and inspirations, and a refreshing amount of choice compared to the standard gastro pub menu. The Sontong Manis Battered Sticky Squid (£8) was a very generous starter and makes my mouth-water just thinking about it again. My partner opted for the Ash Goats Cheese, Heritage Tomato, Roasted Onion Puree and Yellow Courgette Tart (£13) which certainly ensured this date was a winner! I was then stuffed to food heaven by the Rump of Herdwick Lamb (£16.50) which was pleasingly sourced from my local butcher, Moen & Sons.
The Clapham-sourced Rump of Lamb
The wine list was equally as impressive: plenty of new and old wines, and a great range of Argentineans; a particular favourite of mine. We went for the Felino Malbec, which was full and rich with a hint of spice. The cocktails are well priced at £7.50 (a popular choice with the locals) and there are a standard range of beers. Considering their policy of locally sourced meats, fish and cheese, it would have been nice to see some new London brewed beers that are storming the capital.
After we had stuffed ourselves with the fine food and wine we finished things off in true modern day London style, a game of Ping Pong of course. The Jam Tree in Clapham is a welcome addition to the South London drinking and dining scene. Making sensible use of this wonderfully expansive space, you can come for pretty much any occasion; its a friendly and vibrant hub of drinking, eating and ping-ponging - so get on down there.