Tom and Ed Martin, the cool cats behind some of the best high end boozers, (The Botanist, The Cadogan Arms and Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, just to name a few) have done it again by giving birth to the Jugged Hare, which opened in Barbican earlier this year.
The hare is an animal larger and faster than a rabbit and it’s a timid little thing. However, there is nothing timid about this Jugged Hare, quite the opposite in fact.
We arrived at around 1pm and the place was buzzing, full of city type males in suits talking business or just having a cheeky boozy lunch with friends. I think I may have been the only woman there, (no complaints) but on the whole, it was a very down to earth atmosphere.
We were instantly hit by aromas of meat and hypnotised by the showcases of taxidermy which seem to occupy every corner (not in a creepy way either). A deer head mounts one wall, while prints of hares abound. The open plan kitchen takes centre stage, so feel free to stare at the chefs doing their thing to your heart’s content, (try to hold the drool).
Bringing it to the next level is the intricate menu containing grub to please every palate and wallet. There are lots, and I mean lots of dishes to choose from.
We decided to have two starters and two mains to share, everything looked so tempting it would have been rude not to.
The first starter (gracefully presented on a wooden board) was the ‘Kiln roast honey salmon, beetroot, horseradish’ (£8.50). The honey glaze wasn’t too aggressive and it complimented the salted ‘fishiness’ of the salmon. It was a very generous size for a starter.
The hearty ‘Braised pig’s trotter and tongue’ (relax) was our second starter (£8.50). It is braised past the point of even resembling a foot or any of the potentially gristly bits that somehow stick around. The runny egg placed on top, perfectly balanced the meat’s heavy textures and flavours. A great demonstration of nose to tail eating.
‘The Jugged Hare’ (£24) is their most popular dish (obviously). If Beatrix Potter had created a dish, this could probably be it. Served in an oversized jug and filled with skilfully cooked pieces of hare which were much tender than I had expected. This was seriously old-school food – the kind of thing you’d serve up to a hunter who’d spent all day tracking deer through a wintry forest. It came with a side of luxuriously smooth mashed potatoes and spring cabbage. The stew was woody, rich and had an autumn feel.
Surprisingly, my favourite dish was the ‘Roast fillet of Atlantic cod’ (£21) which came with a white bean and cockle stew. The cod was prepared the orthodox way, where the juicy meat of the fish was cooked to a turn and the glistening skin was crispy yet retained moisture. The stew itself was rich, warming, creamy and stuck to your ribs. The white beans contributed to the dish’s playful textures.
Food aside, you also have a whole lot of ‘poisons’ to choose from. They have their own ‘by glass” machine which creates wine from local produce and it would be totally impolite not to try the Jugged Hare pale ale. The prices are definitely worth raising a glass for.
Whether you’re a city slicker wanting to forget a long day’s work, a country bumpkin who enjoys hunted cuisine, or just want to try something out of the norm, hop along to the Jugged Hare.
A quick word of advice – if you ‘like’ PETA’ on Facebook or wear your veggie badge with honour, maybe best to …’jug’ on and go to a more animal friendly environment…. just maybe.
The Jugged Hare
No 49 Chiswell Street,