“It’s like they’ve taken all the best parts of all the best restaurants and melded them into one ‘super pub’” Tom concluded as we left The Jugged Hare lastnight.
Now, my boyfriend is a marketer’s dream—and a natural enthusiast about, well pretty much everything. But on this occasion, he wasn’t far off the mark.
As brothers Tom and Ed Martin at ETM Group launch their tenth London venue, it seems that they’ve honed gastro pub design into a fine and very precise art form—taking inspiration from some of London’s best establishments and combining them in this brilliant Barbican bar and restaurant.
The front room is a masculine, wooden, sleek saloon—with a Hendricks gin-esque, Victorian curio twist. Behind the bar is a menagerie of taxidermied animals stacked in glass boxes. Think thick-cut crystal glasses, albino ferrets and a couple of pained-looking stag’s heads mounted on the walls.
As a nod to the craft beer trend that’s taken London by storm, The Jugged Hare has commissioned its own Pale Ale, which has a Sierra Nevada lightness to it—described on their branded beer mats as having ‘complex hints of citrus fruit, spice and bitter-sweet notes’. They recommend it’s drunk with light game dishes such as partridge and rabbit or semi-hard cheese. Not the first thing that sprung to my mind when tasting it, but the recommendations does show a dedication to The Jugged Hare’s intensely gamey theme.
Quite brilliantly, there’s a ‘Wine by the Glass’ machine as at Islington’s Sampler—a preservation system, which holds about ten open bottles of high-end wine. Little nozzles poking through the airtight containers allow diners to pay a relatively small amount to sample a glass of high end wine rather than having to fork out for a bottle.
Fun—and very enterprising. There’s also a ‘walk-in’ wine room just off the restaurant where diners can browse the selection and pick a bottle themselves.
It’s not just the wine that’s taken seriously, but The Jugged Hare has gone big on food. Half way down the staircase is a window through to the kitchen’s ‘cold room’, which showcases the ageing process of meat or hanging game. The (literal) transparency of how they source and store their meat is marvelous. And the impressive ribs and racks imply that the chefs know a thing or two about butchery.
The menu focuses on seasonal British produce. And meat. There’s an eight-spit rotisserie and a charcoal grill. Impressive gadgetry. And all on display in an open kitchen topped with beautiful, warm, copper—no harsh stainless steel in sight. Even the Front of House desk is a gnarly old butcher’s block, and the ‘last drinks’ bell is a big old cowbell.
The attention to detail is mind-blowing.
Lastnight’s launch party was just cheese and nibbles…and a suckling pig burgers. Although I don’t want to speculate on what the main dishes will be like, if the delicate bites and the juicy crackling were anything to go by, I’d put money on the restaurant food being pretty damned good. Suppose I’ll have to go back to find out…
Menus (CLICK on menus to enlage).