I was lucky enough, along with some other bloggers, to be invited to the opening of Jam Jar on Newcastle’s famous Osbourne Road last week. I was unsure of what to expect but I did know that the two main guys were a couple of young local lads looking to bring something new to a marketplace that is filled with the below par bars only serving Diageo drinks or restaurants that don’t meet the demand of the area. It is ‘Comfort Grub and Comfort Grog’.
I arrived at Jam Jar just fashionably late at about 7pm and headed inside.
Inside its dotted with Jam Jar candles, a retro neon sign, there are 2 bars in a huge open plan area, the main bar having a good selection of drinks on draught including Addlestones Cider and Budvar. Towards the rear is a snug with custom styled wallpaper of Jam Jars kind of isometric that gives a great brand identity. The floors are all hardwood, there’s exposed brickwork and massive bay windows, a fireplace, the whole place is inviting and cosy. Outside is a really good terrace with custom tables that were also filling up.
There was a real buzz from the young trendy crowd that were already filling up the bar area (the snug was taken), with trendy twenty-something’s grabbing at the free samples of food before the very busy Front of House staff could get around everywhere and everyone ( the crowd were going crazy for the burgers and fish and chips , squid, pulled pork sarnies – everything). I was at the well-stocked bar trying to decide between lager and cider when I opted for Addlestones. It was a fresh, crisp pint that went down easy. It definitely washed away the work day. I could have opted for a good Tanqueray gin and tonic but it was a weeknight!
Outside the custom tables were filling up. The guys behind Jam Jar were weaving around their new clientele making people feel welcome and asking if they liked the place. Everyone did. it truly looks spectacular and great care and attention has been made to give that contemporary warehouse feel.
When the security man introduced me to the guys in charge, I was welcomed to speak to the chefs in the kitchen so they could tell me about their vision. they also cooked me some great squid. Crisp light batter, perfect squid inside, not a hint of rubber in the texture. The dipping sauce created by the Sous Chef was truly delightful. I asked for the recipe!
The Chefs also knew that they fit in well in the marketplace in Jesmond, as they are a middleman between the cheap places and the high cost restaurants at the bottom of the road. I wished them well and let them crack on and was promised a pulled pork sandwich later on.
When I emerged from the kitchen with my remaining squid, a few people looked on salivating and I was happy to share. Its good doing good! I bumped into fellow bloggers Sarah Bosson (SarahBosson.Com) and Lauren Archer (ScranOnTheTyne.com) and their friend Charlotte which was good for me as I didn’t really know anyone else there. We had some good banter and we went for drinks after. I even got unbindingly adopted but it can’t work when you’re older than the adopter can it?!
As I wanted to try the ‘Jam’ cocktails and have developed a taste for whisky again, I went for the whisky jam. It looked expertly mixed by the guys behind the now packed bar. It was good and sweet without any burn from the whisky and I was worried what would happen if I spent a night drinking these not realising I was getting drunker by the minute!!!
After a little while I was presented with a pulled pork (cooked sous-vide) sandwich courtesy of the kitchen which was juicy and succulent and the slaw inside was good. I’m glad it came to soak the ‘Jam’ up. It was now full inside and out and the place had that spark of something that will allow it to be a success.
The location of just opposite Waitrose is prime and I hope that the newcomers to the Universities flock here in their droves to chill with a good drink and some great food. I will be returning for a proper sit down meal not only on the basis of the launch night but the fact I take my hat off to the lads, everything is sourced within a ridiculously close proximity to the bar. Keep your eyes peeled for my review.
Jam Jar is located on Osborne Road, Jesmond. Their website can be found at JamJarJesmond.co.uk and they are on twitter @jamjarjesmond.
(some photos were provided by Jam Jar. Food was complimentary but drinks were not)