Whether you’re starving, feeling delicate or you’re just FREEZING, there’s nothing better than a burger – a cure for all ills if ever I ate one.
So it’s a good job that there’s a new burger joint in town in the form of Jamboree Food Fest and Bar in Blackfriars. The restaurant’s USP is to serve ‘flavour from around the world’ and we were looking forward to some global twists on the classic meat in a bun.
When we arrive, we’re surprised to see Jamboree is housed within a sparkly new Novotel and became a little nervous. But there was no need because once inside, you forget about the hotel straight away as you’re drawn into a vast modern industrial style restaurant. There’s a large bar in the middle and the vibe is an upmarket take on Bills-meets-Giraffe.
Cocktails are kind of a big deal here so we dive in with a couple of ‘Fire Apples’ – a real winter warmer of Fireball cinnamon whisky, cloudy apple juice, bitters and ginger beer (a very reasonable £7.95 for a big glass of well mixed cocktail). Getting into the global mash-up idea, we picked starters of vine tomato bruschetta on sour dough toast (£6.50) and hand shaped falafels with lemon tahini (£6.50). Both were surprisingly good. The tomatoes were beautifully ripe and flavoured perfectly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar that delivered a really authentic Italian flavour punch and got the mouth watering. The falafels were incredibly light and fluffy, a million miles away from the ones that sink to the bottom of your stomach like a stone. Top marks.
It was hard to choose between the exciting global offerings on the burger list – there’s the Raging Bull – Argentinian beef with chimichurri and smokey onion rings, the Yucatan – a veggie black bean and cumin burger and even the Maryland – a whole crispy soft-shell crab with celeriac remoulade. In the end I stayed at home, burger-wise, and opted for the Morris Major – 100% Aberdeen Angus beef with a thick slice of mature cheddar and, for me, a slightly unnecessary treacle onion relish (£13.95).
Sadly you can’t have the meat cooked medium-rare but the patty was still full of flavour and very satisfying. They do a big portion here and the size of the burger was matched by the enormous fat chunky chips – fluffy, salty and delicious, they certainly warmed the cockles but even I couldn’t clear my plate. My guest opted for the far lighter option of the Superfood Salad with goats cheese (£9.95). Again a generous portion, it was fresh and zingy with hazelnuts and lemon dressing, giving it its Israeli flavour.
Pudding takes you on a global tour too and we chose the Mini Sweet Bites with Coffee (£6.95) – little portions of chocolate hazelnut brownie, macaroon and panna cotta. All of them were nicely made with good strong flavours and a light touch. Alongside, we chose the fresh fruit with chilli and ginger and lime syrup (£5.95). Gorgeous chunks of tropical fruit drizzled in the off-sweet sauce with a spicy hit – really refreshing and surprisingly delicious.
A night out at Jamboree means laid-back comfort food with a twist plus efficient and friendly service. What’s more, the location – just steps from the South Bank and the Tate Modern – makes it an excellent bet for a fun night out with friends for burgers, cocktails or a global food tour.
Visit jamboree.co.uk for more information