Let this be a stern warning to W1: when a New York-style bistro comes to town with the ambition of slowing things down, it may be time for everyone to slow things down. The London minute may still be lagging behind it’s New York counter-part, but the Soho minute has gone and broken the sound barrier. The swathe of non-reservation-taking micro-restaurants across the postcode has created, in diners, an urgency bordering on panic.
J&R seem to have taken a step back, a deep breath, and approached things logically. Firstly you can make like it’s the 1990’s and actually call ahead to reserve a table. Much of the restaurant is still reserved for walk-ins, but even this system is blessed with the enlightened touch of the Quidini app. Once you take a seat, the world does seem to slow down. The service is heavenly, no up-selling, no pandering, but constantly vigilant. That been said, our waiter was far from anonymous. She introduced herself, writing her name on the tablecloth along with the specials. The drinks menu is extensive but both the specialty beer and house wines are well-priced and delicious. The food, in-line with the general ethos, is simple and timeless. The truly stand out dish surprised us, an extra on the mains; slab bacon.
This may be the best place for group-dining in London at the moment. On a bustling corner of Wardour Street in what should be the eye of the table-rotating tornado that Soho has become, J&R have bought things back down to earth.