FRESH from the office sporting my old battered work suit and equally old and battered face, it’s fair to say I’m not exactly the target market of Jam Jar.
This is, as the three university graduates behind Jesmond’s latest bar diner call it, a “more contemporary, trend-aware venue.”
Who am I to argue? Housed in the site of The George Hotel, Jam Jar certainly looks the part.
It has all the boxes ticked for trend and contemporary tastes. Exposed brickwork, tick; Stripped wooden floors, tick; Neon signs, tick; I could go on...
There are quirks aplenty, from the menus mounted on wooden clipboards to cocktails served in, as the name of the venue gives away, jam jars.
And, while I may consider myself a stuffed shirt, I didn’t feel totally out of place.
Graduates Jonathan Edwards, Josh Rose and Robert Clarkson wanted to create a relaxed dining and drinking space with, as they put it, character and charm. And I reckon they’ve succeeded.
While a little rough around the edges, Jam Jar pulls off the laid-back vibe without trying too hard.
By all accounts the boys travelled to places like Berlin, Barcelona and Miami seeking inspiration for their venue with Jonathan even learning the basics of French cooking in Switzerland.
The result? Burgers, bangers and mash, and fish and chips on the menu! Which is no bad thing.
Instead of a ludicrously complicated choice of dishes, the Jam Jar menu is uncluttered and competitively priced.
I had the Jam burger (£9.50), which weighing in a 7ozs and piled high with cheese, bacon, red onion and tomato was more than enough to satisfy. It shared that contemporary restaurant burger trend which means you need extendible jaws to devour it as a sandwich. It was served with (twice cooked) home-made chips in a mini wire mesh basket and coleslaw.
My better half opted for the pulled pork bun which was of equally jaw-busting proportions and this time served with a mustard and mayonnaise coleslaw.
The quality is undeniable. Part of the Jam Jar ethos is to source the best of local produce, and this proud boast is for all to see on the menu. The mussels are from Hodgesons of Hartlepool and steamed in Addelstons cloudy cider, while the sausages in the bangers and mash are from Payne’s in Gosforth.
Puddings too are, where possible, from local suppliers. There were four to choose from: Key lime pie, winter crumble, burnt cream and, our choice, the chocolate brownie all for a fiver or under.
The meal was washed down with a cooling Red Stripe while a warming soundtrack, which included Dylan and Talking Heads among others, made for a very pleasant evening.
While the Jam Jar trio graduated in the not-so-glamorous discipline of Land Management, they may, on this evidence, be graduating with honours in the discipline of trendy restaurant management. First Class.