Making your way into Dear Jackie is a faintly surreal experience.
Mostly because of the two massive, fifteen foot elephants dressed up as circus performers that loom above you as you make your way into the fancy new hotel it’s housed inside, Broadwick Soho. Underneath those elephants you’ll see a pair of smartly top-hatted doormen, who’ll usher you into a pink door (decorated with an elephant door-knocker) and through to the hotel’s bar area.
From there you’ll be escorted down the stairs – lit only by an abstracted neon sculpture of a woman’s face – and smoothly decanted out into Dear Jackie. And at once you’ll feel a world away from the quirky, pachyderm-fuelled absurdity of the building’s veneer – because this place is beguilingly beautiful.
Drenched in a sultry rouge, the restaurant is lit about as low as human eyesight will allow by colourful Murano glass chandeliers. It’s not particularly huge, but it’s packed with intimate little alcoves and enticing darkened corners, with walls hung with elegant plates and tables covered in hand-painted painted mosaic-tiles. It’s glamorous but never glitzy, seductive but not overt, and possess an allure that’s polished but still knows how to loosen a tie.
The all-Italian menu is the work of one Harry Faddy, who has manned pans in the kitchens at Aquavit and The River Cafe. Here, he’s delivered a lineup of dishes that flirt with high-end fine dining, but never cross the line into pretentiousness. Thus, you can find things like a huge burrata for two from La Latteria, decorated with hazelnuts and quince, or some hand-dived scallops with trout roe & finger lime.
The pasta course includes a simple spaghetti vongole with bottarga & Datterini tomatoes, and some pappardelle with braised babbit and guanciale. The main courses get fired up with a hearty hunk of monkfish sitting in a bed of fiery ‘nduja and San Marzano tomatoes, and the Cornish lamb chops simply melt in your mouth, helped out by a zippy puntarelle & anchovy salad. And for dessert? There’s obviously a tiramisu, but more adventurously there’s a lemon brûlée tart with marscapone ice cream, and a pistachio ‘giro’ pastry with raspberry sorbet.
And once you’re done, you can retire to the upstairs cocktail joint, Bar Jackie, for a pandan negroni, or a sgroppino with an island of blood orange sorbet floating in peach liqueur & Prosecco.
And at only eleven pounds a pop, they’re not too dear either.
NOTE: Dear Jackie is open for dinner, seven days a week. You can find out more, and make a booking at the website right here.
Dear Jackie | 20 Broadwick St, London W1F 9NE
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