Review: The AA Food Guide
Some may have heard that Jake Watkins relocated his town-centre JSW restaurant to new, larger premises just a couple of hundred yards round the corner at the back-end of 2006, but not all will appreciate that it just got better!
The new premises - a former pub - underwent a total makeover, the interior offering a much more spacious version of the previous incarnation. There's a relaxed contemporary vibe, with light-oak beams, cream walls - still featuring those thoughtful line drawings of nudes (by the chef-proprietor's sister) - and well-spaced tables. Service is skilled and attentive with a young, knowledgeable team on hand to recommend dishes and relay information on the outstanding wines.
Remarkable quality ingredients and superb flavours are at work throughout, with Jake's deceptively simple, sophisticated modern approach well thought out. There's bags of self-assured confidence and great balance of flavour, delivered by set menu, carte and eight-course tasting option. Take scallops with pea purée and bacon to start, perhaps followed by turbot with asparagus, wild garlic pesto and tagliatelle, or loin of lamb with root vegetable and Hampshire hot pot, while salted caramel mousse with hazelnut praline might head-up desserts.
One to watch, with an inspired kitchen at work in their new surroundings.