Monday, November 7, 2011

Jam Jar for Tapas and Cocktails

Jam Jar

Emotionally distraught and in need of a distraction, Mochi nursed me out of my rut of sadness by invoking a girl's night out on Saturday.

We met up in West End without a clear focus on where to go... that is, until we remembered Jam Jar. Once upon a long time ago, we attempted to have dinner at Jam Jar but it was waaay too early (I think we opted for an early dinner because we had a massage appointment to rush off to afterwards) so it wasn't open.

At that time, we'd caught a glimpse of the tapas bar from outside and thought "this place is tiny! Where are the tables?"

When we actually went inside on the weekend, we realized that the shop front is small but there's a substantial seating area out the back that's partially open to the skies. I totally dig that open to the heavens vibe in a restaurant/bar/cafe. Aside from that, Jam Jar radiates cool. It's got a sophisticated garage grafitti feel... and as conflicted as that description sounds, it just works.

I wasn't at all in the mood for decision-making so Mochi took charge and selected a bunch of tapas for us to try. They're ordered individually so we got 2 of each. Jam Jar also does regular-sized mains but we wanted to try lots of little things rather than two big things.

Hong Kong Phooey - ol meca tequila, cointeau, passionfruit, lemon juice, mandarin juice, orange blossom water, ginger syrup, ginger beer, mandarin & vanilla dust

We ordered cocktails too. I went for 'Hong Kong Phooey'. Mochi piped out a special request for something fresh, fruity, summery and sweet whilst being light on the alcohol.

My cocktail was great. It was a tad too sweet but other than that, completely drinkable. I hate cocktails that you end up skulling because they're awful. This was very citrusy and vibrant.

Mystery cocktail that turned into our favorite of the night

Mochi's was fabulous. I don't know what it's called (or if it's even on the menu) but it was exactly what she asked for with tones of watermelon and mint. It was so good that in our next round, I ordered one for myself.

Our food came not long after. We both pronounced our affection for food served on wooden boards. There's just something about it that I like (you might have noticed that some of my cooking posts involve food served on a wooden board).

Pork and water chestnut wonton with crushed peanut and chilli caramel, and tomato jam filled profiteroles with celery salt

The pork and chestnut wonton was my first pick. It had a lovely, crunchy exterior and flavorsome filling. The arrancini balls were yummo too. They were simple but well executed.

Herbed polenta cake with beetroot and rosemary salt and goats cheese puree, and cauliflower and millawa blue cheese arancini with porcini and roasted garlic aioli

My favorite tapas item was the potenta cake. What really set it off was the goats cheese puree. It just worked so well together.

I wasn't a huge fan of the tomato jam filled profiteroles because they were just too tangy.

After our food fling, we were so excited about Jam Jar's offerings that we arrived at an unspoken agreement of ordering dessert there too. And none of that 'sharing' business. One whole dessert each please.

Soft centred dark chocolate pudding - with mozart white and pear macerated figs, vanilla bean ice-cream

Mochi wasted no time in choosing the chocolate pudding. I wasted no time in dipping my spoon in when it arrived.

Chocolate pudding interior

It had a rich, dark chocolate flavor that wasn't too sweet and the inside was delightfully gooey.

Cava chiboust - with blueberry soda, roasted mango and candied pistacio praline

My dessert was the cava chiboust, based solely on the fact that I didn't know what it was but it had pistachio in the description. This was a weird dessert. The chiboust was kinda like a panna cotta but much, much lighter (and admittingly, not much flavor). It was surrounded by a sea of berries and came with a berry soda and a scattering of pistachio praline.

Pure texture shot

I tried the chiboust by itself first and was underwhelmed. It did have a soft, silky texture but hey, so does silken tofu and that sure needs other stuff to flavor it.

Fizzle shizzle whizzle

Next, I tried the dessert as a whole by pouring the blueberry soda on top and scattering some praline. It seemed to work better this way but I was envious of Mochi the whole time.

Parting shot - I managed to snap myself

The service at Jam Jar was delightful. I've had some unsatisfying experiences with hospitality recently and it was nice to be reminded that there is good out there. The girls were so friendly and helpful, especially when we were giving the tricky cocktail requests. They always checked back to see if we were happy with what we got too. In fact, Mochi is so impressed that she's considering having her next function there. Give Jam Jar a go!
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