Opening a burger/foodfest restaurant and bar with a sizeable backroom complete with stage for live music in a space joined onto a Novotel hotel might not seem like the most conventional of pairings. But Jamboree on Blackfriars Road SE1 is a breath of rainbow-bunting fresh air for the borough of Southwark.
Don’t be put off by the French, mid-range hotel brand’s corporate exterior. The building is accessorised with a fun red neon Jamboree sign and their colourful interior can be seen from across the traffic-magnet main road.
Once inside you’ll feel as though you’ve walked into a London take on a barn dance bar. High ceilings laden with multicoloured bunting and exposed vintage bulbs, bare wood beams, walls, floor and tables. A clean spit-without-the-sawdust gaff. We approve.
To wet our whistles we were pointed towards these two bad-boys:
Fire Apple: Fireball cinnamon whisky, cloudy apple juice, bitters and ginger beer. It was like pouring an energetic San Francisco Stomp down the gullet where all the participants were hot-footing it in cinnamon-laced cowboy boots. Not too sweet and plenty of yeehaw from the bitters and ginger.
Knees Up: Blackwoods gin, basil, lemon, apple and ginger. A few defuser reeds and this imbibe could easily freshen up the mustiest of rooms. If TheGayUK owned a five-star luxury spa, the Knees Up would replace the complimentary cucumber water. An abundance of herby, floral and citrus notes.
We sampled three burgers, all of which were sandwiched in white, spongy, slightly sweet buns.
Maryland soft shell crab burger: a sugar-paper texture followed by light fishy candy-esque meat. Claw-icious.
Racing Bull Argentina beef burger with chimichurri: succulent, gamey and moreish beef elevated by the parsley, garlic and punches of vinegar from the chimichurri – a burger worth saddling up for.
The Yucatan veggie burger: a smooth sombrero-sporting falafeley filling with a hint of oregano. My pulse-and-prune-eating pal polished off the lot, but it’s not for everyone.
Thursday evenings, Jamboree will be filling their stage with live music. The bar has been set high after hearing the five-piece band Gatsby – http://www.gatsbyband.co.uk – performing their own takes on Bieber, Bruno Mars and Coldplay – we almost buckaroo-ed out of our chairs and threw our stetsons in the air.
With cocktails at only £7.95 and a decent burger for £13.95, we suggest you jump on the bandwagon.
I’ve lived in the Old Smoke since 1999 with a career in fashion, fitness and events. I discovered the joys of writing beginning of 2014. Since then I’ve been tapping digits to keys. Subjects include food, theatre, exhibitions, London life and other topics that tickle my taste-buds. Other publications include Timeout, Gay Times and So So Gay Magazine.