We're JJAM-ing at new countryside kitchen
- Credit: Becky Alexander
It’s so lovely to be out and about again, eating at places where I haven’t had to do the cooking! Outside and big coats is very much the situation at the moment, and pavements, gardens and terraces are busy with happy customers – it’s so great to see!
I booked a table at JJAM in the pretty courtyard at the Osprey shop on Woodcock Hill, Coopers Green Lane. There has been a nice café there for a few years, but this is a new concept with a new team, with brunch, sharing boards, lunches, teas, coffees, bakes and a decent wine list – perfect if you are shopping there.
There is a tiny kitchen inside so the menu works with their space and its nice and relaxed for the outdoor courtyard setting. With stylish furniture, umbrellas, fire pits and beautiful planting, it is a lovely place to hang out, even on a chilly day.
JJAM was founded by childhood friends, Jack and Scott, and the name is a blend of their initials – Jack James and Scott’s middle name, Andrew Martin. Jack explained that they have both worked in the luxury hospitality market in London, including places like the Dorchester, and you could see that in the efficient and confident service.
If you head there for brunch, you have a couple of lovely options, including granola, shakshuka, avocado, salmon and eggs on toast, as well as pastries supplied by Tewin bakery who specialise in gluten-free.
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You can order the brunch items at any time, and I saw a few people having the shakshuka when we went at lunchtime. We chose a garden crudités sharing board which came with strips of carrot, celery, cucumber, grapes, raspberries, cheese with honey drizzled over, delicious toasted almonds, toast and little pots of hummus and tzatziki dip.
It was generous and well-presented but perhaps some radishes or something more seasonal would be good? The flatbread Keep Trufflin was excellent – it’s a pizza rather than a flatbread, but it was piping hot, beautifully crispy, with piles of rocket and fresh Parmesan on top, with truffle cream.
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My Italian pal Antonia really liked it, which is a true badge of approval. They also do a ‘Spicy Mama’ and a ‘Slow Cooker’, which is topped with BBQ short rib and Cornish blue cheese. Jack mentioned that they recently did a pop-up in Fulham where they sold their flatbreads/pizzas, which went well.
Vegetables are supplied by Sparshotts, and eggs are from St Albans market. Prices are perhaps fair enough for the setting, with flatbread pizzas around £10-14, and avo and eggs on toast for £12-14. Teas and coffees are priced on the high side, with a breakfast tea or flat white for £3.50.
There is a short but well thought-through drinks list, with a couple of cocktails and 11 wine choices. Sparkling is from Kingscote, Belstar and Pommery, and Jack was knowledgable about the producers. There were two choices of rosé – an organic Chateau Saint Roux and an ‘Ultimate’ Provence; we tried both and they were crisp and dry, which I like, and would taste even more delicious on a sunny evening.
The Osprey shops and The Hertfordshire Gin Distillery are open so you can have a look around those too, and there was plenty of parking on site. The courtyard was pretty full when we went, so if you want to be certain of a table then book via Opentable. JJAM is open on 9am-6pm most days (closed Mondays), and also Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, which I imagine will be hugely popular in the summer.
You can book the whole space for a private party, and the boys told me that the courtyard had recently been used for a will-i-am event. They can put a marquee over the space if you are worried about the weather for events, but in the meantime, take your big coats and