The Jackson Plan
The buzz: The year’s funniest film to date, the Michael Winterbottom-directed The Trip, is both proof and partial cause of a real buzz around traditional British cuisine right now. This is your chance to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a Brit gastro-pub that’s taken over the space vacated by Uluru Aussie Bar in district du jour, Duxton Hill; brought to you by the Il Lido and Forlino folk.
The vibe: The Jackson Plan harks back to various highpoints in British history—to the Empire (it’s named after Lieutenant Philip Jackson, the man who first divided the colony up) and to a time when British food was more than just lukewarm Scotch eggs on a petrol station forecourt. The old shophouse space ties in nicely with the retro feel, and the huge patio is perfect for warm-up drinks and a chance to familiarize yourself with a menu you might not initially understand.
The food: Chef Christopher Dougan trained under Brit luminaries Nigel Haworth and Paul Heathcote, but it’s Fergus Henderson’s groundbreaking London restaurant St. JOHN that’s most inspired him. This is nose-to-tail eating, the sort of waste-not-want-not food grandma used to make. Starter plates include pig tails, white pudding and home baked beans ($11.50) and beetroot cured salmon, cottage cheese and crumpet ($13.50). The sizeable mains range from Berkshire pork cheek with white bean casserole ($23.50) to Saltmarsh lamb, Irish champ (a blend of scallions and mashed potatoes) and chard ($28), and an indulgent Lancashire hot pot with pickled cabbage and marrowfat peas ($22.50). No-one else here is doing anything even remotely like this. Even the Brits among you are unlikely to have eaten a mere fraction of the menu.
The drinks: Alongside an interesting selection of beers, ciders and Westons Country Perry (that’s pear cider for you newbies)—$17.50—there’s a decent range of reds and whites. The short cocktail list, though, is the real seller (and only partly because of the generous pours). It’s hard to think of a better use for that outdoor space than knocking back a Pimm’s No. 1 Cup (glass $10.50, pitcher $39.50).
Why you’ll be back: For food you just can’t find anywhere else. And that Pimms Cup.
We’re all about making and having plans, and heading to The Jackson Plan for dinner seemed as good a plan as any. Having been to this British gastropub on several occasions for a tipple too many (they have a mean happy hour), we figured it was high time we conquered the food menu as well. Occupying what once was Uluru Aussie Bar & Steakhouse in hotspot-of-the-moment Duxton Hill, there’s a nice, buzzing patio out front that we’re partial to; but the dining room leaves us feeling a little cold. We dug our heels in with the ploughman’s platter ($15.80) and spiced carrot soup ($8). The former was a disappointing plate of cold meats—tough slices of beef, lamb and pork—although the apple chutney and mint jelly went some way to making them more palatable. We enjoyed the flavor of the carrot soup, with a hint of cardamom that made the sweetness more balanced, but found the coarse, lumpy texture a little disconcerting. The cauliflower fritters ($8) from the menu of bar nibbles called out to us, and turned out to be a wise choice. The crisp, battered cauliflower florets were good all on their own, but proved downright addictive after being dipped into the accompanying curry mayonnaise. The cider-braised Berkshire pork cheek ($24.80) however, although of very generous portions, wasn’t quite enough to win us over, and in all honesty, we’ve had better renditions of black pudding and smashed peas. Service, while earnest, was slow, despite the fact that the dining room was mostly empty (there was only one other occupied table). The Jackson Plan is still a great spot for drinks; there’s a fab happy hour deal (all housepours are just $5 from 5-8pm), but next time we’ll stick to bar bites, or have a Plan B for dinner.
|Address:||The Jackson Plan, 40 Duxton Hill, Singapore, Singapore|
|Open since:||June, 2011|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-2:30pm; Mon-Sat 6-11pm|
|Parking available: at public carpark|
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