My husband and I always seem to end up surprised by the weekend’s arrival, and completely unprepared when it comes to having dinner reservations which on a Saturday night are pretty much a must in this town! The last few times this has happened, we’ve ended up at JAR (Just A Restaurant) on Lyndhurst Terrace, which is in the same building as one of my favourite bars, Blck Brd, which has the best outdoor terrace for a pre-dinner drink. JAR is a relatively new venture from the team behind Bistro Unit and Gastro Unit in TST and Causeway Bay. The interior has the feel of a blank canvas, with the obligatory bare lightbulbs hanging from an exposed ceiling, un-rendered brickwork and a rustic wooden floor. The tables are covered in crisp white cloths and you seat either on comfy banquettes or mismatched wooden chairs.
The menu is a single sheet of paper and reads a little like The Press Room’s menu, minus the brunchy items. I was a bit disappointed to find that on my third visit the menu was absolutely identical to the first visit – there’s something about the feel of the restaurant which makes you expect they would switch things up a little, or have some seasonal dishes available. The selection of appetisers is appealing – as well as starters like Charred Squid & Chorizo (delicious), they have soups (like French Onion) and salads, plus the option to order a charcuterie board. I had the fried Camembert with Caramelized Onions this time around and thought it was a solid dish. When it comes to main courses, if you’re not a an avowed carnivore you may not find anything too appealing, though my husband loves the Short Rib, and I liked the Half Chicken with Sweetcorn, though suspected there may have been a little MSG involved in the preparation…
For the dessert course things are looking up again, with their Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Bread and Butter Pudding being yummy and moreish. There are plenty of appealing items on the list and you feel like this is where what JAR is trying to do (basics, done right) is most successful. If I were to suggest any improvements, it would really be to the menu to add a bit more differentiation, and a bit more of what you would expect from the concept: to my mind a truly good burger would be a great addition.
Overall though JAR is a great option for when you don’t really have anything all that special planned – they have a good wine selection, pleasant service and satisfactory food… It’s a good place to take unadventurous eaters and the prices are fairly reasonable for this end of Central. In sum though, you can’t help feel that they have a little way to go before they can be considered something more elevated than Just A Restaurant.
Just-A-Restaurant 2/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
2543 8000 www.justarestaurant.com/