Jakobs, SW7 4RB
- 020 7581 9292
- 20 Gloucester Road, SW7 4RB
Small restaurant/cafe on Gloucester Road in South Kensington.
Service is cafeteria-style, with pre-prepared salads and hot dishes dispensed from a glass-fronted display counter at the front near the door. The selections focus on fresh produce, grains, beans, and the occasional bit of fish, dairy, and meat. They also do freshly-squeezed juices.
Takeaway may be available — not sure. For eat-in, choose your food at the counter; you will then be shown to a table where someone will come to take your drink order, and your food will be brought along shortly after. Pay at the counter on your way out — no service charge is added to your bill, but there's a small glass to put tips in.
Beyond the service counter is a cosy dining area, and beyond that a terracotta-tiled conservatory, with leafy potted plants and a translucent roof to let the sunlight in. The tables are of varying sizes; the chairs are wooden and mismatched.
Kake visited on a Monday lunchtime in June 2010. The place was about a third full when I arrived a little after 12:30pm, and filled up more during my visit, though there were always free tables.
I went for the small salad plate, which gives you three choices from the selection on offer and cost either £7 or £7.50 (can't remember which). I chose a quinoa salad, shredded beetroot in yoghurt, and a salad of black beans and edamame photo. The portions were generous, and the quality really pretty good. The seasoning was judged just right to let the flavours of the ingredients come through without risking blandness; the beans were cooked to a nice bite, avoiding both chalkiness and mushiness; and fresh herbs were used judiciously to add flavour without being overwhelming. Freshly-pressed apple juice (either £2.80 or £3.30, not sure) looked a little unattractive but had great flavour. Tap water arrived very quickly after asking for it, in a glazed ceramic jug.
Other options on display on my visit included artichoke hearts, poached salmon, a couscous salad, a vegetable mix including peas, and I think some kind of lasagne. Not sure how many of the salads are vegan, and also not sure how often the selection changes. There was also a sideboard with cakes and fruit salad.
Kake's verdict: I really like this kind of food, so I'd very happily come back. The food reminded me a bit of 222 Vegetarian Restaurant just down the road in W14, though the ambience is different and Jakobs also serves meat and fish.
Accessibility: One step up to get in. The toilet (a single unisex cubicle) is down a flight of stairs with no bends and a sturdy handrail on one side most of the way down.