The word ‘brunch’ gives chefs licence to embellish ho-hum bacon-and-egg offerings with the likes of manchego cheese croquettes, ancient grain salads and master stock braised duck – just a few components on chef Damien Styles’ brunch menu at Jam Jar. Having returned to Brisbane after stints at Melbourne’s the Point, Charcoal Lane and Pope Joan, Styles says Jam Jar’s dinner is where it’s at – but we reckon brunch is pretty up there too.
Styles’ combo of salt-cured kingfish and sardine-flavoured, prawn-cracker-esque fossils, with nori and house-made bonito flakes ($17), certainly pushes conservative brunch boundaries and may be more suited to dining later in the day. Luckily, brunch rolls until 3pm. A stunningly good pan-fried ham hock and lentil terrine with soft fried egg beside a smudge of sauce gribiche ($18) is filled with smoky, salty, hammy nuances. We love terrine that is not over-bound with gelatin, and Styles’ warmed version flakes apart with ease.
Then there’s smoked salmon on sourdough with blanched spears of asparagus and a coarse, textured relish of sweet beetroot and fennel, wilted baby spinach and crème fraîche that needs more of the promised preserved lemon to make it more than ordinary ($16). Disappointingly, our loose-leaf tea arrives weak and in pots badly in need of a spruce-up, so opt for coffee – it’s Genovese.
Service is relaxed and attentive and complements the funked-up vibe of the courtyard dining space with walls spray-painted by local artists and tables cobbled together using recycled VJ boards. Jam Jar’s a cool spot to hang (it’s a fully licenced cocktail bar), a great place to brunch and the menu promises to keep any jam session humming.