Jackson+Rye was suggested as the venue for a long overdue get-together with my friends J, L and A – mainly because I really wanted to try it, and also because it’s quite near where J works, in Soho. It used to be Satsuma, a really nice, smart sushi and bento box place on the corner of Wardour and Old Compton Street, but I like this sooo much better.

Even from the outside it just immediately looks like you want to be in it. The lighting is soft and glowing, the windows are floor to ceiling, and it smacks of cosy,  NYC neighbourhood joint. Inside, it’s even nicer. We’re given a quiet booth to the right of the bar on the first floor (though there is another room through the back, and more tables downstairs), and it’s lit by a hanging shade lamp with a subtle orange bulb. I almost felt like J and I – the first two to arrive – were on a date. It is definitely a date night place.

Everything – from the cool menus to the cutlery, napkin and glassware – said nonchalant, east side chic. And the food – oh god, we couldn’t wait to try it. Alas we were blown out by A, but thankfully L was still up for joining the party.

While we were waiting for her, J and I ordered a French Grenache from the very reasonably priced wine list (though some of the cocktails sounded pretty good – and what’s not to love about a bar with a special whiskey section that boasts one bottle called Knob (Creek) and one called Larceny in close proximity?) and shared some crispy fried squid. The squid was pretty good, but it was the chipotle mayo dip it came with that had us rolling our eyes in sheer delight. Spicy, delicate and flavoursome. That’s what it was. I even cleaned out the pot with my finger after we’d finished the squid. Classy, I know.

The mains were just as addictive. J ordered the crab cakes with a chilli and apple slaw, which she let me try, and which tasted very fresh. I went for crispy buttermilk fried chicken, which was indeed crispy, buttery, milky and…you get the idea. It came with a very good spicy coleslaw but we’d also ordered some fries, which were hot, salted and slender, and some truffled mac and cheese. I don’t quite know what the noises we were making when we ate it sounded like but I don’t think they were very polite. In short; it was orgasmic. My only quibble is that the serving didn’t come all the way up to the top of the dish – only half way. I mean I could have eaten that all night. Perhaps the chef is being thoughtful and doesn’t want to put people into cardiac/orgasmic arrest (whatever that might be).

L enjoyed her steak and eggs (they do it two ways: pink, or cooked through) then we shared a massive portion of blueberry cobbler with a jug of positively indecent warm vanilla custard. I left feeling that I’d had a good a time as it’s possible to have with your clothes on, and the intention to book again for as soon as possible. Special mention to the staff who were all unfailingly lovely, and didn’t even kick us out after our allotted two hour slot came and went.

Just GO.