For months I seem to have walked past the frontage of the Jam Jar with its alluring (and curiously Very Hungry Caterpillar-esque) "coming soon" sign, so I was pretty excited when I got back from holidays and found that it had well and truly arrived.
The front bar area is cute and friendly, featuring some smaller pieces of the rotating art exhibitions. On Friday and Saturday night Oztinato is in residence playing boogie on the piano, its a pretty awesome way to enter any bar. It's when you wander around the back of though, that you get the full effect of the beautiful and quirky refurbishment. The back garden has been converted; the walls feature some great graff art, there are sets of cosy little tables and the atmosphere is humming.
The dinner menu is divided in to smalls, bigs, a bit more and end. We went for an early dinner/snacky meal and stuck to the smalls end of the menu – the servings were pretty teeny, but that was reflected in the price. It was only $3 for the incredibly tasty cauliflower and millwa blue cheese arancini balls and the tomato jam filled profiteroles were also just $3. I loved this style of ordering – no agonizing over your decision and hoping your dining companion lets you taste test their order. The bigs that the table across from us ordered were pretty substantial and looked (and smelt) super tasty. The beef cheeks with cassia scented cabbage ($25) and the vegetable crumble ($22) looked particularly inviting.
The drinks list wasn't endless but it was well thought out, good semi-boutique beers (around the $7 mark), some excellent wines (the Zinio Temparanillo Graciano at $9 a glass was good value) and the cocktail list looked innovative without simply being interesting for interesting's sake (I will definitely be returning to try the figs & peat cocktail - $15).
The Jam Jar's motto is food – drink – think and in support of the latter, they host art exhibitions as well as showcasing local theatre nights and spoken word afternoons. The last theatre night boasted three local acts and a three course meal for $60 and the spoken word Sundays are on a roll – there is an open mic session followed by some great Brisbane poets. I think I'll have to clear some diary space to spend some more time getting to know this new friend in West End.