Jardin du Jasmin is the perfect place to be seen and Damascene.
A common complaint about new London restaurant openings is that they’re purely grist for the Instagram mill, with food a mere afterthought. Sometimes, this complaint is true – but when you can match breathtaking aesthetic with fresh and vibrant food, you’re onto a winner. Happily, that’s the case for Jardin du Jasmin, a luscious Levantine spot that’s inspired a serious case of ‘gram fever.
We’ll get the obvious out of the way first: this place is pretty as a picture. From the swarm of giant lightbulbs hanging from a plant-festooned ceiling, to the intricately patterned tiles on the floor, Jardin du Jasmin (often referred to simply as “the Jardin”) is Absolutely Bloody Gorgeous.
The design is evocative of Damascus – nicknamed the ‘City of Jasmin’ – which also receives a literary tribute. On the whitewashed walls of Jardin du Jasmin, you’ll find a a moving fragment of a poem from Nizar Qabbani, the silver-tongued diplomat widely regarded as Syria’s national poet.
The lines appear in Qabbani’s poem A Damascene Moon, which later reads “From Damascus, love begins” – although if we’re splitting hairs, I’d argue our love began the moment we set eyes on this place.
Having said all of that, if you’re here for snaps then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Jardin du Jasmin have hewed close to Damascene traditions with their food menu, a delicious, veg-heavy smorgasbord of delights.
Highlights include horraa osbao, a pasta and lentil dish with caramelised onions, pomegranate, and flatbread croutons, vegetarian pumpkin kibbeh, and kabset lahme – slow roasted lamb with rice, raisins, and pine nuts. Frankly, it all sounds absolutely smashing, and the buffet-style offering means you can pick and choose a plate that’ll suit you perfectly.
Jardin du Jasmin have the sweet treats to match their sweet aesthetic, too. Traditional knafeh has been known to make an appearance, and their smash hit dessert is a saffron, cardamom, and white sesame cake that is by all accounts divine. Our advice? Come along, dive into the food, and have yourself a proper Jardin party.
Location: 161 Great Portland Street, W1W 5PB. Nearest station is Great Portland Street. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 8am-8pm (Mon to Fri), 10am-8pm (Sat), 10am-6pm (Sun).
Price: salads start from £6.80, buffet plates from £9.75.
More information: on their website.
Featured image: @angelacoomey
Also published on Medium.