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Jam is just so sweet for a lunchtime treat

CLASSIC: Fresh cod served with tartar sauce, mixed salad and house fries – the fish is delivered fresh daily CLASSIC: Fresh cod served with tartar sauce, mixed salad and house fries – the fish is delivered fresh daily
By Staff Reporter

LUNCHTIME at the Andersonstown News is a much loved but often uninspiring culinary affair. Barring a few notable exceptions, it usually means sandwiches, pasta, and any dishes/leftovers that lend themselves to being microwaved. Therefore, when the opportunity to venture outside for a bite to eat presents itself, as it did on Friday, our expectations tend to be aim rather higher than the aforementioned. Thankfully, when we headed Jam Restaurant and Coffee Shop for our weekend treat our expectations were more than met.
Now well into its second year of business, Jam has become mainstay in the Park Centre and is equally popular with its shoppers and those who simply visit to get their hunger fix.
As one would expect, Jam offers a pleasantly relaxed experience. Like many casual modern spots, it’s just a matter of going to the counter and ordering when ready. However, the ever-attentive staff are always on hand to help and serve. Our party of three found ourselves a seat in the already buzzing dining area. Once we sussed out the menu, and had a good look at the impressive deli counter we were ready and eager to order.
Fish and chips was an obvious choice for one from our group after we were reliably informed by a member of staff that their fresh cod is delivered daily. While Belfast has no shortage of fish frying ‘experts’ Jam would give the best of them a serious run for their money. The chef’s beer batter was light, nicely seasoned and perfectly crisp. Beneath this beautiful exterior, the generous cut of cod, which was literally glistening, was distinguishable by a milder taste not typical of the elsewhere substituted haddock or pollock. It was served with thick-cut chips, which were noticeably fried to order – tartar sauce, peas and the traditional wedge of lemon used to brighten up fried foods.
Another of our party went for the chicken curry, which was served with the aforementioned chips and some perfectly boiled rice – it must be said that latter descriptor is applied for those, like this writer, who have a habit of turning out stodgy rice pudding during their own efforts. The curry, although far from spicy, had an incredible depth of flavour.
Our final lunchtime diner went for one of his favourites on any lunchtime menu – the classic club sandwich. Served with a side of the already mentioned thick-cut chips and a generous helping of cheese and onion-flavoured ridge-cut chips, it was expertly presented.
As for the sandwich itself, the fresh triple-decker white-bread was packed with succulent chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato and helped by some classic creamy mayonnaise. You know it is a good club sandwich when some of the filling falls out onto the plate and I could not fault it in the slightest.
Unfortunately with the launch of this year’s Féile an Phobail programme launch which required our attendance, there was no time for a sweet treat at Jam but a glance at their counter consisting of a selection of cakes and traybakes made it ever so hard to leave.
Jam is a refreshingly modern and casual spot, making it ever popular in the Park Centre. As long as Jam continues what it does best, you can be sure it will continue to thrive. It is safe to say we are already planning our next out-of-office lunchtime treat, away from the same-old-same-old affair in Teach Basil.

Jam Restaurant and Coffee Shop
Unit 23,
Park Centre,
Donegall Road, Belfast, BT12 6HN
Tel: 028 9032 8103

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