Bayswater real estate just went up in value. Neighbouring suburbs have taken all the glory in the past with Bayswater locals requiring a set of wheels to get a decent meal and glass of wine. Imagine the palpable morale leap as a wine store fused with a classy pizza joint (read: pizza is just one part of the eats equation) burst onto the streets of Bayswater and set themselves up particularly to favour the local community?* Welcome, King Somm and Jane Dough, we’ve been waiting a while for you.
Enter the premises via the wine store King Somm, with a tiny kitchen to the left giving no indication of the delicacies that would adorn our table later. We were welcomed with old school charm, with the King Somm manager Grayson Durham doubling as a maitre’d, explaining the lay of the land before guiding us to the next level up where Jane Dough awaited in all her moody glory.
Charcoal walls and soft lighting, the restaurant caters for many an evening out. With high tables and stools full to the brim with groups and a rear courtyard dotted with families enjoying some balmy autumn weather, we headed for the intimate dining area where other small groups were feasting.
The atmosphere tends towards casual with a small but hearty menu and waiters aplenty, yet you order meals and drinks from the bar. A friendly face was at every turn and the bartender happily advised on menu favourites and set to work on a cocktail when I simply asked for what he liked best. The resulting Little Fizz was spot on to whet the appetite with the fresh flavours of elderflower and lemon mixed with Lillet, a French wine.
Whether you come searching for a hearty meal, a good selection of epic flavours or simply a snack to complement your glass of bubbles, the Jane Dough menu satisfies all taste buds and appetites. Small plates of cold cuts, stracciatella or mussel escabeche promised to work with the dainty appetites, but we went straight for the big guns.
The lamb ribs was the hero dish of the night, almost inducing a Meg Ryan moment. Caramelised on the exterior with tender, fall-off-the-bone meat hugging the rib—the lamb shone. It was so full of flavour it could have been served solo, but the yoghurt za’atar sauce beneath the ribs and strips of pickled onion and fresh herbs atop provided a fresh tang.
The cheesy hush puppies were also a treat, crunchy on the outside with the cornmeal heart still almost doughy with a lip-smacking smoky mayo. The lighter option of fresh fig sliced among chunks of chorizo and goats cheese, and sprinkled with toasted almonds was also given hearty approval.
The pizza menu created the hardest decision of the evening (all seven were legit contenders), but we settled on the pork and fennel sausage. The thin base allowed the toppings to take centre stage with the full flavoured pork and fennel sausage, a decent swirl of salsa verde and roasted onion.
Dessert isn’t a strong feature of Jane Dough’s menu, although our trusty barman assured us the panna cotta with coffee caramel and pistachios was worth saving stomach space for next time. Come back you say? Definitely, King Somm and Jane Dough are off to a cracking start.
*No bookings system at Jane Dough was determined by the owners’ desire to allow plenty of walk-ins so locals could wander in and get a table with ease. On the Thursday evening we visited, it was comfortably busy, but we suggest arriving early to get a table Friday to Sunday.
Image credit: Elle Borgward