Review: Jam Café

Perhaps one of the more talked about places on the Vancouver eating scene, we had been meaning to try this place with friends of ours for a long time before actually going – we were always just too put off by the queue! One day we decided to brave it and headed out to Kitsilano, joining the masses lining up in the rain on a gloomy Sunday morning.

After waiting for about 45 minutes we were finally let in the door. The place was packed: filled with both people and quirky, fun decorations. It had a very bustling vibe and my pet peeve would soon be confirmed: it was going to be one of those eating experiences where we’d feel obliged to leave as soon as we were done eating.

There were numerous seating options around the restaurant. We were shown to a cozy table in the corner. Although I’d already eyed up the menu online before we went, I was still overwhelmed by its sheer size. I usually find myself picking between two options max, but here there were no less than about five which featured as serious contenders. We had to send the waitress away multiple times before we even managed to pick our way through the entire menu!

Finally our orders were placed. Not surprisingly, three out of four of us had gone for some variation of fried chicken. I’d order the French toast and the boys had ordered different kinds of fried chicken burgers. Millie caved in to the absolutely ridiculous and eccentric assortment of sweet treats on the menu: she ordered pancakes that were 1) absolutely enormous and 2) covered in a thick chocolate sauce and melted marshmallow. They were very indulgent and sweet – a dish best shared we concluded!

The boys’ burgers were the standout meals. The fries were beautifully seasoned, the fried chicken done perfectly and the rest of the burgers were both delicious. My savoury French toast was mediocre: although the chicken, pickled vegetables and sauces were all great, the toast itself was very underwhelming. For me, it was way too bready (four very pieces of bread) that weren’t nearly enough French ‘toasty’. They had definitely gone too light on the egg/milk combo, or maybe there was just too much bread to even soak it up. Regardless, I would have preferred half as much bread and double the quality!

The coffee was bottomless and very drinkable. We managed to sit on our coffees for a while to prolong our visit to Jam Café as it was a very interest place to just sit and people watch. However we eventually felt like we’d outdone our stay and headed out the door. My overall rating was that it was good, but not necessarily worth that queue. I got the impression that the savoury dishes (there were lots of egg options on the menu) were the dishes that shone: the sweet dishes seemed to place more emphasis on extravagance than quality. Prices were decent, so I expect I’ll be back before long!     

[There is also another branch of Jam in Gastown, which I’m sure we’ll make it to at some point.]

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