This month the Quench team headed to one of the cities latest dining hot-spots, Apple Jacks: American Diner Deluxe. Promising to offer some of the best US dishes this side of the Atlantic, all creatively infused with a gastronomic twist, there was no doubt that the States had to be the next stop on our gourmet exploration. So grab your cowboy boots, don the stars and stripes and get ready to loosen your belt; here’s what we thought…
I’d been dying to visit Apple Jacks since the new city centre eatery opened its doors at the end of last year, and what better way to enjoy it than with a Quench shaped hole in the bill.
Spying a few sly pics on Instagram and snippets of the menu online, the American-gastro fusion menu was beyond tempting. Incorporating all the best bits of state-side dining, such as fully loaded burgers and breakfast taccos, along with the creativity and sophistication of gastronomy, it looked like the food here was going to be a winner.
Taking a seat in the sleek and stylish restaurant, the owners had once again done a top job of picking the finest parts of the US dining scene. With comfy booths and a quirky yet sophisticated interior, Apple Jacks has definitely created a character of its own and a great space to enjoy in-prompt-to drinks as well as a more formal meal.
Still making a name for itself, the restaurant was pretty quiet when we visited so the service was quick and attentive, and before no time my dish of dreams was in front of me, just waiting to be devoured. Now, I’ll admit it, I have a sweet tooth, and yes I can be known to skip mains altogether and go straight from starter to dessert, so when I spotted the duck with waffles on the menu there were no two ways about it.
This was main and dessert all in one and boy was it good. Let’s start from the bottom up; a thick but fluffy American waffle set up base camp, drizzled with a delightfully sweet orange, maple butter. Topping the waffle was a crispy confit duck leg; the meat, deliciously succulent and melt in the mouth, complemented wonderfully by the subtle hints of orange in the sauce. Two crispy rashers of bacon blanketed the duck, adding a salty juxtaposition to the sweetness of the other components. And to top it off? A poached egg of course. Slightly misfitting with the rest of the dish if I’m honest, but beautifully cooked all the same.
It may be hard to believe, but the meal came together beautifully. And, unsurprisingly, I couldn’t quite make dessert, as the hearty portion left me content at both the savoury and sweet spectrums of my appetite. I’m glad to say my expectations were well and truly satisfied and I’ll definitely be returning to tackle the enticing breakfast offerings.
I was spoilt for choice by the menu and spent a good while trying to choose; unfortunately this was one of the times that my decision making let me down. The plate sounded appetising; new-Mexican pan-fried chicken with a peanut jus, but it disappointed in flavour and aesthetics, especially in comparison to my fellow diners dishes. To be honest it resembled chicken and chips you could get from your local pub, not particularly appetising. I had serious food envy- the burger, duck and scallops that my friends had ordered looked and tasted great. What Apple Jack’s lacked in my meal was made up in its friendly and attentive service, and cool, relaxed atmosphere. I would visit Apple Jack’s again but definitely avoid the chicken and wholeheartedly go for one of their massive burgers!
With a quirky vibe and busy menu, Apple Jacks certainly appears to have a lot to offer to its hungry revellers in need of a treat. I was intrigued to see whether the restaurant could meet my expectations and was delighted to have the opportunity to try it out with Quench.
Initially, I liked the restaurant’s décor and light atmosphere. The unmissable table nestled between two halves of a VW camper-van was particularly charming and definitely a statement feature of the city centre eatery. I’m not ashamed to admit I even had my photo taken sat inside! First impressions were definitely good.
Next for the ‘meaty’ bit – the dinner! Being a Quench Food Evening, I felt I had to push the boat out and indulge in a sirloin steak. There was a variety of sauces and sides to accompany the steaks, which I liked as it meant you could customise the flavours; I choose sweet potato fries cooked with chorizo. The steak itself was cooked how I had asked, medium rare, and the tomatoes were grilled nicely. However, the steak itself was very fatty, and the fries, although tasty with the saltiness of chorizo, were extremely greasy. To say I was disappointed is fair, yet I did still enjoy my meal. For the price I paid, I cannot complain; it was well worth the money. Would I, on the other hand, pay for the same meal without the Quench Food Evening discount (£17.95)? Unfortunately not.
Despite not wanting to return to Apple Jacks for a steak, I would definitely go back to try out the burger! Two of my fellow diners had burgers, which were accompanied with copious amounts of tasty looking fries and toppings! The burgers were obviously handmade and were really delicious (I may have had a sneaky bite).
Overall, my Apple Jacks experience was a mixed one. The staff were friendly and very attentive, the layout and décor was very comfortable and pleasing. For me, it was only the quality of the steak and the greasiness of the sweet potato fries that let it down.
Having already had a sneaky peek at the menu to prepare myself for the oncoming feast, it’s safe to say I was excited for what Apple Jacks had to offer; and I’m glad to say my expectations were not disappointed.
From the quirky music to the sleek seating booths, the American diner atmosphere was set as soon as we walked in. A lot more open and spacious than typical diner-esque restaurants, Apple Jacks have created a welcoming, friendly and comfortable atmosphere.
But let’s be honest, what we were really here for was the food. After changing my mind too many times, and awkwardly turning the waitress away once again, I finally decided on the ‘House Burger’, and chucked in a mojito for good measure. Best-decision-ever.
I normally find myself left slightly disappointed by restaurant’s cocktail offerings, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s doubtful that I would have paid full price for it, but that’s coming from a student who finds it difficult to pay full price for anything these days. The burger didn’t disappoint either, it was incredible. Cooked to perfection and the ideal portion size to leave me suitably full, the taste and textures were a real celebration of flavour.
The only letdown of the evening was my decision to skip dessert, completely my own fault. The green – eyed monster came out alongside the brownie a fellow dinner had ordered, something I will definitely be returning for in the future. Overall, Apple Jacks is well worth a recommendation, and needless to say, I will be visiting again at some point in the near future.