Expert Caspian cuisine in a tasteful South London setting

Like a peacock among pigeons, Jan’s bold architecture positively glows against its neighbouring restaurants’ understated awnings: the teal mosaic tiles and golden gated threshold stand out. Evocation outside and within is of the near East and all things Caspian. It certainly brings a dose of novelty to that well-heeled culinary strip by curating flavours from as far as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia. The residents of Battersea, like most Londoners, are now able to source za’atar and sumac at their local convenience stores, but to date have been poorly served by near-Eastern and Levantine offerings by way of restaurants. Jan is therefore a welcome addition.

We sat at the back, at a table with a good view of the open kitchen. Portraits of former rulers of the Caspian kingdoms adorn the walls and watch over the proceedings. It is obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail has gone into the aesthetics of the place as it oozes style, right down to the Aesop hand wash in the bathrooms.

Dishes on the menu are designed to be shared with an interesting array of small plates.  Our waitress’s advice to go for the sticky sumac chicken wings was a good call. Covered in barberries, honey and pomegranate molasses, they were as moreish as they were memorable. Hints of tahini and fresh herbs came through, refining the baba ganoush and pickled walnut rolls. We ordered flatbread with za’atar spiced oil to mop it up. Whilst it wasn’t as flat as your typical “flatbread”—more doughy in texture—it served its purpose well. The za’atar spiced oil, however, was very subtle and could’ve been served more liberally over the bread.

From the charcoal section of the menu, we toyed with the harissa marinated hanger steak and the charred miso and tahini spiced cauliflower, ultimately opting for the lamb chops and slow roasted lamb shoulder, which had a pomegranate and balsamic glaze.  The three lamb chops were juicy and the accompanying roasted lamb shoulder was meltingly tender. Whilst a small salad with chickpeas accompanied the lamb, we couldn’t resist ordering a fattoush salad with a preserved lemon dressing and sumac from the “sides”. It was over-vibrant from the lemon and sumac, but cut through the richness of the lamb well.

Being lunchtime, we held off on the cocktails, but there was a handsome-looking selection of drinks that we will happily explore on future evening visits.

Cardamom-dusted doughnut twists with warm, mace-infused chocolate sauce and rose ginger jam impelled us to dive in with lost abandon. The rose ginger jam was an excellent, precise marriage of flavours and the chocolate sauce was rich—no half measures. The donuts themselves were substantial and good to share. We lost ourselves momentarily as we dunked them in the accompanying sauces.

Jan brings some original flavours to this part of town, which is otherwise very well served with restaurants. There is effort in the presentation of the food and flavours are precise and engaging. The décor adds to the experience and makes it an appropriate spot for an unhurried meal, especially on a day that leaves time to drink in your surroundings along with your aperitif.

Opening hours: Monday closed; Tuesday 5-11pm; Wednesday-Saturday, noon-11pm; Sunday noon-5pm. 

Please note that on account of the restaurant being very new, a 50% discount on food was given to all customers on the day Binge reviewed.

Bill for two 
Food £27.29
78 Northcote Road
SW11 6QL
United Kingdom