Next up in Blog Preston’s series of reviews on local food vans is soul food stall The Jam-Bowl.Advertisement
According to the Black Foodie blogger, soul food originates from African American slaves in the Deep South who learned to make their cheap, basic rations taste bearable. It’s a common skill developed by poor people everywhere except in the UK where, until around the late 1970s, most of us suspected that anyone who smelled of garlic was a spy.
There was an Indian restaurant on Church Street called The Kismet, and my parents loved it there. I still remember the first time my mother Yvonne metaphorically burnt her Fanny Craddock cookbook and made a curry for tea. It was a stew containing the standard unidentifiable grey meat with the addition of a tablespoon of curry powder and a pound of sultanas. Weird, but the week before my sister had made a beef mince pie at school that my Nana served with custard and nothing could be worse than that.
Review: For authentic curries there’s no place like Munchkin Land
Nowadays Yvonne’s a fabulous cook and a big fan of spice, so I took her to The Jam-Bowl on the NCO Europe car park just off Ringway in the city centre. Neither of us had tried it before but we’d heard great things so were cautiously optimistic.
There was a small queue for service at the impeccably clean counter, and it took 18 minutes from ordering to receiving our food, but it was freshly cooked and well worth the wait.
Yvonne had three lamb chops with rice and peas, green seasoning, pineapple jerk glaze and a side salad for £6. The green seasoning was a little dipping tub of home-made creamy mint sauce, and there was also a tub of what I’d guess was jerk sauce. The lamb chops were substantial, cooked perfectly and whilst not being spicy hot on their own, a dip in the jerk sauce should be enough to keep most chilli fans happy.
I had the marinated crispy coated chicken with seasoned chips and Saul-slaw for £5.
The tender chicken wasn’t skinny on the seasoning despite being mild enough for most tastes, and there was enough for me to only eat half of the chicken and save the rest for a sandwich. The coleslaw was brightly coloured, brightly flavoured and went well with the crunchy chicken.
The salt and pepper fries were fine but there wasn’t much extra seasoning, so as the chicken tasted so good on its own I’d just order regular fries and red salt next time, which are £1 cheaper.
The £3 burger made with local meat was better quality than the Green Frog’s £3 burger and chips though significantly more expensive at £3 + 75p for cheese sauce on the burger and £1 extra for fries.
Review: Visiting The Green Frog at Preston Docks for dinner and a show
Inside a compact brioche bun the pattie was thicker but smaller in diameter than the Green Frog’s 80s floppy disk. More the shape and size of a Russian Hamster squeezing under a door, resulting in the perfect bread to burger ratio. (Not a Siberian hamster, those chubbers would have the bun and your arm in their pouches before you could scream.) It was as good as any you might get at Turtle Bay, with the added bonus of being hot when we received it.
I’d have preferred the meals in cardboard as fried things tend to lose their crispness a little in polystyrene, but it smelled so amazing that we were glad for an excuse to eat it in the car park.
I found out on a second visit that the owner’s name is Saul, hence the “Saul food” spelling in the menu. It was clearly his destiny to open The Jam-Bowl and thanks to his parents I’m not having to review Dan’s Flan Van, or Charlotte’s Butt Hut. After a disappointing Google I found that nothing much goes with the name Karen, so destiny would force me to open Karen’s Photoblepharons, unhappily serving deepsea fish with weird eyes. The fish, not me.
The Jam-Bowl gets a 10/10 from myself, Yvonne and my daughter Ground Zero who went later that week. She loved the macaroni cheese, a food she knows like Snoop Dog knows his herbs, so that’s great news for the vegetarians.
Read more: Mama Shar bringing a taste of the Caribbean to Preston events this summer
Sadly for our vegan readers they’ll have to eat elsewhere unless they want fries, rice and peas or sweetcorn fritters, but Blog Preston hasn’t forgotten you, we’ll be reviewing a food truck that serves plenty of vegan food soon.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
Have you eaten at The Jam-Bowl? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.