Restaurant Review: The Jones Family Project, Shoreditch in London
Nick Constance enjoys a scrumptious lunch with seasonal produce at Jones Family Project, in achingly hip Shoreditch
First things first, this is not a family-run business. Actually, that’s untrue – it IS a family affair, but not in a dynasty, or parent / sibling sense. What they really are is a group of tight-knit friends with a love of food and booze and general bonhomie.
I came across the Jones Family Project (JFP) online and was smitten from the off. Not only is the interior design inspiring, but I also love the fact they take care about the produce they use. Most of the meat, for example, comes from the The Ginger Pig, a butchery raising livestock in the Vale of Pickering and North York Moors. “Livestock looked after well in the field will simply taste better on the plate”.
I visited this curiously named eatery with my good friend JJ on Friday lunchtime and we were led to a diner-style booth on the ground floor.
This is important to note, as the restaurant has a basement with an off-the-scale WOW factor. This is where the more formal action takes place, the restaurant proper, as it were. The Jones Family Project is basically a clever blend of relaxed bar and intimate, more ceremonial, restaurant.
The basement space comes equipped with an open kitchen featuring a Josper charcoal oven. The spicy aroma sets the tone perfectly, as you descend the stairs.
The ground floor, has more of a brunch / lunch / top button undone vibe. Wherever you’re seated, though, there are myriad artworks and curios on display to keep you occupied. Particularly good, if one’s dining partner is running late.
To kick-off lunch JJ ordered Cornish Crab Salad (£8.75) whilst I went rather greedily for 2 starters, one of Cauliflower soup and one of smoked trout with Apple mayonnaise. So far, so thumbs up.
Since the Jones Family Project has gone to the trouble of installing a charcoal oven I cringed at not ordering a 12oz Rib Eye steak (£28.00) but I’m on a trial red-meat ban, an experimental health-kick thing. (Tedious beyond belief.)
The Loch Duart Salmon (£18.50) was a delicious alternative, excellently seasoned and generously sized. The pink salt Anya potatoes came with skins on and a rich earthy flavour. It seemed a shame to desecrate the presentation.
Our other main was free range Jerk Chicken: “It’s tasty, but could have been spicier,” says JJ. Being half Jamaican, she ought to know.
So, there you have it, decent chicken, but could have been erm…jerkier.
The side dishes of vegetables were from the “Land, Sea & Field” section of the menu and they certainly tasted as though they came from ‘untainted’ land: somehow more spinachy, tomatoey, broccoli. You get the picture.
At some point, a bottle of L’embleme Blanc house white appeared (£19.50) which rounded off the meal dreamily. Talking of booze, you might try something from JFP’s extensive cocktail menu. Old Diplomat, Angostura bitters, coffee beans, sugar (£11.00.) Or, go for broke with a Death In Shoreditch, Absinthe, Orange bitters, Champagne (£14.50.)
When it came to pudding time, JJ and I looked at each other and both our faces said ‘couldn’t eat another morsel. Coffee was duly ordered.
The verdict; A whimsical bubble of bliss. Downstairs for dates – upstairs for mates. It ain’t cheap, but neither is a good massage.
Address: The Jones Family Project, 78 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL
Tel: 020 7739 1740
Nearest tube: Old Street / Shoreditch High Street
All images used in this article credit: Simon Burrell