With an acute attention to detail in both the restaurant’s environment and the food itself, The Jones Family Project is an enticing venue, and one that London foodies should experience. Immediately.
Located directly opposite the Hoxton Hotel on the vibrant Great Eastern Street, The Jones Family Project boasts an unassuming exterior, fitting in very well with the understatedly cool buildings that seem to frequent Shoreditch. As you enter, the upstairs bar is immediately visible and hints at the mischief that must take place on a late Friday or Saturday night. Breakfast and lunch is also served up here, providing a more casual setting for those who want a quick meal.
The stairs opposite the entrance lead you down to the restaurant and, led by one of the extremely friendly staff, you’ll be met with a dining area that is as diverse as it is interesting. Tables vary in privacy, and as a result, you can play the role of the peacock on the elevated stage area (which changes theme regularly) or enjoy a cosy meal with a lover in one of the individual booths - complete with lavish, deep-buttoned leather. Certain areas of the restaurant can also be sectioned off, courtesy of the glass-panelled sliding doors, adding another level of privacy and furthering the diverse nature of the restaurant’s layout.
No matter where you are seated, the restaurant is a true joy to be in - the lighting is intimate and warm, creating a surprising cosiness when you consider the large, sprawling nature of the restaurant. The exposed ceiling adds an industrial air to the otherwise refined décor, lending a rugged edge to what is a very carefully thought out, perfectly formed environment. The materials used here are top quality; the muted tiles which line the bar, the sturdy wooden tables, the exposed brickwork throughout, it all adds up to create a venue that is as enjoyable to look at as it is to sit in.
This is without doubt a trendy place, so expect to see plenty of well-heeled, exuberant twenty or thirty-somethings who know how to have a good time. Couples will also be prominent given the intimacy of the place, and the odd larger group will round off a varied clientele of people who are looking for great food and drink in unpretentious surroundings.
The common theme throughout the restaurant is diversity, and this is no different when it comes to the food. The menu’s broad range covers a wide variety of foods that will appeal to those who prefer subtle tastes as much as those who like strong, powerful flavours which dominate the plate.
The duck egg scramble (£7.50) is one of the aforementioned subtle dishes and, presented in a dark ceramic bowl, it is simple but very effective indeed. The egg itself boasts a soft, fluffy texture which is contrasted by the crisp of the two toasted breadsticks that accompany it. The best bits of all are the shavings of Belber Knolle cheese which lie on top. A matured hard cheese from Switzerland, the Belber Knolle is flavoured with black pepper, Himalayan salt and a smattering of garlic, and as it melts into the delicate egg it adds an intense flavour that really brings the dish to life and further separates it from your everyday scrambled egg on toast.
Another stand-out starter is the crispy involtini of aubergine with mascarpone and herbs (£6.50/£12.50); a true delight for the tastebuds, it’s baked to perfection, the crunchy breadcrumbs providing the necessary texture, with the tomato chilli jam giving a welcome zing against the indulgent centre.
It’s difficult to categorize the food served at The Jones Family Project, but it is clear that there is a focus on tip-top ingredients, which in-turn are used to create classic dishes that are infused with modern touches throughout. Fish and vegetarian dishes are well represented here, with baked salmon (£18.50), steamed hake (£17.50) and an expertly crafted roast vegetable dish complete with a bean and plum sauce (£13.50) being particular highlights. An alternative to a traditional steak, the venison (£18.50) comes served with parsnip puree, red wine and pomegranate sauce, giving a delightfully fruity twist to an otherwise age-old dish.
The steaks at The Jones Family Project will blow your mind. Sourced from the acclaimed Ginger Pig farm in North Yorkshire, the beef is hung for a minimum of 28 days, ensuring the natural flavour and tenderisation of the meat is at its peak. Cooked on a Josper Charcoal Oven - which is essentially a very fancy closed barbeque – these steaks are prepped and executed to perfection and will have you wondering what you have been doing with your life. After reconsidering your existence, the second bite of the rib eye steak (£29) will bring you back down to Earth into a relaxed state of contentment and joy at the immaculate flavours of the beef. Each and every mouthful is as unique as the one before, and you will find yourself pausing after every bite; it really is that good. Cooked to medium-rare perfection, the rib eye is a taste sensation; juicy, tender and large at 12oz, you definitely get your money’s worth.
Although perhaps an unlikely combination, the truffled macaroni cheese (£3.50) serves as a wonderful accompaniment to the steak. The delicacy of the creamy sauce and the crisp of the melted cheese on top complements the strong meaty steak flavours, and any hesitations you might have about the two will be immediately forgotten after you sample them together.
If you still have any room left after mains, why not gorge on the wonderfully evil triple chocolate brownie? Complete with a silky vanilla bean ice cream scoop and a splattering of salted caramel sauce, it is all too likely that this dessert will push you over the edge and you may even find yourself skipping breakfast the next day as a result. Other options include a lemon and greek yogurt pudding (£5), an orange tart (£5) and the olive oil chocolate mousse (£5), which features crushed cookie pieces and crunchy honeycomb; a very satisfying ending indeed.
As you would expect from a restaurant that has clearly gone to extreme lengths to ensure quality and variation throughout, the drinks list is expansive and impresses on multiple levels. The cocktails (£8/£10) include unusual variations of tried and tested classics - lavender mojitos, orange-infused martinis etc - as well as their own creations, with highlights including Mexican Heat; a red chilli and mango juice blended tequila concoction. There is also a great range of red and white wines to suit your chosen dish - whether that be meat or fish – and, if the occasion causes for celebration then the champagne list will not fail to impress.
The Last Word
A relaxed, friendly and welcoming experience, The Jones Family Project is a truly enjoyable place to be. While it’s hard to turn down many of the dishes that make up the inventive, well-balanced menu, it is the steaks that truly shine here and after devouring one you will be counting the days until you go back.