The Jones Family Project is a newly revamped all-day dining spot just off Old Street. We were lucky enough to snag a spot for the soft open at 50% off food and headed down there to check it out. It’s a beautiful space with a subdued elegant décor that still showcases its character and quirks. The staff are friendly and welcoming from the get go and you could easily see this being a place to while away many an hour. Cocktails are well priced at £7.50-9 (and well-made!) although the food suffers a bit on value for money with starters averaging around £10 and mains in the £20-25 range.
Honestly, meet at the bar on the street level. It’s a great space filled with booths so you can have a cosy chat while you wait. Drinks can be ordered at the bar or you can enjoy table service and the staff will efficiently track you as you go so you can pay at the end of your meal for everything.
The only thing that seemed missing was a cloak room as the limited floor space means the area could quickly get clogged up with winter coats and bags.
How good were the drinks?
Overall, I was pretty happy with the cocktails. Aaron, the bartender, suggested a whiskey sour when pressed for a whiskey cocktail recommendation despite being allergic to eggs. I can’t help but admire the dedication to the job and I give him credit for making an excellent sour including tracing a design in egg yolk through the foam. I’ve seen coffee art, but this is the first time I’ve experienced cocktail art!
While there were a few hiccups (salt rim instead of a sugar rim) they were quickly rectified and my party were easily persuaded for a second round despite our earlier protests. The old fashioned was strong but balanced and the cucumber prosecco combination seemed to be a winner with the girls.
Food any good?
For the most part, it is although there were some great hits and some pretty poor misses. The highlights were the chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in crispy bacon, scrambled duck eggs topped with belper knolle cheese, the 350g rib-eye, and the truffled mac’n’cheese. Each dish had bold yet balanced flavours and were executed and presented with style. I’m sure I could easily make a meal or two out of those dates alone and the light truffle notes on the mac’n’cheese were tantalising rather than overpowering as often happens in such a rich dish. I also enjoyed the venison with its rich sweet sauce (although the whole pomegranate kernels were just odd) but it wasn’t a hit with the rest of the group.
The menu items that fell flat on the whole weren’t bad but rather failed in value for money (the charcuterie board), any distinctive flavour (the burrata and baked salmon), or in executive (the burger). The burger was my biggest regret as we were warned it was cooked well done (in order to cook the oxtail stock used) but it ended up too dry overall. Perhaps if we had got the cheese it may have been okay, but overall it’s not up to scratch as far as burgers go (and I’ll be the first to admit I have high standards for a good burger). I think a sauce would definitely knock it up another couple of levels and hopefully the chefs can tweak it a bit as the patty was tasty despite the slightly strange shredded meat texture.
And as for dessert, all I can say is that Anna’s Triple Chocolate Brownie was mind-blowing. I’d come back for an old fashioned and a brownie any day. End of story.
A quick note on Belper Knolle – a cheese that features prominently on the JFP menu. It’s a hard Swiss matured cheese flavoured with salt and garlic and coated in black pepper. Served as scraped flakes, it’s a great topping to a variety of foods from steak to duck eggs and even as a light snack on its own. JFP is the only restaurant that serves it to my knowledge but you can also buy it from a stall in Borough Market.
Worth the dosh?
At soft open prices, definitely. If we were paying full price, you’d expect to shell out around £40 for a 3 course meal which is a bit pricey given the area but not wholly unreasonable for London. When you add in the atmosphere and excellent staff, it tips it into the “worth it” category but just barely. Unfortunately I’ve got to compare it to Foxlow which just pips it on value for money.
As a bar, I’d definitely recommend it as a good place for a drink before a night out in Hoxton/Shoreditch. In addition, they serve breakfast and lunch and the manager was quite happy to welcome one of our party back to spend the day studying and snacking without any pressure to leave. In fact, one of the corners in the bar is designed as a desk by the window for just that purpose. That might just become my office away from home.