For all the restaurants popping up in Shoreditch over the past few years, after it’s rise as a see and be seen destination, The Jones Family Project has to be one of my favourites. In fact I’m sure I haven’t encountered a restaurant so unique, inviting and friendly here in the capital for a very long time.
The Jones Family Project is an independent restaurant just a few minutes from Old Street Station, which specialises in the perfecting and serving of meat. All their varying forms of cow, pig, chicken and venison are cooked in their Josper charcoal oven, which gives it a unique, smoky flavour. Although it’s the star feature of their menu, there’s a lot more to this place than just meat.
On arrival, you instantly feel like you’ve walked into an independent treasure, a million miles away from the mass tangle of chain restaurants that litter almost every busy street in London. Upstairs is their bar (by night) and coffee shop (by day). We visited in the evening when a throng of lively Londoners were enjoying a cocktail or a well-earned glass of wine, but I could imagine the entrepreneurial crowd of Shoreditch enjoying a flat white whilst tapping away on their MacBooks, tucked into one of the cosy booths in the afternoons. The bar has rotating fixtures, which during the day display their range of teas and coffees, but when the clock strikes after-work drinks, twists to reveal an extensive range of spirits. Very smart.
Downstairs was their spacious restaurant, with lime green furnishings and tall slim plants framing the expansive room. It also has a chic corner area, which can be booked for private parties or gatherings. Every few weeks the décor here changes, often reflecting the seasons, so expect a beach scene in summer and twinkly fairy lights at Christmas.
The food was standout. Our host strongly suggested the steaks, being Jones’s specialty so we of course obliged, but not before sharing two delicious starters; the risotto cakes with tomato and basil oil and the Cornish crab and avocado on crostini thins. Then came the rib-eyes which were in a word, huge. They were cooked exactly as requested, the tender meat was plump and bloody, with a delicious blackened outer crust. All the sides on the menu looked extremely tempting and they even have a dedicated potato menu, which I loved. We eventually settled for thick-cut chips, cheesy croquettes and seasonal veg in a honey & soy glaze. It was a great balance. A glass of Rioja for me and a Sav Blanc for my friend finished off the meal, chosen from their easy-to-navigate wine menu.
They tell us everything we want to hear about our meat nowadays; it’s locally sourced and supplied by farmers that they know and trust. Happy cows make for happy diners. The service was also excellent. The staff were on the ball and extremely attentive. Despite our corner table, we never felt forgotten about but also never pestered and the staff didn’t flinch when I asked to take the remaining steak away for my dogs.
The vibe is laid-back and very accepting for Shoreditch. Whether you’re bearded and buttoned up or in your work suit and tie, everyone is equally welcome here; there’s a notable lack of pretention.
Admittedly Jones Restaurant isn’t for veggies or vegans but if you like a great cut of meat and a perfectly-cooked steak then it’s not to be missed. It really delights me to find an independent restaurant that seems to have got everything so right. There’s a time and a place for the popular steak restaurant chains but I can’t think of any time or any place where I wouldn’t want to enjoy a meal at The Jones Family Project.