There are some combinations that just work - coffee and cigarettes, jeans and a nice top, summertime day drinking followed by an early-evening nap. Another tried and tested combo is that of East London and the chic and cheerful restaurant. One eatery that stands as the thriving embodiment of this is Dalston’s Jones & Sons. Having hopped around the area since 2013, its found a happy home just behind Kingsland Road, and we went down to see what else they’re mixing up.
Venue & Atmosphere
Ensconced at the far end of the Stamford Works courtyard, Jones & Sons has found the balance between rustic and refined. The interiors boast exposed pipes and industrial lighting fixtures alongside mis-matched leathers, dark woods and a giant marble bar. There’s a calm and relaxed atmosphere to the location, with a mixture of diners and drinkers filling up a few tables inside and out. It’s been a steamy day on the streets of Dalston, offering the perfect excuse for going al fresco in the courtyard, and playing a few rounds of ‘post-punk sextet or neo-jazz arkestra’ with the musicians coming and going from the neighbouring rehearsal studios.
Food and Drink
If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, take note that cocktails are £5 all night. Fronting ingredients from house-smoked rum to strawberry green tea-infused vodka, they’ve got quite the selection to choose from. My friend is immediately taken by the Pisco Iced Tea (usually £8), which mixes pisco, chamomile tea, honey, lemon and mint, and will appeal as much to mojito-lovers as it will to those who appreciate a really good lemon vinaigrette. As for my choice of the Cherry Negroni (usually £8.50), you could easily knock back five of these without a wince, as the candy sweetness of the cherry adds some serious chug-ability to the traditional negroni mix.
Accompanied by a bottle of their house white, the Saint Laurend Collection Privee (£20), we get cracking on the starters. The steak tartare (£11) sees rich rare beef so soft you can almost spread it across the goose fat grilled sourdough slices, while the brown and white devon crab with grapefruit, radish and dill (£8) offers a great example of Jones & Sons daring but intelligent flavour arrangements. Next up is the honey miso cod (£17) and the pistachio-crumbed pork fillet (£18). The pork is soft and juicy, the rhubarb and cider jus unleashing the full nuttiness of the pistachio. The cod is a real winner though; sweet, salty and surrounded by a lake of savoury miso, I have to fight the desire to upend the entire plate and slurp it down like leftover cereal milk.
Dessert proves a very easy decision for me. For the past half decade I have eaten peanut butter and banana on toast for breakfast almost every morning, and consider all instances of the two a subject for my specialist consideration. I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that Jones & Sons’ banana custard tart with peanut butter ice cream (£7) was a stand out example. Simple but phenomenally executed, it’s full marks all round for creaminess, peanut butter to banana ratio and structural integrity, with bonus points for scattering a few banana chips around the place to give it that good crunch. A surprise addition to the pudding menu tonight is the roast peaches with mascarpone, flaked almonds and basil (£7). None too sweet, the dish acts almost like dessert salad, perfumed by the fragrant basil sprigs, it’s yet another example of the kind of flavour sorcery that Jones & Sons are nailing with every plate.
For crafty plates of food in a casual but refined setting, Jones & Sons has got you covered. Whether you’re popping in for some cocktails and a catch up, or going the distance with a full three courses, you’ll be surprised at every turn by the way these guys weave together their ingredients.