Much before the monotone days of the Kardashians, there were the Joneses. And as the old English idiom tells us; just about everyone was trying to keep up with them. So to those that have visited, it’ll come as no surprise that this forwarding-thinking restaurant and bar in Shoreditch shares the famous family’s name.
Located on Great Eastern Street - just a short stroll from Old Street station – The Jones Family Project sits within one of Shoreditch’s busiest areas, so to say it has a lot of competition is somewhat of an understatement. To combat this though, the brains behind the venue have designed a unique interior which marries an archetypal East London industrial décor with a stylish, modern (and homely) feel too. The ground floor acts as the main drinking space, with black wooden frame encased areas, exposed brick and a sleek bar running along the side of the room, with plenty of places to sit. (Like your tables sprouting leafy trees? You’re in luck here). The downstairs of the venue is the main restaurant space for evening guests, and feels a lot bigger than you’d expect. It has the same trendy-without-the-pretension feel as the upstairs, with a green marble-clad bar, design-style chairs and red leather booth seating. We had a great view of the restaurant, and you can see they really make use of the space; it was busy but not crowded, which is a massive bonus for any restaurant or bar in this neck of the woods.
Food and Drink
I’ll be honest here; though I usually go into any review with an open and unbiased mind (as is possible), I had pretty high expectations of the Jones Family Project’s menu, as they receive a fair bit of praise for their food offering. And I can tell you – hand on belly – it’s undoubtedly well deserved. Tasty, hearty and beautifully presented; the menu spans breakfast, lunch and dinner, fronting local produce and well-thought out flavour combinations. For starters we opted for the spiced crispy squid (£7.75) and smoked duck (£8.50); both of which were delicious and accompanied by balancing-act flavours on the plate, from lime mayonnaise with the squid to a beautiful star anise jam served with the duck. For mains, I went for the 250g rare fillet steak (£30), with a waitress-recommended belper knolle (hard cheese), and sides of truffled macaroni cheese (£4.50) and sweet harissa spiced roasted squash (£3.50). The steak was the stand out star of the meal; it was succulent, well-seasoned and real melt-in-your-mouth meat. My date on the night went for the venison dish (£21), which was served with spiced carrot purée and fondant potato; suffice to say their plate was squeaky clean by the time we’d done eating. This time of year a lot of people are holding back and not over-eating. I am categorically not one of these people; so smugly – and to finish off an almighty feast in style - I went for the cheeseboard (£7.50), with a small glass of port. If you’re a cheese fan (and I mean, a real cheese fan) – then I’d recommend you go for the board too. You certainly won't regret it.
Ambience and Clientele
The Jones Family Project is known for its multi-facing offering; it’s as much of a buzzing place for a Sunday brunch as it is a great choice for a boozy week night, or weekend dinner date. We visited on a Friday, and as expected it was busy with the Shoreditch after work crowd, couples and groups of friends. A similar-ish crowd to the Hoxton Hotel bar across the street in that there are plenty of young professionals winding down, with the big difference being the markedly lower level of pretension that you can sometimes find in your run-of-the-mill East London hangout.
As I mentioned; I had high expectations for this Shoreditch restaurant and bar already - and truthfully, they didn't disappoint. Awesome food, a nice buzz and a beautiful interior, it’s pretty hard to find fault with The Jones Family Project; so err, so I won’t.