The hustle and bustle of London felt a world away when we arrived at The Jones Family Project in Shoreditch. With trees decorated with fairy lights forming the center- piece of tables, and a New York style long bar that would be Chuck Bass’ dream, the restaurant which has been set up by a group of friends lives up to its independent ethos, adding something different to your usual dining experience.
Having acclimatized ourselves to our surroundings, we were seated in an intimate booth in the bar area upstairs. Despite being situated away from the main restaurant, this had a very relaxed atmosphere combining home comforts with a contemporary, modern edge and we were looking forward to what the rest of the evening would bring. The service throughout was very attentive and the evening started off well with a knowledgeable waiter recommending a very nice Spanish wine (Trexiadura) to complement our meal. Note to all those budding wine connoisseurs, there is also an extensive and varied wine list featuring both local and international wine with something to suit all tastes and budgets.
To start, we chose Tomato, Cheese and Risotto Cakes and Cornish Crab. Reflecting the cool vibe of the restaurant, the crab was presented in a glass jar with a layer of smooth, creamy avocado and citrus lime flavors, accompanied by a bite-sized piece of crostini, which had just the right amount of crunchiness. Similarly, the risotto cakes which were served with an almond, basil and tomato pesto were truly delicious with a crispy outside and a soft, cheesy centre the Italians would be proud of. I only wished that there could have been more on the plate!
To follow our starters we decided to go for the 350g Sirloin Steak with Peppercorn Sauce and the Creole Spice Free Range Chicken. The steak was a good size (enough to fill you up, but not too much that you end up feeling more bloated than you do on Christmas day), however the peppercorn sauce may be slightly too rich for some palettes. So distracting, that although fairly content with my choice I couldn’t help admiring the smells and look of other dishes making their way out of the kitchen, in particular the Chuck Burger. Alongside the mains we ordered Seasonal Green Vegetables with a honey soy sesame dressing and Truffle Potato Dauphinoise, however I did feel that the chef could have been a little more generous with the truffle.
Although feeling slightly full, we could not resist the temptation of Anna’s Triple Chocolate Brownie – it was Monday night after all and we were feeling indulgent. This sweet treat lived up to its name, served warm and finished with a heavenly dollop of coconut sorbet. Topped off with chewy pieces of coconut and caramel sauce, the brownie was the perfect dessert to finish our evening with.
The appealing cocktail list would certainly lure me back in for a second try yet I would note that the addition of the word “project” in the name of the restaurant is fitting, with some dishes requiring a little further refinement. Despite this, the passion of the owners to explore new ideas with their food is evident, making for a fun, night out for all.