The Jones Family Project is one of my favourite East London restaurants. Easily accessible via either Old Street Tube or Liverpool Street station, you’re sure of a warm welcome by the friendly team behind either of the two bars or in the restaurant.
The restaurant is a bit like Dr Who’s Tardis. The exterior is somewhat deceptive, as it is actually quite large, with both a bar and dining area upstairs and a second bar and larger dining area in the downstairs basement, which is particularly cosy and inviting in the autumn and winter months.
The name gives away the fact that this is very much a family-run business, with husband and wife team Duncan and Anna Watts, along with long-term friend and business partner Amet Joshi at the helm.
The Jones Family Project is also one of my go to places to pop in for a drink with a friend at lunchtime, during the afternoon or evening, as they have a talented and creative team behind the two bars who are always coming up with new and innovative cocktails, and a cocktail list that changes seasonally but with the most popular still there.
When it comes to the menu, I must have tried most of the dishes at one time or another, however, it does change on a seasonal basis with tried and trusted favourites remaining, whilst other new dishes are added to go with the time of the year and availability. So in the summer, expect to see more salads and lighter seafood dishes and desserts such as a Lime Avocado Cheesecake and Coconut Mousse with mango, whilst in the winter there are more meat dishes and those wonderful comfort food desserts, such as Anna’s Triple Chocolate Brownie and a Treacle Sponge Pudding!
Although the menu is varied and pretty much offers something for everyone, including those of you with special dietary needs with their gluten free menu which is accredited by Coeliac UK, to many people, The Jones Family Project is known for its great quality steaks cooked in their Josper charcoal oven. The meat is sourced from their North Yorkshire farmer and butcher, The Ginger Pig, renowned for their quality and care. Personally, I like the 250g Fillet Steak for its tenderness, but they also serve a 350g Rib Eye, a 250g Sirloin and a 300g 55-day aged Rump Steak. And if there are a couple of you and you like to share, then go for the Prime Rib, Porterhouse or Chateaubriand which is served sliced on a large wooden board.
The Jones Family Project is also well-known for their succulent burgers and in particular their Longhorn Burger with slow cooked oxtail, which is served with oxtail mayo, a sesame pickle brioche and either triple cooked chips or fries.
When it comes to side dishes, I would thoroughly recommend a dish of their superb Truffle Macaroni Cheese – it’s got to be one of the best mac ‘n cheeses in Town, available as a main meal or as a smaller side dish.
If however you are looking for a lighter lunch, then the special Brunch & Lunch menu offers a wide selection. I love their Eggs Benedict which you can have either with smoked salmon (my favourite), spinach or Ginger Pig bacon.
One thing I have not tried however, is the popular Jones Family Project Sunday Roast, which they have also become known for. A friend of mine goes fairly regularly and tells me it makes for a wonderful family Sunday out and is particularly popular in the cooler months of the year, with its cosy atmosphere.
I have to say, I am rather partial to a glass of wine or two with my meal, particularly a nice Pinot Noir or Rioja and am happy to report that The Jones Family Project has a good selection of over 100 quality wines from around the world, ranging from a reasonable £21.50 a bottle upwards. Although I probably won’t be going for the magnum of Rioja San Vicente at £195! I’ll also let you into a little secret – ask for the ‘Little Black Book’ – which includes come rather unusual bottles which have a limited supply, for those in the know, but don’t tell too many people. The other thing I like is the fact that at least 30 of the wines are also available by the glass.
Known for its creative and innovative pop-ups, The Jones Family Project created an ‘Around The World In Whiskies’ pop-up last autumn.
The restaurant’s downstairs pop-up area adjacent to the bar was transformed into a retro-style travel agency bar offering whisky and whiskey flights to drinkers and diners alike, replacing the popular Vinyl and Cocktail pop-up from the year before. Previous pop-ups have included a 1970s pop-up dining experience, where guests were encouraged to get decked out in their finest disco outfits and enjoy a feast of epic proportions, and a Burgers and Bourbon pop-up, featuring some of the finest Kentucky bourbons from Evan Williams, Kentucky’s number one distiller.
Special events in the culinary calendar – Burns Night in January
The restaurant is also known for the special events it holds to mark notable dates in the culinary calendar. In January they offer a special 3-course Burns Night meal for under £40 or you can add paired whiskies for a little bit more. Highlights include the House Cured Pollock in spiced rum and ruby frost apple, followed by a delicious Rack of Wild Venison with savoy cabbage, haggis, black pudding and roasted neeps. You can then round off your meal with a choice of either a Layered Cranachan, made with berries, shortbread, whisky cream, toasted almonds and oats or opt for the Isle of Mull Cheddar served with homemade chutney and oat cakes.
Thanksgiving in November
The Jones Family Project always creates an enticing Thanksgiving Day menu each November, which is available over the Thanksgiving weekend. Last year they partnered with Wild Turkey Bourbon to create three special Thanksgiving cocktails named after iconic American songs, celebrating four of the classic American harvest fruits – apples, blueberries, grapes and cranberries.
Highlights of the three-course menu include a Cream of Squash Soup, topped with truffle shavings and pumpkin seeds. The traditional Roast Turkey is accompanied with all the tasty trimmings of stuffing, buttermilk mash, greens, Brussels sprouts, garlic buttered breadcrumbs, cranberry sauce and of course lots of gravy. And depending on whether you come from the North or South, there is a choice of Anna’s Pumpkin Pie or Lizzy’s Pecan Pie topped with nougat and cranberries for dessert.
In May 2018, the owners opened a sister restaurant – The Jones Family Kitchen – in Eccleston Yards in Belgravia, which offers a similar menu and cocktail list but with a completely different ambience and large terrace, making it the perfect summer retreat.
The Jones Family Project, 78 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3JL, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7739 1740
Located in Shoreditch opposite the Hoxton Hotel on Great Eastern Street, The Jones Family Project is a short 5-minute walk from Old Street Tube station on the Northern Line and a 10-minute walk from Liverpool Street Tube and mainline station. The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from midday to midnight, serving lunch from midday to 5:00pm and dinner from 6:00pm to 10:30pm. On Sunday the restaurant is open from midday to 6:00pm. The Bar is open Monday to Saturday from 11:00am to midnight and on Sunday from midday to 6:00pm.
Type of Restaurant: British Steak Restaurant
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Be sure to try one of the creative cocktails before you sit down to eat, you’ll be in for a real treat.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle Magazine, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs by Simon Burrell