11 November 2014

Jones&Sons at Trip Kitchen

Haggerston: the No Man's Land between Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. More of a 'passing through' kind of place than a real destination, it's being snapped up by property developers as the next area to throw up luxury flats. The real charm though is under the railway arches and next to the canal. Tonkotsu East's cottoned on to this and it seems as if Jones&Sons have now too.

This is Jones&Sons' second outpost - the first being up the road in Dalston - and they've taken up residency in Trip Space, a cultural hangout where you can yoga one minute and hot desk the next. Ella, Ashley and I were invited down to check it out last week and were promised great British food in a contemporary setting.

We weren't disappointed. Initial impressions were welcoming - warm light glows from the glass frontage showcasing the exposed brickwork and bustling bar within - second impressions were slightly less so as it took quite a while for us to be acknowledged but we'll be generous and put it down to opening jitters.

Onto the food and drink. There's a nice selection of draught and bottled beer (although Ashley chose Estrella) but being a girl, I headed straight for the cocktail menu and went for an easy choice of the Joan Collins - a zesty combination of gin, elderflower, lemon and fizz, a sharp but sweet boozy lemonade. Ella went for something involving egg white - I realise that's a pretty exhaustive list of potential options but for someone who's previously steered clear of any with it in, I wasn't paying much attention. Having said that, it won me over. Success.

Then it was onto the food. Jones&Sons have forgone every date night dilemma of not choosing the most expensive dish on the menu by standardising the pricing - starters are all £7, mains £11, sides are 2 for £7. And desserts? Who cares how much they cost. We were spoilt for choice and could practically have eaten one of everything on offer but waistlines and professionalism considered, we decided to swap and share.

First up, my salmon tartare. Served with nice crisp toasts (more please though), the perfectly diced fish was achingly good. Clean flavours were complemented by dill and capers, and the slided cucumber haphazardly presented on top added a good bit of crunch. Ashley had the battered courgette flower with goats curd and tomato - I'm a total fiend for goats cheese and the classic combination of textures on the plate were pulled off well with the tart tomatoes cutting through the smooth, salty curd and the crisp batter. My only gripe would be that £7 seems a little steep for just one stem. Ella's grilled squid with morcilla and parsley crumb was stand out though; the tender seafood griddled rather than deep fried to maintain a nice bounce whilst the meaty sausage crumb added another level of flavour. This I'd order again. And again.

Onto the mains. Ashley and I both had the Butcher's steak with Bearnaise. More commonly known as 'Hanger steak', it's from the diaphragm of the cow and one of those cuts that are having a resurgence in popularity. I like my steaks so rare it's almost still mooing, this was cooked to perfection and served with the moreish Bearnaise for dipping. Ella went for the lamb belly with lentils and beetroot (and I failed to get a snap) but she declared it a masterpiece so further props right here. Beefing up our mains, we shared two sides between us - the mac and cheese, obviously (not bad), and the kale (underseasoned and a bit soggy) - and discussed whether the standardised pricing works for mains or not.

Of course, we had to continue with little needed but much wanted desserts - I went for the treacle tart with clotted cream and Ash and Ella went for the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. Nicely executed, if widely varying in portion control, but I probably would have gone for something chocolatey or fruity given the opportunity seeing as I could now practically roll myself out of the restaurant.

Jones&Sons is a great little place that's unassuming, friendly and open all day so you can start and finish the day (in a food coma) in one laidback location. The staff are really friendly, if a little rushed off their feet when busy, but always on hand to persuade you that yes, you really do need that last bite of saccharine sweetness. Four out of five from me.

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