So I have kept this gem of a place to myself for a while (my sister chose to do the same with me so don’t be offended) but guessing you’ll all be dashing to Jones & Son now that it got a mention in this weeks’ Time Out London Magazine. My sister had said that this was right up my street and she (as always) was right.
Tucked away on a side street off Kingsland Road and appropriately sat across the road from Chow Square, this is definitely a place where you will most certainly chow down AND have the waiter moonwalk for you in the middle of your meal – oh yes, only in Dalston!
Three of us went on a Wednesday evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday and so we needed no better excuse to completely overindulge. Having an early evening booking, and it being sunny, we were one of the first to arrive at the restaurant. We were happily and enthusiastically welcomed by one brother (the other sibling was manning the bar for the evening) who sadly informed us that the menu was changing the next day so there were a few items on the menu that were no longer available. This was just as we had all spied the mega sharing main, milk fed suckling lamb (the whole shebang – chops, braised shoulder, confit belly, kidneys and heart) with rosemary jus and mint sauce. Maybe a little too much for a Wednesday night???? Well, we were starving since we had a couple of pre-dinner drinks at Cotton’s Rumshack at Boxpark.
We wasted no time ordering from this jubilant British menu. To start we shared the squid, samphire and caper butter, the potted pork with coleslaw and crackling and Devon crab with radish and grapefruit. Where to start? With the crackling obviously! Smeared with a little potted pork we were instantly hit with the finest and tastiest lard known to man with the butter on the crackling, topped with the divine shredded pork. Yes, I could feel that I may soon have a heart attack but I was ok with that. I am not big on crackling but I was ecstatic about this one. The Devon crab, made mainly with the brown meat, had been lightly seasoned, allowing us to enjoy the fiery flavour of the radish along with the delicate and sharp juice from the grapefruit. And the squid….oh, the squid. It was just perfect. I can’t think of another word but it was perfectly cooked and teamed with the oozingly dreamy caper butter and samphire. I could eat it all day, every day.
Feeling that we hadn’t larded it up enough, we ordered two steak and ale pies, a rib eye steak, macaroni cheese and some tenderstem broccoli – needed to have a balanced meal! I had the pie. The pie had been made with serious real love as you could clearly taste that bone marrow had been used to make the gravy and it was topped with a beautifully buttered pastry lid. I know a lot of people will gasp at the fact that it was just a pastry lid, and as my friend pointed out her husband would say that that meant it was not a real pie. But let me tell you, the pastry lid was large enough to compensate for it not to cover the base and sides of the dish too. It was heaven in a dish!
When my friend ordered the rib eye steak I thought she had made the wrong choice. I was wrong and she was right. My mouth is still watering thinking about it many weeks on! Accompanied with the oxtail jus, once the steak hit my tongue I had soon forgotten about my pie. I really had forgotten about it and began eating my friend’s meal. I was already full but just wanted more and more of the steak and jus. The steak was succulent, tender, full of flavour and with the powerful oxtail jus I would have happily finished it all and sat there until I was sick. It was delicious!!!!
The macaroni cheese was made to my liking. Not mushy like many macaroni cheeses I have eaten. A good ratio of sauce to pasta with an ample helping of nutmeg (both my friends thought there was little too much nutmeg). The cheese on top was crispy just to the point that the gooey cheese still came through from underneath.
After all this you would think that we would be done but we were celebrating and were being highly entertained with stories from the waiter on how his brother had met the daughter of the lead singer from The Lighthouse Family….not sure how we got told that story.
We greedily ordered the caramel tart with clotted cream AND the puffed up chocolate with raspberries, white chocolate and ice cream. Only after eating both desserts did we realise we had taken it too far. If I had to go with one it would be the caramel tart. It had a dusting of salt and was of pure delight with great craftsmanship again in creating another form of perfect pastry.
I have forgotten to mention that we teamed this meal with Jones & Sons’ very own red wine. They have this on tap and it comes in recycled bottles.
I was a little sceptical about ordering it as I thought it was just a bit of good salesmanship on the waiter’s part but I was wrong. Now, I am no wine connoisseur. I like wine (Ok, I love wine and gin) and all I can tell you is that I don’t drink merlots, sauvignon blanc or pinto grigio. The wine was light, which worked incredibly well with the heavy meal we consumed and I drank it all!!
I think what I love about this restaurant is the fact that it is not jumped up, serves meticulously delicious food and for my friends….they could flirt outrageously with the waiter!
I just hope they still have the rib eye steak with oxtail jus on the menu next time I visit. I will happily just have one course so I can fit it all in.