One of the best things about food blogging is meeting the hardworking and passionate people behind some of the amazing restaurants we dine in.
Anna (one third of the team behind The Jones Family Project) and I had exchanged a dozen Instagram messages after our first visit to their Shoreditch branch. I was raving about their food and she complimented me on my photographs. So it was a genuine pleasure to finally put a face to the name and meet her along with her business partners Duncan and Amit in their newest outpost – The Jones Family Kitchen, located in Belgravia just minutes from London Victoria rail station and Victoria Coach Station.
Over a cocktail or two that included the blush-pink The Dragon Fruit (Silent Pool Gin, Belsazar Rose, Strawberry Purée, Pineapple Juice, Lemon Juice, Rose and Honey Syrup, Egg White) and the sophisticated Lost Negroni (Botanist Gin, Campari, house blend of Italian Bitters and Vermouth), Anna and Duncan gave us a bit of an insight into the vision and ethos behind the Jones collection of restaurants. They were the most relaxed, down-to-earth and fun people and that clearly reflects in the experience they offer to their customer. You can just feel the love and passion for good food and good times radiating from the team.
Talking about Jones Belgravia branch, the new place is impressive. Occupying a spacious corner unit, it is one of the first residents of the newly redeveloped Eccleston Yards, a former electric power station.
The space, like its owners, has a relaxed and informal vibe. Unlike the Shoreditch counterpart, this restaurant is all on the same level. The full height windows make it brightly lit, whilst latticed screens define each area yet unify it visually. Duncan is behind the eclectic interior design and he, alongside the team, has chosen most of the details and fabrics, including the quirky artworks you see on the walls. The Jones Family Kitchen is a restaurant, lounge and cocktail bar all rolled into one and the interiors reflect that versatility.
Onto the food: from the menu, we ploughed through a parade of dishes. From the Starters and Nibbles section, first up were the Seared Scallops, Cauliflower, Wild Garlic Gremolata. The scallops were buttery and light, seared to perfection. The creamy cauliflower mousse was just divine. Cauliflower is one of my least favourite vegetables so it’s hard to believe something so delicious can be made out of it.
We were almost about to skip the Cider Cooked Octopus, Lentil & Herb Dressing but so glad we didn’t; it was a glorious piece of octopus, perched on a bed of zesty, smoky heap of lentils. The flesh was sweet, tender and deliciously charred, humming with those oh-so-good smoky flavours and a green, herby oil to zhuzh it all up. Everything worked beautifully on the plate.
Next up were the Cheese Croquettes, Oxtail Mayo. The croquettes themselves had a soft and crunchy exterior, encasing a gooey and subtle cheesy middle. But it was the Oxtail Mayo that was the scene stealer. For the first time, a dip took centre stage and the croquette seemed to work around it. It was pow-wow stuff and I wish they would sell it separately!
Kris’ favourite was the Jones Beef Tartare, Truffle Emulsion, Crispy Onion & Beef Dripping Bread. The beef was of the best quality and although it arrived pre-marinated rather than mixed on the table, it still felt fresh and packed a punch.
All our starters rocked and I would recommend ordering the whole assortment if you can. If you miss any, you will regret it.
For our mains, our focus shifted to the Josper-grilled steaks. The meat here is supplied by Ginger Pig butchers and the chef in charge of scorching these hunky beauties is Oliver Pollard (who earned his stripes from Smokestack, Marcus Wareing and Barrafina) so you are guaranteed to get the best.
We tried the 350g Rib Eye (both pork and beef versions), both cooked with precision and outstanding, but you already knew that! For my steak sauce, instead of ordering my usual Béarnaise, I decided to try their homemade Cafe de Paris butter. Boy oh boy! Alongside the oxtail mayo, this is probably the other thing they should sell by the jar!
From the sides, special mention to the Brown Crab Potatoes, which we loved. The spuds were thoughtfully seasoned, with the crab meat imparting a mild, salty flavour of the sea. So, in effect, the combination of Earth and Sea in one bowl.
However, when ordering a steak, I would recommend ordering a dish like dauphinoise or mash and trying the roasties on their own, as they deserve their own podium rather than to be a supporting act.
The least expected and surprise winner on the table was the Charred Hispi Cabbage, Beef Drippings. Hispi is an ingredient that is very trendy at the moment, but what we didn’t know was how well it went with the meat.
Prices are very reasonable given the upmarket location, quality of ingredients and the seasoned cooking.
So there you go, another winning meal from one of our all-time favourite restaurants. Working in Chelsea, I am pleased I have a Jones Family restaurant nearer to me now so I don’t have to schlep to Shoreditch. The food, once again, scored highly with us and should they open a third one (nudge nudge, wink wink), you can count on us to be there!
But for now, all our foodie cravings terminate at Victoria, all change please!
Location : 7-8 Eccleston Yard, Belgravia, London SW1W 9NF
More information can be found here.