Reviewing a restaurant can be hard when you like the people involved. To criticise a place for a lack of imagination or bland food, for instance, can be difficult when you’ve met the people who make a living from crafting the dish or promoting the place. Then again, criticism is supposed to be constructive, and any reviewer who turns a blind eye to the bad and comments only on the good due to matters of friendship is going to lack credibility, eventually.
Not that I’m skipping along arm-in-arm with the folks at The Jones Family Project, you understand. I’ve emailed them, tweeted them, and (now) met them (briefly) in person. However, it does make criticism all the harder to write. Luckily, I don’t have to really.
The Jones Family Project delivered on what they had promised at their opening party. Steak served on a stick now came large, charred, and perfectly medium rare from the depths of their 500 degree Josper Charcoal Oven. Not quite the Fred Flintstone t-bone I once witnessed in Sao Paolo, but getting close. The recommended sides of macaroni cheese and grilled sprouts – served separately – were also damn good, even though I completely missed the avocado and nuts in the latter.
A comment has to be made here on the drinks. Flawless, they really were. An amazing vanilla scented red wine, everyone’s favourite pretentious drink – a negroni – and glasses of calvados to finish. After that, I could still stand, but only just.
Now, unfortunately, I have to finish on a negative – for me and for them. In that classically English way, when asked for comment on the pudding, I nodded and replied that everything was fine. Pure Mark Corrigan. However, I lied. Sorry. Perhaps it was the friendliness of the staff and the quality of the food preceding it clouding my judgement, or perhaps just cowardice. Needless to say, the puddings weren’t great. The overly large dish of chocolate mousse and a small loaf of brownie just lacked the refinement and flavour found in the rest of the meal. It was a shame, because everything else had been of such great quality. If they work on this I’ve no doubt gluttons from the four corners of London will be trekking here for dinner, often.