Trip Space, a multi-functional cultural space beneath the railway arches of Haggerston have played host to a seriously eclectic array of events and activities covering everything from Contemporary Choreography and Acro Yoga through to Contact Improvisation though to my knowledge, never have their permanent offerings tasted so good.
After brief flirtations with pop-ups such as sexy Mexican street food stalwarts Breddos Tacos, Trip Space have finally gone and got themselves some full-timers in the shape of ‘Jones and Sons’ restaurant & cocktail bar.
Opening their first location in 2013; Jones and Sons (headed up by Andy Jones, he of Cat and Mutton management East-End infamy) are seasonal, British and truly creative when it comes to ingredient matching. Whilst their original restaurant on Arcola Street falls on the higher-end of the dining spectrum, their Trip Space residency re-imagines the menu as an affordable, deli-style experience with starters coming in at 7 quid and mains at 11. The greatest thing about this concept? The drop in price has not seen a decrease in the quality of ingredients… nice one Andy!
The railway arch itself is cosy, dimly lit and makes genius use of the space; it manages to fit 60 covers, a kitchen and a substantial bar into what, admittedly, is not the largest of areas without making the diner feel claustrophobic- no mean feat.
Liquid refreshment comes in the form of craft beers, a small yet substantial wine list and a magnum opus of a cocktail list; something they are known for at their other location and I’m pleased to see they’ve kept on here. Special recommendation to the multi-taste bud tingling ‘Grey Lady’, a frothy tangy cloud on which to send packing the worries of the working week.
At the end of the day, I’m here for the food so without any further ado, here’s the 411.
My dining companion ordered herself the Salmon Tartare, a cooling, velveteen amuse-bouche of a fish-dish that sat just so between it’s accompanying flavours of dill and cucumber. As delicious as it was, we were both in agreement that the accolade of top dog in the starter world had to go to mine- an absolutely stunning plate of Braised Pigs Cheeks with creamy pureed parsnip and an apple reduction. To put into words how much I adored this dish, let me just say this. If those Pig Cheeks asked me to sign over the deeds to my house to them, I would do it. If they asked me to rob a bank and turn all the spoils over to them, I would do it. If they kidnapped me and held me hostage for years, I would be a candidate for Stockholm Syndrome before they’d even dead-bolted the first door. If this seems over-dramatic then quite frankly, it’s only because you haven’t tried them yet.
With the bar set high, we moved into the main courses. For my dinner date, a huge bowl of steamed mussels with fatty lardons and lashings of garlic-infused cider- this had the mouth feel of a deconstructed surf ‘n’ turf in broth form and was utterly delectable. Once again though, Smuggins over here made the top pick, bagging myself a crispy, fatty Confit Lamb Belly with lentils, beetroot and a tart, mouth-puckering goat curd. An absolutely journey of the senses, this was to be the most original dish to be put before us that evening and a true culinary experience.
Jones and Sons offer a fine-looking selection of sides from mac’n’cheese to a crispy, fluffy portion of fries but we just shared a little bowl of fresh kale, not wanting to detract from the mouth-madness happening over in the mains.
The portions may not look the largest but the rich flavours ensure you will be more than satisfied come puddings and these particular gluttons couldn’t quite handle any of the more well-endowed desserts on offer. Sharing an ample bowl of Blood Orange sorbet brought the meal to a perfect end as, with fond memories of braised meats, we rolled ourselves gently to the car.
Offering a small but perfectly rounded menu allows Jones and Sons to do what they do and do it exquisitely. With a fantastic sounding weekend brunch menu on offer for the resident yogis and a best of British Sunday roast on the cards, Jones and Sons have a solid identity with an inviting personality. Don’t make the mistake of writing this one off as a fly-by-night hipster puff joint; the service is friendly & well-timed, the menu considered & creative- most importantly, the food stands up to its promise and I’m not just talking about the pig cheeks.
Mark my words, these guys know exactly what they’re doing and will stand the test of time as more exotic culinary fads fall by the wayside.