Welcome to a new series of Sunday roast reviews. We’re striving to find London’s Sunday best, rating everything from the meat and the veg to the Yorkshires and the roasties along the way. Those we deem worthy will be added to our selection of London’s best Sunday roasts. Have any tip-offs for us? Leave a note in the comments below, or email email@example.com.
Jones & Sons opened on Dalston’s Arcola Street in the summer of 2013. As well as roasts, it serves dinner daily and long brunches on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a firm focus on British produce — including a fair bit of chargrilled meat — and cocktails are a big part of the drinks list, while table service all evening makes it a more relaxing proposition than many of the nearby bars. Jones & Sons is also currently in residence at Trip Space down in Haggerston, and is set to stay until further notice. We haven’t actually tried the roast at this location, but are told that it serves exactly the same menu.
An industrial ex-warehouse space is kept deliberately minimalist. Some banquette seating hugs the white walls, while tables and chairs are otherwise lined-up in neat rows as if at some kind of function — there’s definitely a feeling of impermanence about it. A semi-open kitchen is easily the room’s most pertinent — and redeeming — feature. As tables fill up, the room becomes pleasantly buzzy, but don’t expect anything close to the environs of a cosy pub.
This is what it’s all about, and from the outset it’s clear to see the care and attention to detail which the Jones & Sons team puts into its roasts. The menu offers beef, lamb, pork and a whole roast chicken (for 3-4 to share), as well as a weekly-changing vegetarian pie. They range in price from £13 for the veggie option to £16 for the beef and lamb. The chicken to share is £38.
The meat ★★★★★
We tried the beef (topside of Herefordshire-breed cattle) and the lamb (milk-fed, organic from north Wales). Both meats are of excellent quality: the beef is pleasingly lean and tender and served vividly rare as per our request; the lamb is strongly flavoured and soft to the bite with some, but not too much, of the tasty fat.
The veg ★★★★☆
Both roasts come with cavolo nero, a few roasted parsnips and quite a lot of carrots. They’re cooked well (rather than well cooked), with good flavour and plenty of bite.
The roast potatoes ★★★★☆
Impressively crisp on the outside, we suspect these bad boys have been at least double cooked. We’ve seen far fluffier centres in our time, but it’s a pretty good show.
The Yorkshire puds ★★★★☆
Yorkshires come as standard with all the roasts here, which we approve of. They’re generously sized and pretty impressive but slightly drier (maybe from being kept warm?) than would be ideal, which is all that’s holding them back from a top score.
The gravy and condiments ★★★★☆
Our perfect roasts would come with different gravies for different meats, but we appear to get a generic offering (a very nice one at that) for both the lamb and beef. We’re given a decent amount, but also offered extra half-way through. Nice touch. The beef gets extra points for coming with a large ramekin of fiery, homemade horseradish cream.
Roasts aside, there’s some very good cooking going on at Jones & Sons, including an impressive starter of plump scallops with crispy bacon, and a smoky venison carpaccio. A dark chocolate and caramel tart similar to millionaire's shortbread is a pleasing pud. We can also vouch for the horseradish-laced Bloody Marys, which are good value at £6.50. Beer options include a few Meantime numbers on tap and other London brews in bottle. House wine starts at £16. Super-friendly and efficient service is a highlight.
A great Sunday roast offering, which we’d return to time and time again. Apart from minor niggles, the less-than-cosy atmosphere is the only real drawback. Given how good it is, we’ve added it to our ever-growing and evolving list of London’s Best Sunday Roasts.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
Jones & Sons, 23-27 Arcola Street, E8 2DJ | roasts served 1-5pm
See our ultimate guide to London’s Best Sunday Roasts: Rated And Mapped. Or for more pub action, check out our microsite dedicated to the best pubs in London, selected by area.
We’re working on a round-up of London’s best vegetarian roasts. If you have any suggestions for us, please leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, see our sizeable selection of vegetarian restaurant reviews.