If like me you’ve walked past The Family Jones Project near Old Street but never popped in, I’m telling you now: Pop in.
This basement lair is where I devoured one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever in London.
From street level the humble eatery is unsuspecting, you might mistake it for a basic coffee shop.
But walking downstairs or taking the lift – which displays a note telling you you have 17 seconds to make love during the one-floor descent – you arrive in a smart eatery where everything is on point, from the music to the slick interior design.
It was raining outside but my friend Clare and I were enveloped downstairs in a state of ignorant bliss.
Sat in a lipstick-red booth close to the bar, we got stuck into the menus.
Given it was 3 o’clock- my favourite time to lunch on Sundays after a night of dancing on the Saturday – we were both ready to dine.
To start, given the dismal weather outside, Clare opted for a warming honey roast kale and swede soup while I swung for the salt and pepper squid.
The thick-textured, creamy soup was lovely and homely, while the squid was lightly battered and succulent.
The seafood platter was topped with a bed of rocket and chunks of watermelon, which added a refreshing splash of colour.
To wash it down, we opted for some ox-blood red Cotes Du Rhone. The Jones Family Project has a great wine selection, with many pricier bottles available to try via Coravin.
When it came to mains, Clare stuck to the Sunday lunch menu, following up her soup with salmon.
Meanwhile, after a night of dancing, I fancied a steak to bring me back to life. The waiter recommended a side dish, so I plumped for some spinach.
Looking around the restaurant it had a great feel.
Large groups of diners were nattering away on tables closer to the kitchen, while smaller groups and couples stayed snug in the booths next to us.
Service was swift and before we knew it our next course had arrived.
Clare’s salmon dish was mighty impressive, with a giant Yorkshire pudding propped up with a parsnip, two Brussels sprouts, potatoes and carrots. A creamy sauce topped off the seductive assortment.
Meanwhile, my meaty steak almost filled the plate – my knife in hand ready to tackle the medium rare beast.
I have to say it was the best steak I’ve had in a long, long time. Maybe ever.
The waiter revealed to us that they use the same steak supplier as Hawksmoor, with fresh hunks of meat shipped from the The Ginger Pig farm in North Yorkshire.
To add extra zing, the chefs use a special charcoal oven, where the meat is buried to ensure extra flavour and succulence.
Indeed, the meat I devoured was deliciously tender and cooked to absolute perfection.
Feeling sufficiently full, we still had a little gap left for dessert.
With the rain apparently still pounding strong outside, we opted for a warming cheese plate and hot chocolate brownie to share.
On the drinks front, I decided to go for a lovely peaty Laphroaig Whisky while Clare tried a glass of the Chilean Pinot Noir.
We’d been at lunch for three-and-a-half hours, it had been such an enjoyable experience that the time had whizzed by.
Begrudgingly we left our cosy booth and licked-clean plates behind to battle the rain.
My phone buzzed. I’d sent a friend from LA a photo of my meal earlier.
‘Goodness what a plate. What is the giant muffin? Is that a Yorkshire pudding?’ he wrote.
His sentiments echoed mine and Clare’s when we sat beholding the steaming roast.
The Jones Family Project will definitely surprise you, as it did me.
The attention to detail is on point.
Now I will walk past this spot with fond memories luring me back for round two.