On Monday night, fancy new Kingston eatery Jones & Co had its first full service run, catering to a full house during its soft opening. We were lucky enough to attend, and if first impressions are anything to go by, we say farewell to old Mrs Jones without a tear in our eye, and welcome this stylish new eating house with open arms…
A fellow Canberra food writer made an excellent point in a recent article about the rise of the ampersand in the Canberra hospitality scene. I have to agree, but would like to humbly submit my own observation of the recent proliferation of Co to the mix. In the last couple of years or so, we have seen Hippo turn into Hippo Co, the opening just a fortnight ago of Social & Co and the opening today of Jones & Co where Me & Mrs Jones once lived.
Be sure to note though that it will not be opening for breakfast, as the morning meal is now relegated to weekends only in this new – and better – version of its predecessor. No doubt there will be some disappointed regulars hoping their favourite café is back in business; but take note, this not just a name change and a makeover, this a brand new business. While Mrs Jones was café first and restaurant second, Jones & Co is most definitely first and foremost a restaurant and bar – and a slick one at that.
Gone are the T-shirt and jean clad bouncy floor staff, and in their place are immaculately dressed waiters with crisp white shirts, black ties and smart aprons. Gone is the casual café style with coffee at the forefront and in its place is a marble topped bar with high quality cocktails and spirits and a sophisticated menu by chef and co-owner Dan McConnell.
For McConnell, this is a chance to deliver at a higher level, and he impresses with an excellent menu of global influences that includes a fresh and engaging raw bar serving South Coast oysters, sashimi, cerviche and tartare dishes; beautifully presented small plates, roasted meats served on boards or in wonderfully crafted copper serving dishes, as well as a more casual offer of baos, sliders, tacos and burgers.
Service is slick and professional, and the ambience is sophisticated and grown up. While the bones remain the same here, much has changed from the old fit-out; the most obvious being the beautiful marble bar, the deep booths upholstered with plush tan leather and the impressive brass topped table in the newly invigorated private dining room.
While dinner certainly feels like a big city bistro experience, this is not a place that is trying for elitism. It remains accessible, offers a range of very affordable entry level small bites (think baos, tacos, burgers and sliders), is aiming for bustling bar-like atmosphere and is no doubt going to do its best impression of a café on weekends for breakfast and lunch.
Making a case… Dishes that you must try:
From the Raw Bar, a sublime kingfish cerviche with coconut cream, nahm jim and fresh herbs; and a steak tartare, perfect in its execution, pretty as picture and given a surprising little punch with tabasco injected directly into its raw egg yolk. Oh, and of course, the oysters. Three varieties, all trucked in daily and shucked to order.
From the Bigger Plates selection, a mighty cider braised pork knuckle with apple salsa verde and parsnip purée; and an incredible slow braised lamb shoulder with red wine and pepper berry reduction; both big enough for two or maybe even three.
Jones & Co is located on the corner of Giles and Kennedy Streets Kingston
Bookings may be made by calling 02 6162 3355
Check out their Facebook Page