You know your neighbourhood is “up and coming” when the railway arches stop looking like a Mitchell brother might be fixing a car/killing someone in one, and starts looking like a hipster eatery. Sadly, the railway arches near my flat are part-Mitchell, part-hipster. The unrelenting wave of gentrification is yet to hit my endz (dodgy match-day car parks jostle for space next to organic cafes), but it
has hit Haggerston – natch.
One of the arches in Haggerston has become Trip Kitchen & Bar, and they’ve currently got Jones & Sons in residency in the kitchen element. They may be in the bar too – I am hazy on that deet. Jones & Sons hark from just up the road in Dalston, where they serve modern European food (which can basically mean anything, but in this instance we’re on the pancakes for brunch, steak and béarnaise, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese line).
What I am getting at, in a round about way, is that I was invited down for their launch last week and absolutely loved it. Here is the story in full:
We arrived and were seated in the industrial-esque restaurant (the bar and restaurant are fairly open plan, separated only by some low-level shelves). Soft lighting, exposed brickwork and a kitchen window you could peek into – it’s fairly standard east-London fare. But it was nice and warm, the atmosphere was friendly and it was bustling but not noisy, plus the staff were delightful.
I ordered a pre-dinner cocktail, a French 75, which was a gin, triple sec, lemon and prosecco number. It was nicely balanced with a bitter kick to it. Andrew went for a Date Old Fashioned, which was date-infused bourbon, bitters and honey. It was smokey and sweet. All cocktails are priced at £7.50, which is pretty decent for east London.
To start I went for a deep-fried courgette flower stuffed with goats curd served on a tomato salsa-type base. It was deliciously sharp but the sweetness of the tomatoes in the salsa counteracted that. It was crispy yet light.
Andrew went for pigs’ cheeks, parsnip puree and apple reduction. This was the standout dish of the night. It was headily meaty and sweet and unctuous. I reckon Andrew would’ve married that dish if he could’ve.
For main course I went for butcher’s steak with béarnaise sauce, served with watercress. Andrew got mussels and clams cooked in cider with lardons. We also got two sides: triple cooked chips and lobster mac and cheese.
My steak was perfectly cooked (medium-rare, yo), and the béarnaise was truly one of the best I’ve ever had. Lovely and sharp and not too rich at all. It was also just the right consistency. The chips were great, too. The mac and cheese was fine, but it didn’t sing next to the others.
Andrew’s mussels were good I think, but he was still thinking about his pigs’ cheeks and couldn’t really focus.
We were pretty stuffed by this point, but somehow our lovely waitress persuaded us to have a pudding. We decided to share one, but went for the heaviest thing ever – sticky toffee pudding.
This was great – loads of sauce, nice and hot and with chewy caramelised bits on the edges. Butter and sugar are so good, aren’t they? (If my bootcamp instructor is reading this, then I promise I only had a tiny bit.)
I think Jones & Sons at Trip is a great collaboration. The venue is lovely and cosy, the team there are great and the food just the right level of foodie.
Trip Kitchen & Bar, 339-340 Arches, Acton Mews, London E8 4DG
Nearest tube: Old Street (20-min walk), Haggerston overground (3-minute walk)
I was invited to review Trip Kitchen & Bar, but that by no means guaranteed them a favourable review.