To many Jones's departure may have seemed contrived - making
a move on the crest of a star laced wave, but in reality it
was coincidental. Jones had been working on a restaurant deal
for several months prior to gaining his star. David Nicholls
had been fully aware and supportive of Jones's entrepreneurial
desires; his star had come just as he signed on the dotted
line - an added but slightly awkward bonus.
Lola's Restaurant - a recycled Victorian tram station has
become Jones's new culinary home. Located in Islington, the
restaurant has long been considered a neighborhood eatery,
but now with Jones presiding behind the stove, owner Morfudd
Richards has catapulted her restaurant into the dining super
league. Jones has captured himself a directorship with the
possibility of becoming a partner in the future.
The real winners in this story are the Londoners who can sample
the likes of Rare seared tuna, smoked aubergine, anchovy beignets,
ratatouille vinaigrette followed by Roast rump of Welsh lamb,
cannelloni of slow cooked shoulder, piquillo pepper, jus gras
- all at incredibly reasonable prices. Dinner averages around
£32 [$45] and a three-course preset lunch (two choices per
course) weighs in at only £18.50 [$27.50]. So far the feedback
has been nothing but positive, scoring great reviews from
The Independent and Time Out. Within the first few week of
starting his own menu The Evening Standard's Fay Maschler
reviewed Lola's. Maschler a sometimes venomous food critic
who can make or break a chef's reputation, fill or empty a
restaurant described his cooking as brilliant, awarding him
three stars - its highest accolade.
So will he be the headline-making chef of the future? Absolutely.
My feeling is that Hywel Jones is the chef to watch out for
- London 's next culinary star. He has the foundations and
attitude to go the distance. As he increases his kitchen team,
his food will blossom, the focus on quality will also transcend
into the dining room. Lola's crockery, glasses, private dining
room and furnishings are ear marked for upgrades, providing
the "goods" for the guest and maybe Michelin star or two for
the chef. I will be the first to say that we used to prep
veg together back in the day!
359 Upper Street
London N1 0PD
Tel: 0171 359 1932