Test Driving Jolene - three is the magic number for this Newington Green restaurant

flatbreadThe garlic and rosemary flatbread - just look at all that butter pooled on the top. You could just dive into it. £3.50

What can you tell us about Jolene?

The degree of buzz surrounding this Stoke Newington opening should have given you a heads-up. And the reason for all the interest in an all-day bakery/restaurant in this part of town? Well, that'll be down to its owners - Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim and David Gingell. This is the duo that also brought the delights of Primeur and Westerns Laundry to this part of London.

This time, they've teamed up with farmer Andy Cato (who we didn't realise was also one half of Groove Armada in a previous life until after we'd met him) for Jolene.

Where is it?

It's on Newington Green - where Dandy used to be. They've moved things around quite a lot and the whole space looks gorgeous - it must be a wonderfully sunny place to be if you're here for breakfast or lunch. The nearest station is Canonbury overground, or just do as Stokie people do and get the No 73 bus here.

outsideOutside the restaurant at night...

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

As we arrived on a balmy early Autumnal evening it was warm enough for folk to sit on benches dotted around outside and enjoy a drink. If the weather's not playing ball then Yield wine bar across the green is a good spot and we like The Cellars pub on Newington Green Road too, which is a few minutes away.

Where should we sit?

If you've been to Primeur or Westerns Laundry, you'll know the drill by now. There's usually a good mix of tables for four as well as several communal tables, where chalked off sections with your name and time of booking show you where you're sitting. It's very convivial and there are also some nice seats up at the bar where you can eat too.

So what's on the menu?

Every day the menu changes and even while we were eating, dishes were being wiped off the blackboard or various elements were swapped out. But sections are loosely split into snacks and small plates, pasta, main courses with sides and desserts.

If you're eating here during the day you'll probably get more to grips with the bakery side of things, and in particular Jolene's focus on natural grains from Andy's farm. Here's what we ate on the night:

breadNot just any old bread - this is Jolene's Naroque sourdough - and handily you can buy a loaf when you're here for dinner for £4 knowing that you're sorted for top quality toast the morning after.

jamonThe simple things -  a plate of jamon de teruel (£6.50) served so the fat is just melt-in-the-mouth perfect.

peppers2Stewed peppers with onions and feta - the peppers so slowly cooked down they've turned incredibly sweet. SO good. £6

ravioliOne of the two pasta dishes we had - this just edged out the pappardelle with beef ragu. It's ricotta ravioli with sage butter and if it's on you should definitely order it (£8).

raguThe aforementioned pappardelle and beef ragu (£9) - up there with the best London has to offer (and London does this dish very well at the moment).

chickenOne of three mains on the menu this was half a roast chicken with crumbs and aioli (£16). Sounds simple but what a gorgeous plate of food. And just LOOK at that aioli. 

porkPork belly and green sauce (£18) - which is enough to share, really. But the crackling is SO GOOD you just won't want to.  Goes particularly well with the roast pink fir potatoes (£4), which you can see hiding in the background. 

tartWe over ordered - so we were only fit to share one dessert between the two of us - so thank goodness we ordered this plum and almond tart (£6). 

What's the choice like for vegetarians?

Not bad - more choice in the small plates and sides though - there wasn't a main vegetarian course on offer (but we didn't ask at the time).

And to drink?

Almost all the natural wines on the list are available by the 125ml glass, carafe or bottle, starting at £24 for a bottle of Grenache but with most in the £30-£40 bracket. Our Verdicchio was thankfully not from the deeply funky school of natural wine. If you're off the sauce there's a daily juice of the day too.

Overall thoughts:

We're huge fans of their other places, but there's something rather special about Jolene. Maybe it's a little more relaxed, more comfortable in its own skin than the other two. Whatever it is, we like it and we're very glad it's in our neck of the woods. And even if it isn't in yours, you should come here regardless.


Hot Dinners dined as guests of Jolene. Prices correct at time of writing.

More about Jolene

Where is it? 21 Newington Green, London N16 9PU

How to book: On their website

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @jolene_hackney


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