Primeur -the original offering from Jolene’s founders- opened five years ago. A beautifully simple, wholesome fresh space set within an old drive-in garage, with its worn-out signage still present above. The large industrial garage doors opened fully, allowing us to sit at a large sharing table - as we celebrated a friend’s birthday- with the sun shining through the leafy trees of its Highbury surrounds. As we are sat at our table in the new venture - Jolene Bakery- the trees of Newington Green outside are reminiscent of this memorable scene. The restaurant and attached bakery sit on the ground level of a new build block of flats, yet as you step inside you are transported to a rustic, earthy and simple space that is styled beautifully- much like Primeur.
Occasional rendered clay walls add warmth to the otherwise stripped back shell of the building, the floor is poured concrete and pewter table tops sit between timber chairs. For added warmth, details such as window panels - with handwritten logo “Jolene” embroidered in the linen- hang off natural turned tree branches in the windows. Dried herbs dangle from timber pegs, while branches are dotted throughout the space in Nordic-inspired-vases, negating the need for any further features. Simple, honest selection and curation throughout makes for this inviting interior.
Jolene offers an extensive wine list, with bottle display being a prominent presence behind the long bar counter. We visited late afternoon and begun by sharing pasta, followed by a succulent T-bone sharing steak and sides for mains with a bottle of Beaujolais- all a little indulgent as we initially intended on only picking up a sourdough to-go or perhaps sampling a cake from the bakery with coffee. We have been told in good faith breakfast here is fantastic too, so will be returning to sample at the earliest opportunity.