There has been a little whisper around town about a new Jones the Grocer store opening in Dubai, so I was certainly intrigued to check it out. On entering the new eatery, situated in Etihad Mall, on Sheik Zayed Road, I bumped into a friend. What? How did she know about this place before me? It turns out she stumbled upon it when picking up her son from Horizon school, and it is now her new regular hang out. She proceeded to tell me how this chain was much more child friendly than the other branch… I was keen to find out more!
I was greeted by a warm and welcoming member of staff who brightened up my day instantly (isn’t it lovely when that happens) and who seated me at my table with a smile. For those of you that don’t know, Jones the Grocer was actually founded in 1996 in Sydney. The store offers premium Australian food to their hungry customers with international influence, as well as stocking a range of gourmet delights in their shop. This smaller branch does not have the fromagerie that the other store offers and is certainly not as big, but instead there is a small play area for kids next door owned by Etihad airways, which potentials entertainment for your kids in full view whilst you can enjoy a nice lunch with your husband or friends. A definite plus for us mamas!!
The décor is stylish and vibrant, think café chic but with a relaxed tone. There is indoor comfortable seating with a small outdoor area that is due to expand I hear. On a week day, the place wasn’t packed which was a relief for me, but I hear that weekends can get very busy, so make sure you get there in good time for lunch if you want a good table.
My waiter proceeded to tell me about the new menu on offer. There were new additions to the menu, as well as some classics. The hazelnut dukkah crusted barramundi certainly jumped out at me for its Australian fish, yet North African spice choice. The mac and cheese also surprised me in its description – a medley of shropshire blue, grana padano, mimolette and aged cheddar served with garlic croutons, escalivada and mixed green salad. How can something so average sound so exotic? Apparently this is no ordinary dish. Definitely something for me to try next time! The most popular dishes, I understand, were the Jones Wagyu burger and the chargrilled harissa chicken, which both sounded so appealing.
What I really like about this menu is that it offers everything from breakfast to brunch, lunch to dinner. It allows for those days when you want to indulge and enjoy, to other health conscious moments however rare or frequent they may be. I enjoyed a delicious roast pumpkin and feta salad with sundried tomatoes, rocket and harissa chicken. Oh and some yummy sweet potato fries on the side. New to the menu and absolutely delish! Coupled with a natural passionfruit and lemongrass cordial, with sparkling Voss water, this may well be one of my new favourite haunts too!
The desserts looked so mouthwatering delicious that I couldn’t resist a little tart to round off my lunch. Their signature is the s’mores tart, which offers a perfect combination of chocolate, biscuit and toasted marshmallows. Decadent indeed, but well worth every mouthful.
For those working in offices in the vicinity, there is a great business lunch menu where you can enjoy a starter, main and Jones lemonade for just DHS 65! Bargain, but I wouldn’t make it your regular lunch haunt more than once a week as the dishes stay the same for 2 weeks running so you may find yourself a little bored of the same choice.
The verdict? I think this is a lovely place to go with or without kids. It’s great for a casual meal and if you can’t even be bothered to venture out, then they even deliver 11.30am to 11.00pm.
Jones the Grocer, Etihad Travel Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa 2 (Near Noor Bank Metro Station), www.jonesthegrocer.com