Tuesday, October 28, 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Jones the Grocer, Abu Dhabi

Posted at  11:50 PM  |  in  Restaurant

Abu Dhabi is home to six Jones the Grocer stores, following the launch of a new branch in Al MuneeraJones the Grocer is fast approaching its second decade of operations – an interesting age when it’s no longer considered a newcomer to the gourmet food sector, but hasn’t quite graduated to veteran status either.

Still, it's the perfect time to look back at the brand’s impressive growth as “an Australia origin food emporium” (their words, not ours), expanding from its flagship Sydney store to other parts of Australia, and more recently conquering overseas markets such as New Zealand, Singapore, Qatar and the UAE.

The reason for its success? Jones the Grocer carved a unique (and lucrative) niche for itself by combing a modern day café experience with a premium retail offering for gourmet products. The company embraced open plan layouts for its stores, with cheese rooms, sweets counters and European style delis on display while customers, sitting at communal tables, enjoyed meals prepared with ingredients straight off the shelves.

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This innovative approach has been well received in key international markets, including the UAE, where a growing collection of Jones the Grocer cafés in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been offering modern, fresh, and uncomplicated food since September 2009.

The outdoor seating has been designed for friends and families to enjoy al fresco diningAbu Dhabi alone is home to six Jones the Grocer stores, following the launch of a new branch in the stunning Al Muneera complex this month. A public celebration was hosted to mark the occasion, which attracted more than double the expected number of attendees, with guests treated to free flowing bubbly and canapés from the menu.

AroundTheUAE.com missed the rush and visited the store for dinner a few days later. Parking spaces are readily available, although be warned, there is a five minute walk from the car park to the restaurant, but it's a pleasant one, as you pass the water fountain and landscape gardens that surround the restaurant’s outdoor seating area.

The outdoor seating has been designed for friends and families to enjoy al fresco dining, and the opening has been well timed to coincide with the cooler months ahead. Inside, the interiors are stylish, modern and classy… we have visited a few Jones the Grocers over the years, and this one is perhaps the best designed. It makes the most out of the store’s available space and features an open kitchen, seating area, and cheese and charcuterie section. A selection of retail products are also available, including groceries, home ware, gifts and hampers, cookbooks and a growing range of cooking accessories.

ALSO READ: DOES AMALFI OFFER THE BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN ABU DHABI? READ OUR REVIEW!

Like all Jones the Grocer outlets in Abu Dhabi, the Al Muneera store is licensed to serve alcoholic drinks, subject to terms and conditions, which should be a draw from some of the expatriate community, as the options in the Raha Beach are somewhat limited.

Jones the Grocer combines a modern day café experience with a premium retail offering for gourmet productsWe started our dinner with the signature ‘dips & bread’ entrée, which consisted of various types of toasted breads, served with a selection of dips and spreads. The portion was huge, more than enough for two people, but be careful not to fill yourself up.

For the mains, we selected the ‘mac and four cheese’ (a medley of shropshire blue, garana padona, mimolette and aged cheddar, served with garlic croutons, escalivada and mixed green salad), while our guest went for the ‘chargrilled harissa chicken’ with couscous salad and red pepper emulsion. Both received the thumbs up, especially the mac and cheese, which is perhaps the best we’ve tried in Abu Dhabi to date.

And finally for dessert, there we almost too many options (which is sinful to say, considering our sweet tooth), but after much contemplation, we selected the Raspberry and White Chocolate Tart, as well as the Chocolate Duo Cheese Cake, both of which were devoured within minutes, leaving us completely full and very satisfied!

If you’re a fan of Jones the Grocer and find yourself in the vicinity of Al Muneera in Abu Dhabi, then this store is certainly worth a visit. And if you haven’t tried the restaurant chain yet, the opening of this branch could be the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

MORE RESTAURANT REVIEWS: Amalfi, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi

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