Jones the Grocer

Famed Australian gourmet grocer lands in Dubai 20 Reviews

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Jones has landed, like a huge black cuboid spaceship, on a sandy patch in Al Manara off Sheikh Zayed Road.

It’s not a location that will woo a steady stream of foot traffic, but considering the frothy hype that has preceded the gourmet grocer’s arrival, it seems people are willing to drive from all corners of the city to pay a visit. When a colleague of mine made the trip last weekend, she found the store engulfed by a tsunami of humanity.

Heeding her advice, I opted to pop by after work, a visit that disqualified me from the lunch menu (which is discontinued after 6.30pm), but ensured I was able to get a table. Nonetheless, the restaurant was nearly full and I shuddered at the thought of the weekend breakfast rush.

The interior of the store boasts a chrome, black and grey colour scheme – slick and stylish, while at the same time functional and comfortable. The walls are lined with imported gourmet goods, designer kitchenware, cookbooks and interactive displays, while the much-hyped cheese room (said to be the UAE’s biggest, though perhaps I was expecting too much) is tucked away in the far corner, flanked by a charcuterie and an open kitchen. Chefs and staff busy themselves in the service island in the middle of the space, walled off by display cases bejewelled with bagels, baguettes, brilliantly coloured macaroons and picture-perfect pastries.

My date and I, however, were more interested in the à la carte menu, which was by no means vast, although we had already guessed that Jones’s motto was one of quality rather than quantity. We opened our account with an Aroha elderflower and an iced-green tea, the latter treating our taste buds to distinct bursts of ginger and lemongrass on every sip. If only we hadn’t been forced to mull over our drinks for so long. My date ordered the puff pastry-crusted perigord truffle soup, which the waiter dutifully informed her would take 15 minutes to prepare. We decided it was worth the wait. My initial order of pumpkin and feta had to be rethought because the kitchen was out of rocket salad, so I settled on a caprese insalata. I say ‘settled’, because more often than not, this simple combination of mozzarella and tomato slices seems to be an excuse for chefs to neglect the dish, rendering it a cold, lifeless and tasteless precursor to the meal.

I was hungry, and 15 minutes trudged past like dog years. When the starters finally arrived, I was consumed with envy as a plump, shiny pastry dome appeared in front of my date. Not that the very Italian green, red and white of my caprese looked unappetising, but the truffle soup looked to be one of the heartiest dishes I’d seen served in Dubai – a perfect antidote to these cold, air-conditioned summer days.

Somewhat reluctantly, I turned my attention back to my salad, but was pleased to find the tomatoes tangy and fresh, while the garofalo mozzarella was cool and smooth, its taste accentuated by the slather of green pesto on which it was served. The caprese was further complemented by a small pot of fragrant, sweet and unashamedly addictive reduced balsamic vinegar, which I trickled over the mozzarella with rather too much enthusiasm. My date, meanwhile, had broken through the pastry shell and was frolicking happily in the warming perigord soup. Both our starters were simple and shone with excellent ingredients, a theme that continued for the main course.

My date had opted for the grilled salmon salad, and was surprised to be asked how she wanted it to be cooked (medium or well done?). Not a question you’d usually expect when ordering a fish dish, but one that underlined the quality of the produce at Jones. The salmon arrived quick as a flash – it could only have been cooked for a matter of minutes. My date was a little perturbed by just how fresh it looked, but her doubts soon dispersed when the fork sank effortlessly into the peachy-pink flesh, which in turn dissolved in the mouth. My chargrilled chicken, served on a bed of North African couscous with harissa, was competent, straightforward and satisfying. If I was splitting hairs, it was perhaps the weakest dish of the day (I had hoped for a little more zest), but I still enjoyed it, messily scattering the warm couscous all over the wooden board on which it was served as I hungrily picked apart the tender chicken.

Our appetites sated, we ordered dessert purely out of greed, following the waiter’s recommendation of chocolate brownie served with a scoop of vanilla and saffron ice cream – a delightful combination that somehow made the soft, rich brownie seem a little less sinful.

If our dinner was anything to go by, breakfast and lunch at the weekend might almost be worth braving the masses for. Jones has finally landed on planet Dubai, and it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that the fresh, tasty produce utilised in its simple dishes are out of this world.

The bill (for two)
1x Iced green tea
Dhs16
1x Aroha elderflower Dhs20
1x Truffle soup Dhs35
1x Caprese salad Dhs45
1x Grilled salmon Dhs64
1x Chargrilled chicken Dhs53
1x Brownie Dhs15
1x Scoop of ice cream Dhs6
Total (excluding service) Dhs254

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 346 6886
  • Travel: Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road, next to Reem Al Bawadi
  • Website | Send mail
  • Cuisine: Cafés
  • Times: Open Sun-Thu 8am-11pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11pm
  • Price: Dhs200-350
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes
  • Restaurants Awards [Shortlist] Café
    Restaurants Awards [Winner] Family

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User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Shaima on 12 Jun ' 13 at 07:29

I have always love the food there.
But since they opened they have been increasing their prices, 3 times now. And my most ever favourite cake, price was tripled and size doubled, and when I tasted it was shockingly sour.It wasnt like it used to be. I am disappointed about that. We are made to pay more, which makes me think of not going their much.

Posted by: Artih on 18 Mar ' 13 at 14:00

It is dreadful, staff are terrible, food is very disappointing.

Posted by: Ben on 02 Mar ' 13 at 16:20
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The food looks good, but the risotto was watery and bland and the quiche heavy. Our dishes came in reverse order, with the appetizers arriving well after the main course. Even worse was the service -- we were actually served dessert with the dinner plates still on the table, and just pushed to the side. No attempt to clear away, until I asked a passing waitress -- and then only partly cleared, and the table not wiped.

Posted by: Shaz on 28 Jan ' 13 at 16:06
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Best burger in Dubai!

Posted by: Hamad on 10 Jan ' 13 at 07:27
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Overall, it was average. They dont fill up the coffee mugs. The hot drink are not really hot. Not consistant in quality. I wont even dare to think about visiting it after 10:30am on weekends; you will be just left alone with no food.

Posted by: Riffy on 18 May ' 12 at 12:41
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

AAAAAMMMAAAZZZIIINNNGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! Large variety of phenomenal food. And i highly recommend this!

Posted by: Hannah on 28 Mar ' 12 at 06:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This was the first time that I have been to Jones, after hearing lots of great reviews from friends (some of who are infact chefs).
Jones did not disappoint. We went for breakfast on a Friday and the place was buzzing. It was convenient to park right outside, even though the cafe was packed full of people. It was busy but being managed very well.
We opted to sit outside and got seated right away. The one negative that I would say is that the outside area isnt very pretty and we felt slightly sandwiched between the restaurant wall and the terrace wall.
Staff were extremely attentive and gave their opinion of what was popular and what they liked off the menu.
The eggs benedict with beef bacon was delicious, and so was my husbands full english breakfast.
I would like the opportunity again to go at a quieter time and be able to browse through the produce on sale and try the lunch menu!
Cant help but think how well another store/restaurant would do in a better location or at a mall.
It gives Lime Tree and More a run for their money!

Posted by: Matt on 02 Mar ' 12 at 09:44
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Although the food is nice the and the service is good it is overpriced and the kitchen is super slow, if not completely disorganized. I have been there twice as i wanted to give it a chance but after waiting over 30mins for my food on both occasions and then been presented with ok food i will not go back again

Posted by: A.D on 29 Jan ' 12 at 15:12
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I had been to Jones once before for brunch and it was an average experience. The food was far from amazing but I had liked it enough to take my family there for brunch the following week. Understandably its busy over the weekend and we were prepared to wait patiently for a table. What we not prepared for were rude and intimidating staff members, who after making us wait an hour. YES ONE HOUR, did not understand our frustration and hardly gave us any information as to when we would be able to sit.

Never have I complained in this manner about a restaurant before and I am a strong believer in pointing out when something deserves commendation. But I strongly feel that the behavior of a certain staff member at Jones is unacceptable, uncalled for and rude. I asked him politely on two occasions not to raise his voice, at which he raised his hand, pointed towards the door and sneered,

"well you better leave then!".

I have just moved to Dubai from London and up until now have not come across such hostile behavior. Absolutely despicable to think that all I was asking was why it has taken an hour for us to be seated, and how much longer before we could sit (distinctly not forgetting my p's and q's either). I highly do not recommend this place, unless you love rude staff and (lets be honest) average food.

Horrible staff.

Posted by: Zaki on 16 Jan ' 12 at 15:03
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Jones the Grocer has excellent food and woderful dessert. The grilled salmon and the jones wagyu burger is what I highly recommend for main course. For dessert definately I recommend the caramel slice and the cheese cake.

Posted by: Ibrahim R on 04 Dec ' 11 at 07:05
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We had a breakfast yesterday and it was amazing. The omelet and the sandwiches are very delicious. The service was nice and we got the order within minutes. It is well organized with variety of Delicious food.
It is a bit noisy so I wont go alone to read or coffeeing
The location is good but nothing indicate that there is a resturant here until we open the doors of the gray building!

Well diffidently go there next weekend :)

Posted by: Moza on 05 Nov ' 11 at 14:44
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Jo on 28 Oct ' 11 at 12:24
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Too dissapointed! It took about an hour to get an omellette an a little poach egg! No apologies or explanation from the staff who ignored us for sometime. Very disorganized. Dont go there on a Friday unless you order your breakfast on Thursday ! maybe you are lucky then.
Supervisor or Restaurant Manager seemed to be lost and confused about what his duties were. He looks like the take away/Cashier person in Macdonalds he never walked around to check any of his customers. we requested to talk to him but he never came (we went to the place were he stands most of the time (next to the kitchen) and although he offered an apology for the mess He tried to explain in other words that if too many people come ; they dont know how to handle it and it may take time ! So everybody has to wait for whatever it takes 1 hour ? perhaps? ... Very Bad Service.

Posted by: Mo on 26 Oct ' 11 at 13:02
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No


Have heard about this place, but seriously upon arriving I was surprised. Completely uninterested staff, after standing around for a couple of minutes, I had to ask to be seated. Staff completely ignore you and when you sit down it takes forever for them to come.

The menu was interesting, but most items were out of stock (perhaps half the items) which wasn't too impressive.

Food decidedly average, even the most expensive mains available.

The concept is interesting, but the delivery is absolutely terrible.

I hope they sort it out.

Posted by: Shomaki on 18 Oct ' 11 at 13:36
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The food was okay but the service was soooo bad. I found the waitresses not welcoming and rude unless ofcourse they have been forced to work at Jones. Someone should teach them how to smile.

Posted by: Gareth on 28 Sep ' 11 at 16:58
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Nice location spoiled by appalling service and badly prepared food. The wait for the food seems interminable and no change when pressed.

When ordering a steak sandwich I was asked how I wanted it. Despite asking for rare it came blackened to a crisp. The grilled chicken was extremely dry.

Clearly a bit of a hotspot right now but not worth the hassle.

Posted by: Reem on 24 Sep ' 11 at 11:10
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

2 out of 5 dishes ordered had hair in them. All we got from the floor manager were excuses rather than an apology.

Posted by: racha on 12 Sep ' 11 at 07:43
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

they open at 8 am during the week and 9am on weekends. not 10 am as you mentioned, pls rectify. thanks

Posted by: Aditya Rajaram on 14 Aug ' 11 at 08:56
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I just moved to Dubai and I was intent on finding a good quality grocer, A Trader Joe's or Fresh Market if you will. I was told about Jones the Grocer and did some research. Clearly, it wasn't enough. I was unpleasantly surprised by the lack of produce available. Their coffees, teas, breads, cheeses were plentiful but I wanted some greens, a lot of greens.

Being ramadan unfortunately I could not try the food and I did not want take away because I wanted to try the food fresh. I guess this place is more known for the food made at sight that the traditional grocery items.

So I ended buying fresh coffee and multi-grain bread. The coffee artisan was quite helpful asking me all sorts of detailed questions which I gladly answered thinking I was going to get the worlds best coffee. Instead, I got good coffee. And the bread, well that was excellent. They are still waiting on their automatic slicer so some days I get a massive slice, and other days I get a sliver. Either way it was amazing bread.

Will give it a shot again though, the lunch and pastries must be delicious.

P.S. get some more greens will ya!

Posted by: Patrick on 09 Aug ' 11 at 10:40
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We ate on a Saturday morning. The queue was going out the door but the food qulaity was amazing and worth the wait. We were also told how long the expected wait would be, which was a great gesture.

Nice selection of drinks however some of them were not available - which I assume is down to the busy numbers they are getting.

It's definitely a place that will prove to be popular in Dubai!

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