Jones the Grocer
reviewed by : Melissa Richter
31 October 2015
First established in Sydney in 1996, Jones the Grocer set the benchmark for Australian gourmet food retailing and now has branches in Singapore, the UAE and New Zealand in addition to the one here. It’s a multi-functional space which includes a retail store, a café/restaurant, a bakery shop and barista coffee house all under one roof. What sets them apart from their competition is their commitment to supporting artisan producers of both locally and globally sourced products and their ability to deliver fresh high quality cuisine. The retail store has eclectic global dry goods and canned items such as sea salt from Scandinavia, Italian olive oils and locally produced hot sauces and spreads to name just a few. There is also a deli attached to the retail store with high end charcuterie for sale and the bakery prides themselves for freshly baking all of their signature cakes and tarts on-site daily.
Another nice benefit is the wine selection that is focused on wines from Australia that you can buy by the bottle or by the glass. Uniquely they do not have a corkage charge, so you can easily drink it in the restaurant or take it home without any additional fees. The chefs in the kitchen cook dishes to order and are happy to adjust them according to your personal preferences. Everything we tried on our visit exceeded our expectations in regards to quality, taste and value. One of the highlights is the original “Jones Burger” made from a 100% Australian wagyu beef patty, bacon, melted Swiss cheese, truffle mayonnaise, pickles, yellow mustard, and caramelized onions on a sesame seed bun. Cooked a perfect medium rare, the meat to topping ratio is great and the bacon used is outstanding. This is really one of the best burgers I have had in a while, and it is well worth the almost 500 baht price tag. Another delightful dish is “The Super Foods Salad” made from broccoli, almonds, red grapes, chickpeas, green lentils, quinoa, carrot, barley, pomegranate and honey. I also loved the “Moroccan Chicken Salad” of free-range chicken, roasted butternut squash, mint, coriander, spinach and lentil salad, yoghurt, and sumac dressing. Both salads are wholesome and nutritiously delicious and full of exciting flavors and textures. For the main course I recommend the “Spiced Grilled Tiger Prawns” with chili caramel, pickled papaya, dried prawns, snake beans, lime, and peanuts; and the “Blue Crab & Angel Hair Pasta” with lemon and chili. The prawns are perfectly grilled with an authentically spiced 'som tam' that has not been tempered for the Western palate. The pasta was also delicate, light and seasoned so that each element of the dish could be fully appreciated.
If Jones the Grocer keeps up the standard of their food while continuing to support local artisan food producers, they may do quite well. The challenge for them is to distinguish their brand as something that is heads and tails above the other internationally branded deli cafes that are popular, but offering a substandard product. We thoroughly enjoyed everything we tasted on our visit and hope that Jones the Grocer continues to deliver fresh, creative and relevant cuisine that surprises and delights at every turn.