A bustling, modern space serving up great gourmet food. Jones the Grocer, the Australian born franchise, has established themselves as a restaurant/bakery/deli/fromagerie/charcuterie serving gourmet food with the best ingredients here in Dubai. That’s a lot of titles to own, but they do it all really well.
Our verdict: family-friendly space with great food at a decent price, freshly made baked goods and an in-store…store, that is regularly busy hence could use more focus on their service.
Almond Croissant [AED 12]: This was a delicious croissant. Jones the Grocer really know how to make the perfect blend of crumbly, sweet and soft in a almond croissant. We’ve found that it’s difficult to get all three elements right but they’ve managed to do so. One of the best we’ve had. More about this in our hunts section soon.
Tiramisu French Toast [AED 41]: French toast with Jones coffee toffee crunch ice cream, valrhona chocolate drops and crushed pistachio. This dish was absolutely delicious. There is really not much else that can be said about it. The toast was soft inside but still had crispy edges, the ice cream actually had a coffee flavour to it and the chocolate and pistachios added some great texture and crunch. If you pay a visit to Jones the Grocer, you must try this!
Shakshouka [AED 42]: Eggs shakshouka with popped quinoa, feta and flatbread. This dish was from a chilli special menu. It was pretty good, it had all the right flavours but might have needed a bit more salt. We added a generous amount of pepper to liven it up. We did feel that the portion size was a bit small and the bread give along with it was also not enough.
Cappuccino (large) [AED 23]: Since it was a large cup, we did expect a bigger amount but it was a pretty average, both portion and taste wise.
Lemon Meringue Tart [AED 26]: The tart was a bit of a letdown. The meringue was overwhelming hence you barely taste the lemon curd. The tart was falling apart as it was too soft, basically a layer of a soft biscuit base. There’ll be more about this tart in out hunts section soon.
The service at Jones the Grocer was split. At the start when we entered the restaurant there was no one to greet us. We waited for a bit for the host to show up. He was nice and very inviting. From here on the service wasn’t all that great. We had no clue who was serving us so we just attempted to get someone to look over to our table. This took us some time as nobody seemed to pay us any attention. When we managed to finally get our order in, we ordered everything in one go. Once we were done with our food, we tried to get someone’s attention to pay. However, once again we were overlooked. Our server looked at us a few times and never came. Finally when he came to the table, he barely acknowledged the inquiries we had before scampering off to attend to another guest. At one point M noticed a lady from another table frantically flailing her arms trying to get someone’s attention. Granted the place was busy, but there was enough staff around to cover the tables.
Eventually we got someone else who helped us with our bill, this gentleman was very good, he took the time to explain things and eventually made the payment process a quick one. But getting to this point was very frustrating and made for a less than acceptable service experience.
A large open space that’s modern and clean cut. When you enter you can see shelves lined with products for sale ranging from edible items of jams and sauces to kitchen accessories and equipment. Product shelves also line the walls on either side. Counters that form a square take up the middle area so that they are displays facing you at all times. The seating areas are on both sides and range from small tables to booths. There’s an enclosed kids play area outside on the right. Also on the right side at the back you will find an a space with a fromagerie (in a cooled closed room with a sliding door) and charcuterie, all in glass display cases.
The way the tables are laid out some of the tables are awkwardly positioned. This makes for a less than ideal experience with people always scampering around you. The place is made to feel very energised as if a lot is going on, but we felt this to be artificial. The appalling service tied with ever moving waiters seemed like a big disconnect.
To Book or not to Book
If you are planing on going to Jones the Grocer during the weekend, then it’s best to book in advance, it’s always a busy time for them. On most off-peak times during the week you should be able to get a table without any issues.
How to Get there
Jones The Grocer, Al Manara, branch is a stand alone restaurant on Sheikh Zayed road.
By Car: Take exit 43 (when heading South – direction of Abu Dhabi) followed by a right-hand u-turn and keep going straight. Jones the Grocer will be the second last glass building on the left. If you are heading north, take a u-turn at Exit 42. So that you are heading south on Sheikh Zayed Road and follow the steps above.
By Cab: A good landmark for a taxi driver is Reem Al Bawadi on Sheikh Zayed Road. Most drivers will know where it’s located. Keep Reem al Bawadi on the left and continue heading straight. Jones the Grocer will be on the left side just before Denny’s and Bertin Bistro.
Public Transport: Unfortunately this location is not a metro friendly option. You could take a metro to either Noor Bank or First Gulf Bank stations on the red line and then a taxi to the restaurant. The venue is in the middle of these two stations. Heading south, Noor Bank is closer.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YmH55C1A3nv
Being a stand alone venue, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s a glass building with branded facade signage. Hard to miss.
- Almond Croissant: AED 12
- Tiramisu French Toast: AED 41
- Cappuccino, Large: AED 23
- Shakshouka: AED 42
- Lemon Meringue Tart: AED 26
Total for two: AED 144