A vegetarian hoping to find some great vegetarian-friendly outlets, a free-spirit on a mission to find some 'heart' in and around the UAE.
Published August 5th 2013
Among the people I love, Jones the Grocer has earned the reputation of a place that brings about good times, with good food. Last weekend, when we were out and about in Abu Dhabi, and just could not wait till Iftar to grab something good to eat, we headed to the ever-familiar, warm and friendly space that Jones the Grocer provides.
After having tried a number of good meals such as quiches and sandwiches over a period of time, what hit the jackpot with my tastebuds was their roasted pumpkin and feta cheese salad. The combination of the cheese, with the sweetness of the roasted pumpkin, the sour sun-dried tomatoes tossed through rocca leaves is simply delicious. The texture, the smell, and the variety of tastes put into one large bowl of awesomeness never fails to satisfy me.
I first tried this dish when I grabbed it as a take-away before a flight to my home-country. I did not have the time to dig into it till I finished all my airport formalities and found a comfortable spot to sit at the boarding gate. When I opened my little 'Jones the Grocer' box, the aroma that filled my lungs was new and promising. Since then, I find it hard to try any other dish when I go there.
But let me add, for all the meat-eaters out there, Jones offers a lovely range of non-vegetarian food as well. My partner's favourite is the chicken with Harissa, and he too fails to order any other meal when we are there.
At the restaurant you can treat yourself to some fairly-priced quality food. They serve various dishes for all three-meals of the day, including dessert and for the little hunger pangs that hit you in between. The ambience is casual and relaxed. With an open kitchen on one side, you are constantly bombarded with some tempting, appetising smells.
While you wait for your meal you can walk around Jones to check out different materials and ingredients for cooking that they sell. I've got my eye on some interesting jams and drinks that I hope to pick up the next time round. On several occasions we have bought cheese from their lovely, little fromagerie which you can pack to take home, or have it served at your table with some fresh bread.
Jones the Grocer was set up almost two decades back in Australia. It now has franchises in New Zealand, Singapore, Qatar, including the U.A.E.
In the U.A.E you have the option of visiting their branch in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Personally, I prefer the one on Abu Dhabi for its smaller, intimate and familiar set-up. But if you like the busier atmosphere of Dubai, you can enjoy it there as well.