Jones the Grocer started out in the UAE in November 2009 in Abu Dhabi, and opened here in Dubai this summer, 2011. It’s easy to miss located on the Sheikh Zayed Road in a modular box like brown building but despite that there have been queues for tables for this new Dubai cafe. I’ve been three times, once in early August just to check out the grocery provisions in the shop, the restaurant wasn’t open as it was Ramadan and then again recently for lunch on Sunday and an early dinner with family on a Friday.
By far the best options are any of the authentic international cheeses straight from their mini fromagerie, you are permitted to taste and then select what you like. Have your cheese with some of their fresh brown bread and excellent coffee. But if you prefer crackers or biscuits to bread you may be disappointed. At least we were when we politely asked if we could have something other than ice cream mini wafers with our cheese plate, there was no alternative.
The fish and chips option is also popular and I enjoyed my portion of vegetable lasagne served in a small earthenware dish, do ask for your salad dressing on the side though. It’s great that the café uses ingredients like pumpkin widely in their salads and soups but my pumpkin soup was too floury and not tasty enough for me to order it again.
Service is sincere but there were a couple of slight mix ups the night we went and the staff apologised they didn’t have enough people to serve so were somewhat rushed off their feet. I liked the idea of a couple of communal tables and we ended up exchanging pleasantries with the English family next to us. But maybe this café will provide a chance to mix with some local Emiratis as it is extremely popular with them so far, so it’s probably a good idea to dress sensibly especially if you visit for dinner on a Friday evening.
Do leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of this new Dubai café from Australia via Abu Dhabi. And if you know about Jones from Australia, do tell me how the Dubai branch compares to your experience back home.