jones the grocer
We try the new Australian café Discuss this article
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It doesn’t feel like Doha inside jones the grocer. It reminds both my friend and I of funky bistros and delis back home, where the food is fresh, you can buy a pound of some smelly but deliciously exotic cheese on your way out, and the wait staff are characters. After we’re ushered to our seats it becomes even more apparent that jones the grocer has been magically transported from Someplace Else. Our server arrives promptly and briskly asks us what we’ll have: there’s no waiting, no ‘yes ma’amsir’, just straight to the point. We have to admit, it’s refreshing. We’re smitten.
The restaurant itself is casual with a side of chic, the walls lined with their take-home products, deli cabinets and an open kitchen dominating the middle of the room, the tables simple metal tables and chairs. There’s no fancy cutlery, but there are some tantalizing aromas wafting out of that open kitchen.
To start, we go for the charcuterie These are basically a mixed sample platter of meats, fish, cheese and spreads. They’ve got several sizes to choose from, as well as loads of options to actually go on the plate—and while we’re ordering, our waitress actually glances over to make sure they’ve got what we want. When one of our choices isn’t available that day, she suggests another: their options rotate, with whatever’s freshly prepared. We go for the beef salami, the marinated anchovies, the grilled button mushrooms, and two of their cheeses. Neither my friend nor I are able to make a selection, but our waitress makes some suggestions when she sees us struggling over soft cheese from Denmark or hard cheeses with names we can’t pronounce. I’m still not 100 per cent on what exactly we ended up ordering, but whatever it was, it was delicious! Lesson learned: listen to your waitress: at jones the grocer, they know of what they speak.
The mushrooms were tasty, the salami nicely sliced. I found the anchovies absolutely delectable, but I’m one of those people who like salty fish (they’re excellent for you and a sustainable fish—my green conscious alone would make me eat them, but soak them in lemon and garlic? Sold. These were so good I will be back for a takeaway). Their homemade bread is crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, and there’s lots of it. What we wish we had more of though, is plates. We’re covering the table in crumbs as we munch, as the platter arrived, forks and knives have arrived, but no side plates.
Our waitress comes by about midway through our charcuterie to let us know that when we’re ready for mains, to wave her down and she’ll have the kitchen fire them—very casual, but we sort of like it. It’s the sort of relaxed atmosphere we haven’t seen in Doha, and we like her slightly saucy attitude. Plus, we know our food isn’t lingering under a heat lamp while we scoop up that last bite of cheese, always a plus.
For mains, my friend goes for their turkey baguette with cranberry sauce and their pumpkin salad. The salad is absolutely massive, and could easily be a meal in itself, but he’s a bit disappointed it’s light on the pumpkin. The sandwich too falls short of it’s beautiful potential: the bread is delicious but it’s just too stuffed with greens (which, to be fare, are fresh and crisp). Eating greens is a special treat, but I want more in my sandwich. It’s a bit skimpy on the turkey, and my friend ends up almost refilling his salad bowl, scooping unwanted lettuce off the sandwich.
I, however, have gone for something that is in no way good for me but scrumptiously delicious: the ultimate wagyu burger. Topped with cheese, caramelized onions, foie gras and a truffle spread, it appears in a mound of melt-in-your-mouth glory that makes my arteries beg for mercy before I’ve even taken a bite. And that’s before I dig into their signature olive oil fries, which are exactly what fries are meant to taste like. Be warned however, this burger is not for when you’re trying to impress. It’s sloppy and goopy, delectably so but even the chef knows this might end up down the front of your shirt—it comes pre cut in half. Totally good, but afterwards I wished I’d worn my stretchy pants. Thankfully, their homemade lemonade is also rocking: it’s a great counterpoint to that rich burger.
Onwards to dessert, which we’ve heard they’re famous for. Their dessert case certainly beckoned as we entered. We go for the lemon meringue tart and the chocolate éclair. But before we bite into anything, jones the grocer gets a little pretentious with our coffees: someone in the kitchen has decided the proper way to serve a searingly hot latte is in a handle free glass cup. For orange juice this cup would be great: for coffee, I have no way of picking it up. I make a pain of myself, and thankfully the waitress plays along and takes it back to put it in a proper mug, like my friends cappuccino. The desserts arrive and they are well worth the wait. The éclair is creamy and delicious, a mocha chocolate confection, and the lemon tart is tangy and just that right note of sweet and sour.
We know we’ll be back. After all, we still have to try their breakfast menu! And I want more anchovies.
The price (for two)
1x Charcuterie, five QR59
1x Pumpkin salad QR39
1x Turkey baguette QR32
1x Burger QR62
2x Lemonade QR32
1x Pink lemonade QR19
1x Water QR19
1x Cappuccino QR17
1x Latte QR17
1x Lemon Meringue QR16
1x Éclair QR18
Total (including taxes) QR328
Time Out Doha,
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