Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Jones the Grocer - 6 March 2013

Jones the Grocer has recently moved their original store in Woollahra to space vacated by Justin North's failed Becasse empire in the food court on level 5 of Westfield Pitt St Mall. Jones the Grocer bought the Becasse group after it went into voluntary administration, which included Becasse Bakery, Charlie and Co Burgers (which have both been retained), and also the fine dining restaurants Quarter 21 and Becasse. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey has a 50% stake in Jones the Grocer through L Capital, the private equity arm of LVMH. It helps to be backed by investors with deep pockets, which Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey most certainly have!

Jones the Grocer has relaunched the old Quarter 21 and Becasse into its flagship store that contains a bakery, patisserie, specialty coffee area and a retail offering that is similar with their stores in Singapore and Dubai, as well as a cafĂ© serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This sounds quite extravagant and is not something you see in the Sydney market. I was excited to see a fresh start for the failed venture but sad to see Justin North’s Becasse gone as Justin North has been one of my favourite chefs.

When I walked in I was immediately impressed and loved the set up. It reminded me of a section of one those food halls that you find at the basement level of department stores in Japan (such as Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi). It had a relaxed feel about it and the area was nice and spacious. I loved the open kitchen. Although the grocer section contained fancy things from places far away that I have never heard of or could afford, I was still intrigued. Maybe I will give those fancy pastas, such as squid ink linguine, a go!

Pastries, breads and open kitchen on the right
Truffle looking wagyu beef
Deli meats
Fairy floss
Checking out the goods
I went to Jones today for lunch with my friend, SP. By the way, a big thanks must go out to SP as she took the photos for me today as I left my camera at home and my phone ran out of battery. Now onto the food!

Salt and Pepper Squid, yuzu mayonnaise, Thai herb salad dressed with tamarind, chilli and lime sauce  


SP ordered the salt and pepper squid today ($20). I tried a little bit of the squid and it was pretty good. It was nice and crisp and not too oily. SP said that it was a nice salad but the serving was too small for the price paid. I tend to agree!

Orrechiette with slow braised beef, madeira, and shaved truffle

I had the orrechiette ($21). This dish was very enjoyable! The pasta was al dente. And the gravy was so delicious! Such beautiful meaty flavours. Seriously, I would have liked a moment in a private room to lick the bowl clean!Onto the negatives (I just have to). I know truffle is an expensive ingredient but there were probably only 4 small slices of truffle on the plate. I would have liked to have a few more slices, but that is probably asking for too much given the price. Because there was not a lot of truffle, the truffle actually did not lift the dish that much. And the bits of braised beef whilst nice, were so fine and broken down that they were almost like specks. I would have liked the beef to more like chunks of strands as opposed to floss.    

 Passionfruit and kaffir lime cordial

SP decided to order one of Jones's cordials. She said it was nice and refreshing and not too sweet.  I shall come back to try the other cordials.

But that's not all... I enjoyed lunch so much that my wife and I decided to spin by after work for a cup of Jones's blend teas and a quick dessert (before dinner - there is nothing wrong with having dessert first!).   

This was a green tea and lemon tea with honey on the side. This tea was all right, not outstanding.  

Citrus panna cotta, strawberries, basil, candied almonds

This was a wonderful dessert. Nothing beats a wobbly panna cotta. And this dessert indeed had a nice wobble. Very refreshing dessert! Beautiful combinations of flavour: soft, smooth & creamy panna cotta, fresh strawberries, fresh basil and crunch from the candied almonds. This would have been perfect if it had a touch less gelatine (but this is me being nitpicky).

Highlight: The gravy in the orrechiete
Lowlight: Serving size for the salt and pepper squid salad was small
Overall: Upmarket food store where you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are lots of good options throughout the entire menu and it is all reasonably priced. I must come back for breakfast and dinner. 6.5/10 (Good)

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