Monday, December 14, 2015

Taking a Second Shot at jones the grocer

My first and only visit to jones the grocer was when they had first opened eight years ago. With the air so stuffy and to have pretentious diners from a few separate tables examine me from head to toe, I left with an unpleasant experience. Were they there to inspect my marbling, colour and pedigree like they do for wagyu cattle? No. I thought so too. Moohehe.
 
Anyway, with jones the grocer now fully owned by LVMH which brings with it physical and product changes to the store, I trotted down for a graze, hoping not to have to smack any pretentious snob on the head with a baguette, an organic and artisanal one of course.
 
On to the food first.
 
                               
The charcuterie board offered a nice variety of cold cuts and was as pleasing in the mouth as it was on the eye. Nibble on Smoked Duck Breast, Honey Baked Ham, Homemade Cooked Pepperoni, Veal Lyoner and my favourite of the lot- Mortadella. The Wagyu Rump Roast on its own plate in the background was also scrumptious with its beefy flavour and chew. 
 
With Singapore's first walk-in cheese room when it first opened, jones the grocer offers a very good selection of artisanal homestead cheeses sourced from around the world. Alongside the cheeses are a myriad of accompaniments such as Sicilian olives, dried fruits, nuts, crackers and a delectable truffle honey from Italy. Smear that truffle honey on a wedge of Gouda or Stilton Blue and let the marriage of flavours sing in your mouth. Moohehe.
 
The cheese room is awesome! Boasting over 100 types of artisanal cheeses from countries like England, France, Italy and Spain, there is definitely something for every palate. Ask the in-house cheese expert for recommendations or wine pairing suggestions. Enjoy the cheeses here or take them home for a dinner party.  
 
The Cheese & Charcuterie Board (3 items $35, 5 items $45, 7 items $55, additional item $8)
 
Mooving on to the cooked food selection from the revamped menu which aims to dish out comfort food, the Oriental Crispy Duck ($26)featured a duck leg confit on a bed of mesclun salad with potato, shimeiji mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. While the duck was flavourful, it was a little on the dry side and I wished its skin was moore crisp. There was a plum dressing which, together with the shimeiji, gave this dish an Asian touch. Personally, I felt its flavour paired nicely with the richness of the duck but could have been amped up in quantity or intensity.
 
                                 
Specially served as a tasting portion of the full-sized jones Classic Wagyu Burger with Truffle Fries ($26), this mini burger might be small but sure packed quite a bit of ingredients- 100% Australian wagyu beef patty, bacon, melted Gruyere, truffle mayo, pickles, caramelised onions, mustard and a bois boudran sauce (vinegar and ketchup-based sauce). Lovely flavours and bite. The fries were gone in a flash too. I guess that is what happens when the portion size of burger and fries is small but the mouth is big. Moohaha.
 
The Asparagus Risotto ($24) incorporated fresh asparagus, Taleggio and Grana Padano and black truffle oil. Its texture was a tad mushy and was moore like porridge. Love the cheeses in here though there was a distinctive bitterness (from the asparagus and truffle oil maybe?) that was overpowering.   
    
I mooch preferred the Spicy Seafood Aglio Olio ($28) with its punchy hit of chilli, seafood duo of prawns and scallops, and shaved Parmesan. The purple shiso was also moore than mere garnish, accenting the pasta dish with its fragrance and flavour when eaten.
 

Our last main course arrived in the form of the Grilled BBQ Chicken ($26). A slab of juicy thigh (the chicken's, not mine. Moohehe) smeared with a smokey, tangy-sweet barbecue sauce and accompanied with garlic mash and coleslaw.
 
                

Leave space for desserts. Oh wait, I think a lot of people actually do have a separate stomach for desserts! Whack the Warm Sticky Date Pudding ($15) which was delightfully warm and sticky as per its namesake. It hit all the right spots with its rich, sweet-salty tones complemented by the vanilla bean ice cream. The other dessert of Coconut Panna Cotta ($14) boasted a smooth, creamy panna cotta beautifully redolent of coconut. The accompanying mango coulis and fresh mango added another layer of tropical flavour. 
 
Sip on a jones Leaf Tea ($6.50) such as the Masala Chai to end the meal.
 
Besides dining at jones the grocer, the store also offers a good selection of gourmet teas (check out the award-wining Makaibari, the world's first tea factory, and Singaporean tea brand Pin Tea's range of flavours inspired by local iconic neighbourhoods), exotic African-inspired sauces, jams, vinegars, olive, coconut and truffle oils, premium chocolates, condiments, pastas and sweets. Take home organic breads which are freshly baked in-house and contain no preservatives, artificial colours, flavours or additives.   
 
Meat-lovers! Swiss Butchery is now housed in jones the grocer, which also means their range of premium meats including grass-fed and grain-fed beef, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken, veal and Iberico free-range pork can be cooked and enjoyed on-premise or brought back home for a sumptuous meal.
 
And on a final note, the vibes here are (thankfully) a lot less pretentious compared to my first visit years ago. The revamped jones the grocer spots a casual, welcoming interior with an understated polish. I think it's a good sign when families, friends, and couples were seen enjoying themselves and being comfortable here. 
 
I'll save my baguette for eating. :) 
 
Thank you jones the grocer and Food News PR for the invitation. 
 
Blk 9, #01-12
Dempsey Road
Dempsey Hill
Tel: 6476 1512
 
Chew On This: 
                        
With the festive season upon us, it's a perfect time to check out jones the grocer's range of lovely gourmet hampers. They make a really nice gift and come in different sizes across a range of price points.  

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