Jones the Grocer, Town Hall

The last time I popped into Jones the Grocer on Level 5 of Westfield Sydney with a friend for lunch, I had been pleasantly surprised by how spacious and sleek the restaurant inside actually was. Looks can be deceiving; at first glance it appears to be a fancy deli with a bakery attached to it. But when you peer inside, you find that it is actually a full fledged restaurant.

Since that visit, I have also tried out breakfast at Jones the Grocer courtesy of a work function there, but tonight, I returned with DK to try out the dinner offering at Jones the Grocer. The first thing that struck me when I looked at the dinner menu was that it features many of the same dishes as the lunch selection, only they are now listed in the “Entrees” section.

We start off with the Soft Herb Risotto which was subtly infused with black truffle oil, chopped spears of fresh asparagus and topped off with some thin flakes of taleggio cheese. As you would expect from a good risotto, it was hearty and comforting, but the rice was a bit harder than I have had in other risottos in Sydney – although DK did remark that the hardness of the rice was closer to authentic Italian style risottos that he has had in Italy though. Despite being an ‘entree’, the serving was huge and was more than enough to even be eaten as a main.

Soft Herb Risotto, $16

We also shared the Salt & Pepper Squid, which was given an Asian fusion twist by being paired with a Thai herb salad and dressed with tamarind, chilli and lime sauce. As expected, the sauce was very zesty and tangy and went well with the fresh seafood. The squid itself was an interesting texture – kind of crispy on the outside (not battered), crusted with salt and pepper, but very tender on the inside, rather than chewy.  We also found it intriguing that they drizzled a thin yuzu (citrus) mayonnaise onto the squid, rather than separately presenting it in separate dish, as you would usually expect. The Thai herb salad was rather vibrant to look at, but ultimately we left most of it (apart from the bean sprouts) because neither of us were big fans of coriander and mint.

Salt & Pepper Squid, $18

I was already starting to get a bit full by the time mains came out, but they looked so delicious that I couldn’t resist. The main I chose was the Pan-Fried Atlantic Salmon Fillet, which the waitress had suggested to balance out DK’s dish (Slow-cooked Beef Short Rib). The salmon was a simple dish, but it was executed well with the fillet cooked just enough to eliminate all traces of rawness in the middle but still retain much of the moisture in the fish. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although the accompanying cherry tomato and black bean vierge sauce wasn’t as exciting as it could have been.

Pan-fried Atlantic Salmon, $30

DK definitely made the right choice by ordering the Slow-cooked Beef Short Rib, which did take awhile to cook (as its name implies) but was well worth the wait. The large chunk of meat on the bone was quite tender and tasty, once it was carved up. It outclassed the mini piece of roast eye fillet which was hidden under a mound of delicious mushrooms, which had soaked up the red wine sauce and the juices from the cloves of garlic scattered around the dish.

Slow-cooked Beef Short Rib, $35

To balance out all the meat and seafood, we had also ordered a side of Stir-Fried Broccolini with chilli and garlic. At first, I was a bit disappointed to see that there weren’t any visible chunks of garlic, but this feeling quickly dissipated when I took my first bite of the slim spear of broccolini which had been tossed in a salty, but addictive chilli soy sauce.

Stir fried Broccolini, $7.50

We barely had any room for dessert by this stage, but the Warm Stick Date Pudding was calling to us from the menu. The waitress let slip that it was one of their best sellers and once it was brought out to us in all its glory, we could see why. A perfectly formed globe of vanilla bean icecream sat atop the rich sticky date pudding, with a delectable salted caramel sauce which was a modern twist on the conventional butterscotch sauce that’s usually served with this type of pudding. We demolished it in no time.

Warm Sticky Date Pudding, $12

All in all, dinnertime at Jones the Grocer is just as fun as lunchtime, with an expanded menu to choose from and generous servings which will ensure that you will leave with a satisfied stomach. The contemporary decor also adds to the ambience, and makes you feel like you are a world away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre.

Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Jones the Grocer

Jones the Grocer
Shop 5018, Level 5 Westfield
Cnr Market & Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 8072 7755

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