Jones the Grocer. A well established name in Woollahra moved its flagship store to Sydney Westfields around a year or so ago. I had heard so much about it before I finally got to visit late last year, Coincidentally, Lime and Tonic invited me to try out of their romantic experiences, which lands me back at this lovely eatery once again.
Front retail section
where you can get quick bites and freshly baked goods during the day.
The entry/ artisan grocery section.
Jones the Grocer is not simply a grocer as the name suggests, It is a artisan grocer, a cafe during the day an a full blown eatery with a romantic vibe at night. I love the yellow hue the lighting gives, It makes it just so much more comforting, just like home.
On arrival, the lovely manager Macy greeted us and lead us to a table right beside the open kitchen, I love sitting next to t kitchens so I can watch all the action!
Beloka Still water
Macy then brought us the 5 course degustation menu, she went through it in detail and asked us about any food allergies etc, very thoughtful and thorough of her. This was just the beginning of the impeccable service!
Biancavigna Prosecco Brut DOC NV
To set the romantic scene, we started with a glass of Biancavigna Prosecco. I only had a few sips as the lack of alcohol dehydrogenase in me sounded alarm bells. I didn't want to be gone before the delicious sounding food arrived! I have to confess, because of my low alcohol tolerance, I don't know much about wines and spirits but I quite liked this prosecco, it has a fruity taste and a crisp touch to it, quite similar to a lovely prosecco i had at an Italian Restaurant in Melbourne years ago.
We managed to fit in some good chit chat while waiting for the food to arrive, The lovely Macy kept checking up on us, topping up the prosecco for my friend, you seriously cannot fault service like this.
First course: Chicken and prosciutto salad- liver parfait, mixed grain and nuts
The first course we had was a lovely chicken and prosciutto salad, I am normally not a fan of liver but I loved the creaminess of parfait. The addition of mixed grain and nuts also gave this dish a nice contrast in texture.
Second course: Pan roasted barramundi- potato and herb puree, crispy leeks, caramelised shallot with prawn butter sauce.
If i had to choose a source of protein, fish would definitely top the list. Coming from a Chinese family, fish is generally steamed, so I grew up eating a lot of steamed barramundi and silver bream (Dad's favourite), But when i dine out now, I always opt for fan fried fish as I love a slight crisp to the flesh. The second dish we had at this degustation was a pan fried barramundi, it was beautifully presented, colourful and vibrant. The fish itself was great but I thought the stand out was the crispy leeks and prawn butter sauce. Those components were beyond delicious!
Third course: Roasted pork belly - Duo of apple, wilted greens with a pork jus
Despite the small portions, we were getting pretty full, but when there is pork belly on the menu, a separate stomach is activated, sort of like a dessert stomach, except for... well... pork belly (and crackling!) I think apple and pork belly are a match made in heaven, a slight tang goes so well with the creamy layers of fat of a slab roasted pork belly... mmmm....
Not featured in the picture is a lovely apple puree, That puree was quite different to the purees you normally get with roast pork but it gave the dish a different dimension. I thoroughly enjoyed the apple fritter though, wish I had more of it! The only thing I could fault in this dish was the pork jus, we both found it a bit too acidic for our liking.
Fourth course: Autumn Forest- chocolate feuilletine, chocolate marscapone mousse, peanut brittle and cherry sorbet.
By this stage, we were activating our 3rd stomach, the dessert stomach. This dessert was not what I expected in terms of presentation, although I'm not a professional chef or food stylist, I think this dessert plating could do with a bit more work, It looked a bit messy to me.The flavours and textures made up for it though. I loved the richness of the chocolate feuilletine and the lightness of the mousse.
Fifth course, Cheese board- chef's selection of 3 cheeses (Manchego, roquefort & brie), chutney, bread
Cheese is something you love or hate, I am currently at a stage where my taste buds are maturing and I find myself enjoying cheese more and more, although I still find blue cheese a bit too strong for my liking.
No fear though, as my favourite of all times is featured on this platter, the brie. (Will you brie my friend?) I love brie to the moon and back, i could eat it with water crackers, warm sourdough (featured above) or on when encased in a crispy golden batter. Check out my variation of it using Camembert here.
I suprisingly enjoyed the manchego as i thought it would have a strong sheepy taste/smell to it but it the roquefort (a sheep's milk blue cheese) that was too strong for my liking.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Jones the Grocer this time round, It was a completely different experience (both wonderful!) from when I was last here as a casual gathering with a few good friends. This place is definitely a strong contender for group dining or as a romantic degustation. I would happily return to sample more of their extensive menu.
Disclaimer: Milkteaxx was invited to sample the romantic degustation at Jones the Grocer by Lime and Tonic, however the opinions are her own.