Quietly seated at Mandarin Gallery, Level 4, is the underrated Jones the Grocer. It sure isn’t designed like an ordinary restaurant set, what with racks of items for sale (eg. cups, chocolates, coffee beans etc.), a near-symmetrical design – with a counter each on your left and right, while the center area is reserved for dining. It basically adopts a different kind of ambience and setting – not like your everyday restaurant with dim and comfortable lighting and the likes. This uniqueness, for one, gives me the feeling of being home away from home. It gives me the vibe that I’m not dining in Singapore (also thanks to the ‘high-class’ Mandarin Gallery vibe), and that is surely an experience.
Simple yet soothing to your eyes, the furnishing is one of a kind in a restaurant. No sofa, no cushion seating. It’s pretty fresh a change, once in a while. There are writings (of the menu) on the blackboard – those are which you can’t find in the menu, so you might want to take a look at it, especially for the brunch and breakfast dishes. Timings for the brunch and breakfast are also stated on the board itself. Below it are pastries (cakes, macarons, brioche, muffins etc.) laid out neatly at the counter. It’s not on either of the menu, so you might want to take a walk along the counter before ordering anything on the menu (because the display might just make you full already, just like how they did to me!). On the other side of the restaurant (ie. the other counter), they serve wine and cheese and such, a different side of breakfast that Singaporeans rarely do try. I myself have yet to have a breakfast like such, although I should really give it a shot one day.
Traditional Hot Chocolate ($5.00) :: There probably isn’t any better way to kick start a breakfast with a cup of (beautiful) hot chocolate. The marshmallow is like a cherry on top of a pie. It’s definitely a decent drink – it’s just too bad that on both my visits there, they’ve had their ‘Jones Special Hot Chocolate’ ran out. Shame.
Tomato Mozzarella & Basil Sandwich ($13.50) :: I love how it is presented – on a wooden ‘chopping board’, very sleek and authentic-looking. See, food is like wine. it’s not just about how it tastes, but how it looks, and smells (the latter two comes even before you taste it). It’s like imprinting a good first impression. Even though the sandwich isn’t top-notched, it is acceptable what with the price, and the portion being reasonable too. Just like most other sandwiches, eating it with a knife and fork might get a little messy. Hah.
Coconut Pancakes ($14.50) :: Embrace yourself, because when the plate of coconut pancakes arrive in front of you, you’ll go ga-ga and melt with the smell of the coconut and the pancakes, mixed together. The slightly burnt sides of the pancakes, ironically, makes it even better – the smell probably came off stronger than when it’s well-done, and it would then not have a slightly crispy sides to it too. The ice cream and mildly sour mango cubes make the pancakes less ‘gelat’, even though at the end of the day, I still couldn’t finish the two thick slices of pancakes. It’s a little too much on a morning. With that being said, what would be perfect would be to order that and share it with a friend of yours – each a piece, and voila! Perfecto!
French Macarons (Chocolate) ($5.50) :: It’s $2/piece, $5.50/3 pieces. Of course, me being a macaron-addict, I couldn’t help myself but to buy down 3 pieces of the macarons that were calling out to me from behind the display window. If I were to compare the macarons, Jewels Artisan Chocolate > Jones the Grocer > Bakerzin. So, tada. Not too bad anyhows.
Chocolate Tart ($6.50) :: I know what’s on your mind – this tart looks dry and hard, and would probably be fake-chocolate-tasting. Aha, the exact same thought that went through my mind when I saw this. But give it a chance and you’ll realize that its looks are actually deceiving. You have been tricked – it’s anything but the aforementioned description. PS: The white sugar on top is placed just for beautifying-of-the-tart purpose.
Tiramisu ($7.50) :: In my opinion, this is quite a good tiramisu done. Many a time, tiramisu is substantiated more by the coffee taste than the cocoa’s/liqor’s. In this case, I thought it was well mixed, and for me, I love how equally it tasted, and so I’m pro-Jones the Grocer tiramisu dessert.
Even though the main courses aren’t as fantabulous as the drink / desserts, I still give Jones the Grocer a full 4 stars (✰✰✰✰), thanks to the contributing factors of unique ambience and setting, very friendly staff and more than awesome, less than excellent food. It’s definitely worth a re-visit for me (for breakfast / brunch menu).
—> Note #1: All prices stated are already inclusive of GST & Service Charge. Nett prices.
Address (Outlet in context): 333A Orchard Road, #04-21/23, Mandarin Gallery
Telephone: 6836 6372
Photos by self and Jonathan Yeo.