Restaurant review: Jones the Grocer in KAFD, Riyadh

Looking for quick, hearty and delicious eats in a chic, laidback space? Jones the Grocer in KAFD has got you covered.…

There are a few reasons for us Riyadh folks to wander to KAFD – but mainly because it’s one of the foodie destinations in the capital. KAFD is also recently home to the popular Australian gourmet grocer and café Jones the Grocer, which has expanded from its first outlet in Ramla Terraza.

The 3,300-square-foot space is fresh, bright, and inviting, with simple, uncomplicated design language punctuated with Instagrammable points of interest. Jones’ signature blue tiles and verdant walls add a pop to the warm timbers and cool marble finishings.

Jones the Grocer KAFD

The new outlet beckons patrons into a chic, contemporary interior, filled with neat rows and stalls with plentiful kitchen essentials, food displays, and quality gourmet produce. Shelves are neatly stocked with colour-coordinated rows of packaged snacks, dried pasta, and jars of condiments.

In addition to the enticing gourmet retail space, you’ll find a freshly baked pastries and cakes display, an artisanal coffee and fresh juices bar, an open kitchen, a charcuterie counter, and a curated walk-in cheese room. Diners can curate their own cheese plates or leave them in the good hands of the staff. It’s a perfect fusion between a modern supermarket and a classic Mediterranean deli.

Jones the Grocer products

Jones the Grocer in KAFD is a more intimate dining space than its older sister. And yet, it’s still welcoming and cosy-looking with its laid-back dining ambience that it’s known for. It’s the kind of spot you can imagine going to for lunch and finding you’re still there at closing time.

As we entered on a quiet Saturday afternoon, the lovely general manager, Mahmoud, greeted us, making us feel really welcome and showed us to our table, nestled in beside the communal table and near enough to the windows so that we could watch the comings and goings of KAFD outside.

The menu here is divided into breakfast, light bites, lunch, and dinner. We start with the spicy cheese and wagyu croquettes (SAR39), an easy treat to share with a delightful crunch that follows every bite.

We also thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney sliders (SAR69) and crispy chicken sliders (SAR61). The grilled steak and chargrilled artichoke salad (SAR83) is another delight. The soft artichoke was cooked well enough but was missing the grilled and smoky flavour.

prawn linguine Jones the Grocer

If you’re looking for something more carb-y, go for the garlic and chilli linguine with prawns (SAR81), one of Jones the Grocer’s signature dishes. The sauteed prawns are tossed in a tomato reduction sauce and topped with basil leaves and shaved parmesan, transforming it into a creamy dish, best eaten together with the accompanying garlic bread.

The Ultimate Mr Jones burger (SAR93) is a clear winner on the menu. Though seemingly ordinary, this hearty dish – served with the perfect skin-on fries – is brawny and comes with a thick wagyu beef patty, crunchy smoked bacon, mixed leaves, cheddar cheese, and bois boudran sauce. It was also so juicy it disintegrated into a glorious mess.

desserts Jones The Grocer

On to desserts, while their Jones carrot cake (SAR34) is incredibly hard to resist, hold out instead for the honey cake (SAR34).

Verdict: Jones the Grocer is the type of place you’d make your regular. Like the food it serves, this popular Australian gourmet grocer and café makes you feel right at home, with a retail space and cheese room that keeps you coming back for more. Plus, the staff are relaxed, in control and seem to all be friends. They chat about the food and products with ease and aren’t phased by baby tantrums, navigating around pushchairs or managing big groups with dietary requirements. The comfortable atmosphere and convivial vibes also add to the draw of Jones the Grocer in KAFD, as you can easily while away an afternoon there with your friends over a no-frills meal (portions are generous, too) and refreshing mocktails.

Jones the Grocer, KAFD, Al Aqiq, Riyadh 13519, daily 7am to 12.30am. @jonesthegrocersa

Images: Instagram / Provided