Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jonesing for Jones the Grocer, Westfield Sydney

The breadth of the Level 5 food offerings at Westfield Sydney means that there's always something I haven't yet tried.

Jones the Grocer took over the prime restaurant spot on Level 5 about a year ago with a luxury grocery offering, bakery and restaurant – and I've been jonesing to get there to see how the space has changed.

Restaurant dining area at Jones the Grocer, Level 5, Westfield Sydney
I visited for a pre-Christmas dinner last year when the shopping centre was filled with retail frenzy and the dining space at Jones the Grocer was a haven from most of it; a frazzled staff member aside.

The well-spaced restaurant area behind the food "emporium" is a particularly warm and inviting setting with the feeling of a posh home highlighted by a long open kitchen and dark timber furniture.

Seats by the window have the added benefit, or distraction, of looking across into a gym where classes take place while you eat and drink.

Shiraz and Pipsqueak apple cider
Maybe it's just all in my head but I think wine always looks and tastes better out of Plumm wine glasses, especially when it’s a bold Aussie shiraz.

There are, rightfully, a lot of Australian options on the drinks list and the food menu follows with a modern Australian bent (read: a bit of Asian, a bit of Mediterranean, a bit of this and that – all tempting and delicious-sounding).

Angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab, chilli, rocket, garlic and grana padano
A popular starter is surprisingly a pasta entrée, with its promise of picked blue swimmer crab in a classic and fresh combination of rocket, garlic, chilli and parmesan cheese.

The thin angel hair pasta noodles, almost resembling vermicelli, were a good, light carrier for the quintessentially Australian yet Italian flavours.

Salt and pepper squid, yuzu mayonnaise, Thai herb salad dressed
with tamarind, chilli and lime sauce
I went for Sydney’s ubiquitous salt and pepper squid with south-east Asian influences. Crumbed curls of a dark, deep fried squid were plentiful among a Thai-inspired salad with plenty of green herbs, bean sprouts and a light dressing of sweet tamarind, chilli and lime.

Both entrées were very generous in size and at the height of freshness; embracing a modern Australian ethos with flavours from around the world.

Duck leg confit with French lentils, apple and spinach salad with grape seed dressing
To France for my main with the most perfect confit duck Maryland, hidden beneath a pile of spinach and apple salad.

The duck was probably one of the best renditions of confit I've had: crisp skin, perfectly rendered, and soft, yielding flesh that was not too salty, paired classically with braised lentils.

The leafy, dressed salad with apple matchsticks – admittedly, presented all over the top of the duck – added a required sweet and tart lightness to the overall dish.

Free-range slow roasted pork cutlet with carrot puree, poached prune and shaved cabbage pangrattato salad
An impressively-sized pork cutlet was our other main, served with a creamy carrot puree, a few plumply poached prunes and a salad of shaved cabbage, fresh herbs and toasted breadcrumbs. Presentation seemed to follow a somewhat haphazard philosophy, with the salad again all over the top.

There was a sad lack of crackling, with a rubbery, fatty rind of skin attached to the thick pork cutlet instead although the pork was at least juicy and tender.

Stir fried broccolini
While the main dishes are quite complete with vegetable additions, we upped the green count with broccolini stems, stir fried with simply with oil.

Glazed lemon tart with confit citrus and creme fraiche
Dessert was probably not necessary following the big meals but we were tempted enough to try the glazed lemon tart. With burnished lemon curd top in a short pastry crust, the tart wedge was served with a variety of citrus segments and a quenelle of crème fraiche.

We also had a trio of sorbets as another dessert with refreshing renditions of each passionfruit, raspberry and mango sorbets.

I'm not sure if it is intended, but there's an air of 'something for everyone' at Jones the Grocer. Even the kids menu was impressive and clearly not an afterthought; hence, quite a few tables of families with young children.

And then there's food for take-home purchase, the bakery offerings and an impressive cheese cabinet that has me jonesing to get back for more.

Food, booze and shoes dined at Jones the Grocer as a guest, with thanks to Cav Con.

Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon


gaby @ lateraleating said...

Thanks for reminding me of this place, will have to check it out soon.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

The salt and pepper squid looks a little saucier than most versions but really I only have eyes for the glazed lemon tart!

Annie said...

loved the desserts and the angel hair pasta here :)

Little Munch said...

I need to go and check out the kids menu here - thanks for writing about it.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Sounds like a good choice for when you have lots of people to please with different tastes!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

you'll have to make the return to try the beef short rib and sticky date pudding. i promise it will not dissapoint! they were my two faouvirte dishes there!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

your salt and pepper squid salad looks so different to what i had!

Tina said...

Hi gaby - Hope you like it.

Hi Helen - The squid had some great Asian flavours in the sauce :)

Hi Annie - Yes, it was a very approachable/likeable menu.

Hi Little Munch - No probs; hope the kids like it ;)

Hi Lorraine - Absolutely; kind of like a decent hotel restaurant.

Hi Tina - Mmm, they both sound super rich!

Hi Viv - Haha, different night, different dish?


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