‘This is the seventh store in the region’ said John Manos, Director of jones the grocer, the Australian gourmet emporium, ‘And there are 16 in total.’ After taking over the business a mere 7 years ago, Manos has taken jones the grocer from Australia to New Zealand, Singapore, the UAE and now Qatar, with further plans to expand. The cafe-deli is in The Gate, the mall opposite City Center-Doha Mall in West Bay and has a cheese room and a charcuterie, where you can buy the modern Australian cuisine.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee are all on offer, with take-away coffee, sandwiches and organic drinks available, too, making it a popular destination in West Bay which is full of busy office workers and limited food options. Once they’re up-and-running they will deliver, too.
Manos understands that opening a cafe at the beginning of summer will have its obstacles, especially during Ramadan. ‘But when you follow your passion, you tend to look past hurdles,’ he said.
‘I still get a buzz out of these launches,’ said Manos. ‘You’ve got to tune the food to local tastes.’ In Qatar, there’s a market for European cheeses, it seems and what they have to offer is delicious. ‘We stand for high quality products and mid-range prices,’ Manos said. There’s a lot of fine dining options in Doha, as he pointed out, as most restaurants are in hotels and people sometimes want to chill out in a more informal environment. ‘It’s a niche we hope to occupy,’ Manos smiled.
‘My favourite thing on the menu, well, if I’m hungry, it’s definitely the Wagyu burger. Everything from the buns to the sauce is handmade. If I want something a bit more healthy, I love the fish and chips, they’re fried using an olive oil blend and the fish is locally sourced. People love our soups and salads, too.’
Coffee is another speciality of jones the grocer and their blends have won awards. ‘We blend from four or five origins, which makes our coffee pretty unique. We choose the best beans from all around the world and typically buy 50 or 100 kilos so our coffee is subject to seasonality and is always changing.’ He points out the siphon (below), which brings out an usual and light taste in the coffee. ‘We’re really proud of the slightly off-kilter things we do.’
jones the grocer opens next week, when it’s expected to be as popular as the one in Dubai (which has 1/2 hour queues to get in!). If you’re a coffee afficionado, into burgers or just a fan of good, healthy food, jones the grocers deserves a visit. Or two.