With the amount of “to get” lists that my helper always had for me she obviously thought that my favorite pass time is grocery shopping. The amount of trips I have made to Cold Storage in Singapore, Aghas in Karachi and Sainsburys in London (Al-Fatah in Lahore is out for me since I am not half a fashionista that visits the place)– I would have earned a lifetime achievement award of “Top Grocery Shopper” (If there was any).
I find supermarkets more fascinating than fashion salons. It is the cold waft of air as soon as the welcoming doors opens its delights to you, the bright high ceilings, the quick mental planning for the next meal that takes place while roaming the aisles, the variety of colored cereal boxes, the liveliness of fruits and vegetables, the richness of neatly stocked baking products, the lure of confectionery and kitchen gadgetry and an onslaught of marketing and persuasion techniques. And the simple message that food retail is the solution to all dilemmas.
However, if all grocery stores would be like “Jones the Grocer” I would prefer to permanently move in there (with Jones?). The premium Australian food retail and café’ chain, opened its doors in 1996 in Sydney followed by over 15 stores now in New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.
Contemporary design, gourmet food to devour, formal foodstuffs and a huge collection of recipe books to to buy, friendly knowledgeable staff and helpful management make the core of Jones the Grocer.
On a recent trip to Dubai I went to one of their outlets to meet their 25 year old Executive Chef Matt Schaeffer. At 11 am in the morning the store buzzed with young executives with their sleek Macbooks and abaya clad women with brightly manicured hands; a happy clamor in the kitchen; a gentle hiss of the steamer at the coffee machine, a regular ting at the cashier counter and smiling faces all around.
Graciously and generously Matt shared with me the recipe of one of their popular salads. A refreshing mix of simple vegetables and Feta cheese dressed in balsamic vinegar, offering their own version of Greek Salad. The salad offers a delightful experience on a sweltering summer afternoon – crisp and fresh – lightly coated with a hint of fruity tanginess and herbal earthiness.