We were at Mandarin Gallery checking out a couple of their lifestyle shops when we passed by Jones the Grocer. It was just about dinnertime, the restaurant was sparse, and since we had a pretty decent pasta and risotto at their ION Orchard outfit, we thought we'd have a quickie dinner here before heading on home.
We later understood why the restaurant was barely occupied. The sputtering kitchen service was cranking out dishes like an old beat-up jeep. About 20 minutes after our orders were taken, we saw an earlier table of 3 receive their soups. Half an hour in, after I saw the said earlier table get served their mains, I enquired the wait staff if the exceedingly sluggish kitchen was due to an unexpected shortage of kitchen staff (like a flu epidemic broke out or something), just so I know to discount this slow service as a one-off, but it wasn't.
So, there was no good explanation for the ridiculously slow service. But what's worse was that I was given the laughably filmsy reason that the kitchen seemed slow because they "make everything from scratch". I didn't appreciate being fed such a transparent excuse. it would have been much better if they'd just straight out admitted that "yes, our kitchen is slow, we're sorry for the long wait, and we will endeavour to try harder".
The 40-minute-long wait was exacerbated by the awful food; both our pasta and risotto were unforgivably under-salted and sickeningly rich.
The Asparagus and Taleggio Risotto ($21), barely perfumed with black truffle oil despite the menu's affirmation, was grossly under-salted. It would have helped if the taleggio cheese was evenly stirred throughout the risotto, but it was unceremoniously clumped into a far corner on its own.
The cloyingly one-dimensional Forest Mushroom Linguine ($28), with grana padano, pangrattato and earthy herbs, placed an overwhelmingly and overpowering emphasis on cream.This tasted like a heavy cream bombshell. Not even the generous load of assorted mushrooms could elevate this.
Jones the Grocer
333A Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery #04-21
Open daily from 9am to 11pm