x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lunch mystery over for Sowwah Island staff

Jones the Grocer expands to Sowwah Island to fill the gap for upmarket eateries in Abu Dhabi's new business district.

As the towers sprouting up on Sowwah Island near completion and companies prepare to move in, one question has remained for employees of the financial services firms preparing for life in Abu Dhabi's new business hub: where shall we go for lunch?

The first workers will move in next month and aside from two large hotels, there will be few lunch spots available for them until the Galleria Mall opens in 2013.

But Jones the Grocer, the Australian chain, has come to their aid and will become the first upmarket eatery to cater to the luncheon needs of bankers and lawyers in the towers of Sowwah Square, the heart of the emirate's new business district.

"Initially, we'll have a Jones in the lobby of Tower 1 and a lounge on level 29 as well," said Peter Wilding, the associate director of Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality.

"We're really spending time and effort to make sure that the retail and food and beverage offering is of a world standard."

The upmarket business district on Sowwah Island, modelled on London's Canary Wharf, is part of Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030 plan to develop its financial services industry.

The island will become home to the new Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, alongside financial services firms including National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Al Hilal Bank, both of which have plots on the island.

Luxury hotels including the Four Seasons and Rosewood Hotel are also being constructed.

This week, Linklaters, part of the British "magic circle" of elite law firms, announced its intention to move into Sowwah Square.

Other restaurants have also scouted out locations on Sowwah Island as potential bases.

Zuma, the Japanese restaurant which has operated in the Dubai International Financial Centre since 2008, has indicated its desire to set up shop on the island.

Jones the Grocer, which recently established a branch in Abu Dhabi's Khalidiyah district, opened its first branch in Dubai this week.

ghunter@thenational.ae