Le Gourmet Café
Multi-level cafe with organic credentials on Jumeirah Beach Road
Our first sight upon entering was a signpost pointing customers towards a fish market on the first floor and Mediterranean cuisine on the second, hinting that this would be an expansive, multi-concept venue. After further exploration we discovered that the café was indeed huge, offering several indoor and outdoor seating areas, although everything above the ground floor was closed.
The space was bright and airy, with a gentle marine theme: cobalt blue and clean white tones created a subtle hint of the Mediterranean.
We took a seat outside on the ground-floor terrace at the entrance to the café, which was large enough to offer a choice of sun or shade.
Service was polite and efficient, but lacking in warmth and character. One waitress was a little inconsistent in the knowledge she shared regarding the menu (the mezze platter doesn’t include tabbouleh, and the pizza isn’t really two-person size, although yes, it can obviously be shared), while it was difficult to extract a decent pizza recommendation from the waiter.
Making up our own minds about the menu, we decided to share everything and opted for the mezze platter, the Santorini grilled sardines and fried crab to start, and the Arabica pizza as a main course. The food arrived promptly, but unfortunately, despite specifying otherwise, every dish arrived at the same time, making it difficult to give each the attention it deserved or to enjoy them at their optimum temperature.
The mezze platter consisted of four classic dips (baba ganoush, moutabbal, labneh and hummus). They were all up to traditional standards and were served with warm, soft Arabic bread, which the waiter happily brought more of on request. The crab, which came as three whole beasts in the shells-*9, was fairly exhausting to eat without tools, and for very little flesh as a reward (that’s crab for you), but the flesh itself was enjoyable. The sardines (one of several Greek-inspired dishes on the menu) were acceptable, but overly brittle and dry in texture, and lacking in flavour. The pizza, on the other hand, was well prepared, with a good base and was really enjoyable, primarily thanks to the smoky, sweet and juicy beef salami on top.
The food at Le Gourmet Café is good and affordable, though it isn’t exceptional, and neither is the atmosphere. However, if you’re in the area or visiting the farmers’ market, it is certainly a pleasant afternoon spot.
The bill (for two)
1x sardines Dhs24
1x crab Dhs32
1x mezze platter Dhs37
1x pizza Dhs48
1x large water Dhs18
2x mocktail Dhs50
1x coffee Dhs15
Total (excluding service) Dhs224 Le Gourmet Café
marianne Jul 20, 2013 09:19 am
it was a mistake to go to this restaurant by buying a voucher for iftar and losing a great time with my friends there.it was not so overcrowded but still the staff was not organised i think.it is acceptable for an alacarte order to be served in 20 minutes but an iftar buffet it took more than 20 minutes to get it refilled not at all acceptable.the only thing good was the food was ok.less choices and less iftar opening starters.I can see only a sweating person in charge shouting and looking confused and staff running to serve and clear.they were not prepared to handle such amount of guest.
Sarah H. Mar 31, 2013 09:08 am
For those people who think that this restaurant is really serving fresh gourmet food are going to be disappointed.
From outside it looks a nice restaurant. We entered the restaurant and we seated outside next to the fountain. The table had cigarette ash all over it. We waited for five/ten minutes for it to be cleaned and reset then a further 10 minutes to receive a menu with customers coming in after us being attended to first.
We then ordered our food. Took 15 minutes for the water to arrive. Food was very late so they gave us some hot bread with condiments (balsamic vinegar/oil). The bread looked fresh until you took a bite. The bread had been frozen and had the freezer taste.
The starters did not come together, they served the Kebbe first. It tasted alright but the garnish salad was limp and the plate was covered in fried bread. Would have been nicer if they had just put the garnish with the Kebbe. We waited a further 15 minutes for the mixed fattayer. When we broke two pastries in half, the base of the pastry was still frozen so had to send them back.
The main dishes arrived. One of our orders was Mushroom Risotto. There was a maximum of 1 to 2 mushrooms cut wafer thin in the dish with no taste. The sauce tasted of the powder flavouring and was really starchy entirely unpleasant. The second dish we had ordered Chicken Steak with salad was over marinated with rosemary and that's the only flavour you could taste and the salad was limp and tired. The penne arabiata was edible but too much tomato paste had been used.
If you expectation was gourmet food, you will be sadly disappointed.
Jane C Feb 25, 2013 08:25 am
Very pleasant little spot next to Jumeirah mosque. We were almost put off by the fact that it appeared half empty and there was a buffet (you know when you just want something freshly cooked for lunch?), but on enquiring, we were able to order a la carte, and glad I did - the grilled sardine starter was top notch and excellent value, and the artichoke/roca salad very fresh and duly polished off. The grilled prawn main came as skewers, but the prawns were already peeled which left them a little dry, and was served with veggies that would have been better served with a roast dinner (boiled carrots/cauli). Kids are offered a free pasta dish which is served up nice and quickly so they don't get restaurant-bored. All in all very good, bill for 2 came to 170 Dhs which you can't complain at. Service staff were smart and personable, and service was very natural. Strange no website for the restaurant, they'd attract a lot more people if the information was out there. Maybe Jumeirah types don't like to stray too much from their nearby Lime Tree and Shakespeare stomping grounds, their loss.