The vegan scene in Dubai can hardly be considered a dominant one, but though small, it is becoming increasingly mighty. The latest addition to the scene is all-vegan, all-organic eatery Tidjoori in Dubai Marina. The company has in fact been in Dubai for some years, supplying consultants to other eateries wishing to use vegan products. The venue in Trident Grand Residence is the brand’s first foray into creating its own dining concept.
Located on the first floor, Tidjoori has a large, pleasant balcony for outside seating. Inside, the café is decorated simply with a colour scheme of white and grassy green, with glossy hazelnut-coloured wood and furniture that looks like it could be in a garden. Staff were pretty friendly and helpful on our last visit, and although one waiter decided to serve a huge platter so that it was sideways, hanging half off the table and over our lap, that is really the only issue we could raise. Beyond this, the waitress we primarily encountered – who tried again and again to get us connected to the wi-fi (before eventually giving up) – walked us over to the retail section to show us the flour mix when we enquired about the (excellent) bread served, and was generally an obliging and pleasant server.
That bread, which arrived at the beginning of the meal, was warm and freshly baked, and had a sweet, nutty flavour. It came with a tofu butter on the side (perhaps not one for non-vegan normal-butter eaters), and a selection of three different olive oils, which the waitress explained had a gradation of salt content.
On the à la carte menu you’ll find breakfast dishes (served until noon), salads, soups, pizzas, burgers and main courses, which range from cevapcici skewers (made, of course, with tofu), risotto and vegan-Bolognese pasta dishes. From that selection, the salads were described as ‘appetiser’ size but were in fact big, generous portions that could well fill up someone with a small appetite. The ‘ocean beach burger’ salad was a simple, home-made dish that tasted refreshing, light and healthy. On a huge bed of mixed leaves sat cubes of barely cooked zucchini, broccoli and peppers, plus plentiful slices of the ‘ocean beach’ tofu, which bizarrely did seem to have a slight, yet concentrated fishy taste. This was smothered in a vegan remoulade, which had all the acidic, creamy qualities of the original recipe.
From the selection of burgers and sandwiches, the almond burger arrived looking just as fat-man-tastic as a normal burger. Placed on a huge wooden platter with golden, glossy, highly polished grains visible, it came with a portion of air-fried French fries, house-made vegan ketchup and mayonnaise. The fries looked golden and crisp at the edges just like the real, deep-fried thing, but inevitably didn’t taste the same, since the insides were very floury. Still, not a bad ‘healthy’ cheat dish. The burger came in floury ciabatta that was fresh and tasty, but too stiff and crisp to give a little with the inevitable mess that comes with eating a crammed burger. And this one was a flavour-packed tofu patty, filled with sunflower seeds and almond, plus avocado, raw onion rings, sliced tomato and more of that vegan remoulade. A surprisingly very satisfying (and very filling) vegan burger experience.
Tidjoori instantly differs from other vegan eateries in Dubai since it’s firstly all-vegan and secondly not focused on other philosophies such as gluten-free, raw and so on. Thirdly, the food at Tidjoori feels a bit like ‘normal’ food, only it’s actually vegan. As such, you’ll notice tofu used in the manner of a meat substitute and dishes such as big, filling pizzas and burgers still on the menu. Some vegans may not like this. But while we found the food to be perhaps less complex in both creation and flavour, it was certainly more satisfying in terms of portion size and therefore value for money. In short, this is like food for vegans who miss food.
The bill (for one) 1x rustic beach salad Dhs54 1x almond burger Dhs69 1x chocolate ganache cake Dhs29 1x smoothie Dhs29 1x small water Dhs12 Total (excluding service) Dhs193