Home-style café on Palm doesn't do enough to lure us back Reviews

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Most of us in Dubai are still too busy (read: lazy) to cook at home, so we can make ourselves feel better by eating ‘home-style’ food – simple dishes made from fresh ingredients, which, if you’re lucky, are sourced locally. Has Dubai finally grown tired of its Nero-esque consumption habits in favour of a more down-to-earth diet? We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but the recent influx of restaurant-café-grocers is indicative that the city’s dining scene is growing up by toning it down.

And so, we visited Sophie’s, an ‘Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well’ concept café courtesy of Markus Thesleff of Whissle Hospitality and Ramzy Abdul Majeed of Okku. With such a debonair pair lending their names to the project, we had high hopes for Sophie’s. Such hopes soon plummeted back down to earth on the discovery that we wouldn’t be dining on feel-good, fresh food with views of the sleek Riva resort on the Palm Jumeirah in which Sophie’s is set; rather we’d be sat in an overly air-conditioned, windowless basement.

The lack of natural light is compensated for with bright furniture, friendly staff, bucolic, waterfall-strewn murals and even an Astroturf feature wall. Bizarre, yes, but the abundance of fresh fruit piling up on the counter did at least suggest that the menu was more authentic than the view. Ordering proved a no-nonsense affair – we were invited to point to our chosen meaty main dish behind the glass display counter, as well as two salad sides, before drifting over to our table next to aforementioned Astroturf wall.

My date had picked the chicken Milanese, which proved to be a mistake: the chicken was tough and dry (and the fact it was fried didn’t do much for Sophie’s health-conscious credentials). Her salads were far
better – the white beans were soft, simple, fresh and filling, while the chunks of pumpkin were embellished with bright baby spinach leaves. My meatballs, bathed in an inoffensive tomato sauce, proved a better choice of main, especially with the zesty quinoa side and creamy pumpkin hummus that I’d ordered as accompaniments (I only learned when I received the bill that the pumpkin hummus was not included – a point that could have been made clearer by the waitress).

The highlight of our visit, however, was the fresh juices (my date and I had ordered beetroot and carrot, and beetroot and apple respectively), which are bound to prove popular with The Palm’s body-conscious residents in search of a quick and easy (though not necessarily cheap) lunchtime fix.

For us, however, Sophie’s was a little too homely to lure us all the way to The Palm to eat there again.

The bill (for one)
1x Meatballs with quinoa salad
1x Chicken Milanese with pumpkin salad Dhs60
1x Pumpkin hummus Dhs15
1x Large apple and beetroot juice Dhs27
1x Medium beetroot and carrot juice Dhs22
Total (excluding service) Dhs184

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 430 9466
  • Travel: Riva Complex, Building 8, Shoreline Apartments
  • Times: Open daily 10am-8pm
  • Price: Dhs50-200
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: John on 26 Feb ' 14 at 16:31
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The food was very mediocre and much too expensive. There are many other places in Dubai that do this kind of restaurant better.

Service was also not good. I do not recommend anyone waste their time or money on this place.

Posted by: anonymus on 28 Jan ' 13 at 05:52
  • Best for: Family friendly

Loved the food and location was great as I live on the Palm. The only downfall was the price. I spent dhs80 on lunch when I feel it should of been half that. Id probably go once in a while but if it was a little less id be there multiple times in the week !

Posted by: Sarah K on 01 Feb ' 12 at 13:18
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I was actually quite charmed by this spot so am surprised at the scathing review. It's a casual, deli-style place so has no illusions of fine dining. Yes, it is indoors, but I didn't find it opressive or dark- I liked the quirky, green decor. There is a selection of salads which were all very tasty and filling, and you can either have them on their own (which is great for vegetarians and what i would opt for) or with a main; fish, meatballs, chicken etc. The fresh juices were delicious- but the real draw for me is the cake selection. The caramel-like melba cake, with a RAW caffe latte, is a real treat. The Palm has a dearth of easy spots to stop in to for a casual, quick bite- and I don't think people from DIFC will be making the trek- but for those of us who live this side of town, this does the trick.

Posted by: Mat on 28 Jan ' 12 at 10:50
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Posted by: Beata on 27 Jan ' 12 at 05:44
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Chairs are nice,but not comfortable. Cushions would help. Food was not exciting, neither were the vegetarian options, except for salads.

Posted by: mary-ann deboverick on 25 Jan ' 12 at 19:30
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

i find this cute little deli like restaurant a breath of fresh air, although it is situated inside a building. the scenery inside is really very nice and i absolutely love the wooden tree like table - it's a must have for my beach house! the service was very good with friendly staff and the most beautiful red head manageress who helped us with a smile. we all loved the food, especially the fresh fruit drinks. i will go back there again and take my friends with. it reminds me of a garden deli restaurant i visited on a wine farm in cape town.very relaxed. sophies, don,t let the critics spoil your fun. you have a good thing going there.

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