Originally opened in Montreal, Canada back in 1993, and now with branches across the globe, eggspectation is one of the many new additions to The Beach at JBR. As with the other eateries in this sea-facing district, the café has an ambient outdoor dining area, but also boasts attractive interiors. Within this light and spacious dining room, there is an urban, New York vibe of dangly, industrial light fittings, vintage posters, graffiti artwork, exposed brickwork and muted greys.
Despite walking the floor in t-shirts stating that they are all in training, staff are generally welcoming, friendly and in several cases have that smiley State-side eagerness to their waiting-style. After one request for a change of sharing plates, one waiter was intuitive enough to ask later in the meal if this might be required again, and as such the overall tone was one of efficient friendliness.
As the café’s name suggests, egg-fuelled breakfast dishes dominate the menu, offered in various guises including riffs on eggs Benedict, omelettes, full breakfasts and more. These breakfast dishes are, however, available throughout the day, and to illustrate just how breakfast-focussed the all day diner is, even in the evening the bread basket arrives with more jam than butter.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of additional options including whole pages each of flatbreads, burgers, salads and pasta, with a notable number of mac ‘n’ cheese recipes among them.
The tropical chicken salad was a large and generous plate of fresh, baby spinach leaves and chunks of tropical fruits (melon, mango, papaya) offering a bright, colourful and healthy boost. The chicken itself was doused in a sweet, fruity marinade, which was a little startling at first (perhaps it helps the waking up process), but ultimately cohesive and very enjoyable for those that tend to like a sweet-savoury cross-over. The signature eggs Benedict comprised beautifully cooked, runny and sunshine-orange yolks in the poached eggs, with not particularly great quality (but thick) slices of smoked salmon and a slightly overly acidic hollandaise. This sat on slices of (albeit fresh, and fluffy, but not toasted) brown bread, instead of brioche or muffins. A healthier, although unexpected alternative. On the side of this egg dish (for further confirmation of the café’s healthy, breakfast-focussed intentions) is a plentiful and varied array of fresh fruit.
The Montreal poutine (a French Canadian dish of cheese curd, chips and gravy sauce that has been increasingly popping up in Dubai) was extremely disappointing due to the quality of the actual chips. Despite the gravy and halloumi curd both being decent, the chips looked pale, lacked crispiness, and tasted like a poor quality fast-food equivalent. From the list of mac ‘n’ cheese recipes, a fairly indulgent lobster recipe seemed to be a must-try, and proved to be the pick of the dishes sampled too. Amply filled with large chunks of lobster flesh (for Dhs84) this was combined with penne pasta and a homely textured sauce, full of thick, stretchy, stringy chunks of melted cheese and diced tomato.
For a ‘breakfast-brunch’ selection of dishes this is a pleasant and affordable place for simple cooking, whatever time of day your stomach starts rumbling.
The bill (for two)
1x smoked salmon Benedict Dhs65
1x tropical chicken salad Dhs65
1x Montreal poutine Dhs38
1x Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese Dhs84
2x juice Dhs59
1x large water Dhs15
2x tea Dhs28
Total (excluding service) Dhs354