Everything was going so well with your lady love and then you went and ruined it all by turning into a beer-swilling slob and ignoring her for two years. She left you and, as the Jackson Five used to squeal in unison, you want her back. You need to show another side to your character: a caring, sensitive person, a reformed character with a surplus of taste, no interest in booze and his finger firmly glued to the pulse of the city. Take her to Shakespeare and Co.
This alcohol-free restaurant occupies the back part of Kendah house on Sheikh Zayed Road, and flows over into a charming outside area built around a large central cage filled with bright-plumed birds and a water pump. Part of Shakespeare’s charm is that it has all the attributes of a cool, snug café: battered sofas to loll in, books and magazines to browse and plenty of idiosyncratic touches. There’s a mezzanine floor, which allows you to look down on fellow diners from above, or cosy up in its homely back room.
However, underneath it all you can still make out the corporate office block in which it resides, and this too is part of the appeal: Shakespeare is battling a world of marble-slabbed uniformity with quirkiness and flair. Not only this, but they’re serving some wonderful food at the same time. The menu is full of healthy, innovative ideas, with lots of salads and pasta dishes. It’s the sort of place you could eat at every day for a week and not get bored: particular favourites are the homemade lasagne and gnocchi with a nutty cheese sauce. The last time we visited, a piri-piri salad with slices of squid and chili was particularly excellent, as was the slice of walnut pie.
Shakespeare’s low-key, laidback atmosphere makes it perfect for a serious chat: take a quiet table, order up some good food and a fruit punch and try to resurrect your relationship. No burping.