Dubai’s vegetarians and vegans will be delighted by the attached supermarket, which sells plenty of organic and GM-free meat and daily alternatives. Naturally enough, we were keen to check out the adjacent café, but were disappointed by the limited range of vegetarian offerings.
The large café exudes a rustic charm, with warm wooden furniture, chandeliers made of cutlery, and mugs and coffee cups hanging from the high ceilings. Its size, however, means it lacks a certain cosiness and, seeing as we were the only customers and no music was playing, it was slightly off-putting being the only source of noise in such a large space.
At this early stage, the café’s menu lacks variety. All the hot main courses are meaty or fishy and one of the two vegetarian sandwiches was unavailable on our visit. At least a starter of white asparagus soup with freshly baked bread is an absolute treat. The freshness and simplicity of the soup was strikingly evident and the bread perfectly combined outer crustiness and inner fluffiness. Our char-grilled vegetable and feta focaccia were pleasing enough, and came with a variety of salads, but surely an organic café should be offering a far more enticing range of vegetarian options than the ubiquitous veggie sarnie.
We finished our meal with triple chocolate brownies, which arrived warm and in a coffee cup with a generous helping of whipped cream on the side. It was pretty special; a seriously intense chocolate experience enhanced by a fabulous variety of textures. Yet we left somewhat disenchanted by our experience. Although organic food and vegetarianism don’t necessarily go hand in hand, organic cafés are always going to appeal to people who don’t eat meat. This café urgently needs some interesting vegetarian main courses if it’s going to keep veggies on its side.