Dubai Marina & Dubai Media City
Breakfast for dinner
This café and restaurant is buzzing during breakfast. At the weekend, you could find yourself waiting for a table for up to 45 minutes, which is testament to its popularity. As suggested in the name, the focus is on eggs, with everything from lobster and eggs on a muffin to a traditional American-style dish of steak and eggs. For those with a hearty appetite, go for the California Dreamin’ – two perfectly scrambled eggs mixed with diced, sautéed red onions and green peppers on an English muffin, topped with tomato concassé and hollandaise sauce, goat’s cheese and Lyonnaise-style potatoes. The dish is well-presented and the flavours complement each other perfectly.
Daily 7am-midnight. The Beach, JBR, Dubai Marina (04 4307 252).
Leopold’s of London
This bistro-style beachside café has a cool, urban edge, but still feels inviting and comfortable enough to lounge in for hours. The breakfast list is extensive and varied – including classics such as eggs Benedict and omelettes, as well as quiches and muesli. High expectations abound for the ‘Breakfast of Kings’, and the dish lives up to its ambitions. It’s a regal feast of homemade braised beans, tomatoes still on the vine and poached eggs on sourdough toast. The healthy breakfast of tomato ragu chickpeas comes topped with slices of grilled halloumi that give the rich tomato flavour a salty kick. Staff are expert at handling the busy breakfast rush and overall, the food is faultless.
Daily 8am-noon. The Beach, JBR, Dubai Marina, www.leopoldsoflondon.com (04 430 6841).
Star-spangled breakfasts served in whopping portions and with plenty of syrupy side sauces is standard fare at this family-friendly American import. Half a dozen varieties of pancake stacks – including a gut-busting New York Cheesecake flavour – are the signature dishes. We found them, like our French toast, which also lacked a distinctive eggyness, to be a little dry. So the four varieties of syrup come in handy. A big steak omelette with a salsa side is enough to fill you for the day and we like the option of a breakfast sampler, which has a combo of eggs and beef bacon as well as pancakes and a hash brown.
Daily 6am-midnight. The Walk, JBR, Dubai Marina, www.ihop.ae (04 361 2410).
The Marina setting makes this café a good spot for a leisurely breakfast and a stroll. The eggs Benedict comes smothered in a creamy hollandaise sauce and good amounts of spinach and smoked salmon. Ordering a large English breakfast, meanwhile, leads to a string of questions on the preferred style of eggs, choice of juice, type of toast, tea or coffee – it’s highly customisable to taste preferences. There are also nearly 40 options of tea and coffee.
Sat-Wed 8am-11pm, Thu-Fri 8am-midnight. Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, www.littlemore.co (04 432 4608).
Overlooking Dubai Media City’s main lake, sunlight streams through Urban Bistro’s floor-to-ceiling windows first thing in the morning. Perfect for a breakfast meeting or catching up with your emails before you hit the office (for those working in the area, at least), the menu is extensive, with a range of healthy and more indulgent hot options (breakfast burritos, gluten-free porridge) alongside simple options such as toast or a croissant with butter and jam. The healthy breakfast, featuring two free-range organic poached eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, beetroot, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and (what tastes like) homemade brown toast is well worth trying.
Daily 7.30am-11.30am. CNN Building, Dubai Media City, www.urbanbistro.ae (04 362 4330).
JLT & The Lakes
This light and airy café in JLT is the perfect setting for breakfast. Although Fraîche doesn’t offer a view of the lake, the minimalist decor is inviting and the staff are friendly and attentive throughout. There are plenty of choices on the breakfast menu, mostly featuring eggs, although there are also a couple of pancake and French toast options. The eggs Florentine is an indulgent choice: poached eggs, spinach and salmon on English muffins, topped with béarnaise sauce and served alongside some fried potatoes. Every Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4pm, you can eat all you like for Dhs75 per person.
Sun-Thu 8am-11.30am, Fri-Sat 8am-4pm. Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT, www.fraiche.ae (04 369 7821).
An inviting cafe with rustic furniture, stone floor and warm plum and yellow tones dominating the colour scheme. Featuring both European and Arabian classics, the breakfast menu is deliciously tempting. The Nofara baked shakshouka – a tomato-based dish containing peppers and spices topped with organic eggs, a pine nut and herb crumble and feta cheese – is a rich and warming dish that is a pure delight to eat. The eggs remain deliciously runny in the middle while baked solid around the edges, giving it a pleasant mix of textures and flavours. There are omelettes and other items on display, and all are very good indeed.
Daily 8am-10pm. Cluster Y, JLT, www.nofaracafe.com (04 432 2023).
Reform Social & Grill
This popular gastropub commands a loyal following from nearby residents. The breakfast menu features a varied, but not wildly extensive, list of classics from the full English to granola, eggs Florentine and English muffins with preserves. There’s even a double ‘belly buster’ full English, if you think you’re hard enough. But a simple order of scrambled eggs on (butterless) sourdough, sprinkled with fresh chives, is a satisfying and not-too-heavy way to start the day.
The Lakes, www.reformsocialgrill.ae (04 454 2538).
Jumeirah & Al Wasl
Healthy Breakfast, Local Ingredients
Full of diners in gym gear refuelling post-workout (everything is sugar and dairy-free), this healthy café has a casual feel, and sofas in the courtyard make for lazy lounging. The huge juice and smoothie list includes adventurous options (black lemonade made with activated charcoal) alongside standard combinations. Food is on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for: chia pudding that doesn’t skimp on chia seeds and whole vanilla pods in the sweet and creamy honey oatmeal pudding. The buckwheat pancakes with scrambled eggs and avocado are heartier, but still feel light and wholesome, leaving you comfortably full rather than bloated.
Daily 8.30am-noon. 102 Jumeirah Beach Road, www.comptoir102.com (04 385 4555).
Focusing on all-American recipes with a twist, Mo’s is popular with families and offers a relaxed dining environment. Choose from a variety of pancakes, French toast dishes and bagels or go for the Ultimate Breakfast – not for the faint-hearted – featuring three pancakes, two eggs cooked to your preference, tater tots and a choice of veal bacon or beef or turkey sausage. The pancakes are fluffy and served warm with a creamy whipped butter and maple syrup. The breakfast is substantially portioned for the price and will keep you going for the rest of the day.
Sun-Thu 8am-noon, Fri-Sat 8am-1pm. Citywalk, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1 (04 344 3305).
Healthy Breakfast, Local Ingredients
Located in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, breakfast here is almost entirely gluten-free and locally sourced, while many dishes are raw, vegan, or dairy-free. But what Omnia doesn’t cut out is flavour. The shakshouka is a warming and spicy mix of tomatoes, free-range eggs and feta cheese, while the quinoa porridge with clusters of granola and berries provides a satisfying start. This spot is particularly popular at weekends, so if you want a sea-facing outdoor table (at next door Omnia Blue), it’s best to reserve in advance.
Daily 9am-noon. Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah 2, www.omniagourmet.co (04 343 7181).
Popular with families and the occasional solo diner, breakfast here is a very good-looking affair. The presentation of the food is excellent – the mango granola, for example, comes deconstructed with juicy chunks of the fruit atop a bed of sweet granola and super creamy yoghurt – and the fresh juices are served in cute jars with stripy straws. The breakfast menu is small, but everything is made fresh, even down to the tomato ketchup. Don’t expect massive portions though, even the Big Breakfast isn’t huge, but every mouthful is worth savouring.
Daily 8am-noon. Mercato Mall, Jumeirah. Other locations: Cedre Villas, Silicon Oasis; Trade Centre Road, Karama, www.tastekitchen.ae (04 344 4161).
Despite the ongoing construction in Safa Park, The Archive feels calm and peaceful with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking still-lush grass and palms. Classic breakfasts are jazzed up here: caramelised banana and fudgy date ‘granola’ tops the yoghurt and fluffy coconut flour pancakes are served with a tropical melon compote. An integrated library space is dotted with people working on laptops, so solo diners won’t feel out of place, and you could easily spend hours eating, sipping coffee and browsing the fascinating books on art and design in the Arab world. We recommend you do.
Daily 8am-8pm. Gate 1, Safa Park, www.thearchivedubai.tumblr.com (04 349 4033).
DIFC & Downtown Dubai
Healthy Breakfast, Local Ingredients
Displays of tempting fruit and veg and interesting bread and cakes give Baker&Spice a farmer’s market feel, but this café offers more than a few homemade pastries. The spinach and feta omelette is generous and tasty, while blueberry pancakes are light and fluffy with a moreish side of mascarpone and plum compote. Our highlight is the green shakshouka, which comes with four just-soft eggs sizzling in a tangy, fragrant soup of spinach, onions, cumin and coriander. Smiling staff couldn’t be more helpful and they know the menu well, too.
Daily 8am to 11pm. Souk Al Bahar (04 425 2240). Other location: Marina Promenade (04 362 4686).
Clinton Street Baking Company
Breakfast for Dinner
Famed as New York’s home of pancakes and all-day breakfast dining, if you are looking for a hearty, American-style morning meal, you can’t go far wrong. The choices feature egg dishes (including Mexican-style huevos rancheros), southern favourite fried chicken and waffles, and more. But we recommend you (at least attempt to) finish the plate of pancakes. You get a choice of flavours (blueberry, banana and walnut or chocolate chip), and what arrives is a fat stack of three giant, fresh and fluffy beasts – one of the better examples of American breakfast pancakes in Dubai.
Daily 8am-4pm, 6pm-11pm. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai (04 428 1331).
Fournil de Pierre
The Galette au Saumon here knows it’s good and has a price-tag (Dhs52) to match. C’est la vie. Go try it. Knockout smoked salmon, sprinkled with capers and smeared randomly with cream cheese sits inside the folds of a thin, flaky crêpe-cum-cake, while a delicious fresh side salad with vinegary drizzles cuts through it all in style. The interiors are similarly tempting, fresh-cooked pastries gaze at you from a glass-fronted counter, while the tables and chairs seem airlifted in from Cannes. Great for the weekend papers.
Daily 7am-2.30am. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 420 3070).
Sitting in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa and the spend-zone of The Dubai Mall (and therefore perfect for a spot of pre-shopping sustenance), Maison Bagatelle delivers a truly Parisian experience – from a decadent menu to service that’s either authentic or a little surly. Which probably means both. The setting, though, is bustly, and equally good for either work or friends, while the Crêpes Complete, a savoury pillow of scrambled eggs, beef bacon, mushrooms and cheese, folded up in the crêpes themselves, just about avoids stodge.
Daily 9am-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 420 3442).
The setting in this posh British eatery is comfortable, inviting and relaxed, and not particularly busy for breakfast. That said, staff are extremely welcoming and attentive. The morning menu isn’t extensive, but what you get is a real treat. There’s a thoroughly English breakfast on offer as well as eggs cooked in all styles. The eggs Arlington – a perfectly soft poached egg atop slithers of smoked salmon on a large, light and fluffy homemade English muffin, all topped with a deliciously thick, rich hollandaise sauce – is perhaps the best example of the poached eggs dish we’ve tried. From the professional service to the quality of food, the full experience of The Ivy feels second only to somewhere a bit livelier...
Daily 7.30am-11am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.theivy.ae (04 319 8767).
Sheikh Zayed Road & Al Quoz
Bystro Restaurant & Pastry House
This light, fresh, family-friendly café with excellent staff offers a great selection of coffee, and waiters will recommend some for you, based on what you like. There’s also a very impressive glass chiller in the centre of the restaurant filled with cakes, pastries and desserts. Breakfasts are varied – try the huevos rancheros for a Mexican-style meal, or smoked salmon rarebit, served on rye bread with scrambled eggs and truffle oil for something a little different.
Daily 8am-4pm. Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Manara, www.bystrodubai.com (04 336 8056).
The Lime Tree Café
Taking a seat on a sunlit bench in the back at the Jumeirah branch of this popular chain is a delightful way to start the weekend. Try the eggs Florentine – soft poached eggs perched on lightly-done spinach and nutty, chewy bread, topped with a generous heaping of hollandaise. The ‘big breakfast’, with grilled tomato, mushrooms and egg is a success, except perhaps for its name – maybe another egg or two would justify its ‘big’ title. Service is swift, although you order and pay at the tills at the front before your food is brought, so there shouldn’t be too many hold-ups. The stacks of magazines and newspapers, free wi-fi and children’s play area at the back, all make it easy to while away a few hours.
Daily 8am- 6pm. Jumeirah Beach Road, next to Spinney’s (04 325 6325). Other locations: Next to The Courtyard Gallery, Al Quoz; Gold & Diamond Park, Sheikh Zayed Road.
This industrial-looking, Melbourne-inspired café in Al Quoz is an excellent spot for breakfast. The diminutive list of breakfast dishes features traditional dishes given a shake-up such as the eggs Benedict. You’ll get one fluffy side of muffin, topped with poached eggs that burst with bright orange goo as you cut into them, slices of smoked salmon, a fresh crunch of superfood du jour kale, and buttery hollandaise, with a bright, acidic yuzu in there. Those feeling fragile should try the hefty, hearty beast that is the beef breakfast burrito, served all day.
Sun-Thu 8am-11.50am, Fri and Sat 8am-4.30pm. Al-Joud Centre, Al Quoz, near ACE Hardware, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 338 8934).
The inside of this cultural workshop-meets-café may not wow, but you come to Creekside for the stunning views. Sit outside, between the abras and the souks to enjoy a beautiful view of Old Dubai and the Creek as you dine. The breakfast menu is stunning, and on it you’ll find an exciting modernisation of Emirati dishes as well as European classics given a Middle Eastern twist. Try the Emirati-style rgag: scrambled egg encased in a sweet and doughy roll of bread and topped with aromatic truffle and tarragon butter. For those who like to start the day in sweeter style, opt for French toast – an elegant combination of fresh berries, Arabic coffee custard and smoked date jam.
Daily 8am-8pm. Next to Ruler’s Court, Bur Dubai (04 359 9220).
Klayya Bakery and Sweets
Set upstairs in the quiet Al Barsha Mall, this small café, which is brightened up with colourful patterned cushions and seats, is a favourite with local mums and families. It’s not hard to see why. Klayya was one of the first cafés in Dubai to serve Emirati food. The breakfast dishes all come with a karak tea and traditional breads. Try the ryood yerena – baked eggs in a tin pot on a bed of sticky, sweet dates. Also good is the ryoog Bur Dubai, a shakshouka-type dish with eggs baked in a sweet tomato sauce with a hint of chilli.
Daily 8.30am-10pm. Al Barsha Mall, Al Barsha (04 325 5335).
Pancake fever in Downtown
Pancake fanatics: get ready for February at Clinton Street Baking Company. To mark Shrove Tuesday on February 17,the café is offering limited-edition specials throughout the month. Recipes range from pistachio frangipane with cherries (available February 23-24), to Japanese pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin seed streusel and warm maple butter (available February 11-13).
Prices vary. Until February 28. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai (04 428 1331).
Each year, the state of Massachusetts attempts the world’s biggest pancake breakfast, with more than 70,000 servings doled out in one morning. That’s a 3.2km-high stack of pancakes! Since the town where this takes place is Springfield, we can’t help but wonder if Homer Simpson is involved.
We’re all familiar with that oft-quoted concept that breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day’. However, did you know that the first written reference to this actually comes from Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, written in 1915. That’s right, you’re following health advice from a fictional man-meets-beetle.
A 16-year study conducted by Harvard University led to the conclusion that men who skip breakfast have a 21 percent higher risk of developing type two diabetes.
In Kentucky, a study conducted on dogs illustrated that those who had been fed breakfast had a better chance of locating hidden items that they were challenged to find.
While meat and eggs is considered to be the quintessential English breakfast, there is evidence to suggest that this particular early morning combination actually originated in Ancient Egypt. Like most things, then.