Swift, friendly service and a good selection of grub in DIFC
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Time Out Says

Let’s be clear on one thing: Freshii isn’t so much a restaurant as it is a long counter hidden away in the labyrinth of DIFC, purveying salads, sandwiches, soups and burritos at lightning speed every lunchtime. So why review a fast-growing, slightly smug health-food franchise that may one day be as prevalent as Starbucks (there are five more planned for the region)? Well, it’s the first branch in the UAE, and anyone who’s not hip and from North America probably won’t have heard of Freshii in the first place. Besides, I was pretty interested to find out what DIFC’s number-crunchers queue for come 12.30pm every day.

This said, on my visit I didn’t fancy the queue, so I took a seat at one of Freshii’s few tables and scribbled down my order on one of the self-service menus. The ‘let’s create it’ menu allows customers (as the name suggests) to build their own salad, wrap, soup, rice or noodle dish using premium toppings (prices vary for each), with options including ‘all-natural chicken’ (Dhs8), braised tofu (Dhs8), chopped almonds (Dhs3), and albacore tuna (Dhs7). Regular toppings, at Dhs1 a pop, include tomatoes, mushrooms, chickpeas, edamame and black beans.

Lazy as I am, however, I bypassed these creative options and plumped for the Bangkok burrito: a concoction of brown rice, chicken, carrots, cucumbers, beansprouts and peanut sauce. I also chose the spicy lemongrass soup and a fat-free probiotic yoghurt (I told you this place was ever-so-slightly smug), with blueberries and strawberries. I passed on my order to a chirpy waitress, who I noticed was taking subtle stage directions from the franchise owner – evidence that there’s a conscious effort to develop good service at Freshii, which I found encouraging.

Despite the queues, I didn’t have to wait too long for my order, though the frozen yoghurt arrived first, which meant starting my lunch back to front. Not that I minded a great deal – the yoghurt was excellent, and the fruit was delightfully fresh. A little while later came the burrito and soup – the former had been freshly prepared, and while it was bursting with fresh ingredients, it thankfully didn’t fall apart in my hands, which made for practical as well as delicious eating. The soup, served in a sturdy tub (perfect for slurping on the go), boasted similarly fresh ingredients, including grilled chicken, carrots, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, coriander and beans. The noodles were perhaps a little limp (a minor quibble), but top marks for taste.

This was not a bad lunch at all, and anyone looking for an early-morning food fix might be interested to know that Freshii serves breakfast: its combo deals feature oatmeal (organic, no less) or a breakfast wrap with Illy coffee or cup of tea for Dhs20.

The bill (for one)
1x Bangkok burrito Dhs30
1x Spicy lemongrass soup Dhs32
1x Fat-free probiotic yoghurt Dhs20
Total (excluding service) Dhs82

By Oliver Robinson  | 15 Nov 2010

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Dubai, DIFC, Unit TB1-28, Level TB1,DIFC Gate Building,Marble Walk,DIFC - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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