Le Gourmet Cafe & Restaurant
Time Out Says
Our first sight upon entering was a signpost pointing customers towards a fish market on the first floor and Mediterranean cuisine on the second, hinting that this would be an expansive, multi-concept venue. After further exploration we discovered that the café was indeed huge, offering several indoor and outdoor seating areas, although everything above the ground floor was closed.
The space was bright and airy, with a gentle marine theme: cobalt blue and clean white tones created a subtle hint of the Mediterranean.
We took a seat outside on the ground-floor terrace at the entrance to the café, which was large enough to offer a choice of sun or shade.
Service was polite and efficient, but lacking in warmth and character. One waitress was a little inconsistent in the knowledge she shared regarding the menu (the mezze platter doesn’t include tabbouleh, and the pizza isn’t really two-person size, although yes, it can obviously be shared), while it was difficult to extract a decent pizza recommendation from the waiter.
Making up our own minds about the menu, we decided to share everything and opted for the mezze platter, the Santorini grilled sardines and fried crab to start, and the Arabica pizza as a main course. The food arrived promptly, but unfortunately, despite specifying otherwise, every dish arrived at the same time, making it difficult to give each the attention it deserved or to enjoy them at their optimum temperature.
The mezze platter consisted of four classic dips (baba ganoush, moutabbal, labneh and hummus). They were all up to traditional standards and were served with warm, soft Arabic bread, which the waiter happily brought more of on request. The crab, which came as three whole beasts in the shells-*9, was fairly exhausting to eat without tools, and for very little flesh as a reward (that’s crab for you), but the flesh itself was enjoyable. The sardines (one of several Greek-inspired dishes on the menu) were acceptable, but overly brittle and dry in texture, and lacking in flavour. The pizza, on the other hand, was well prepared, with a good base and was really enjoyable, primarily thanks to the smoky, sweet and juicy beef salami on top.
The food at Le Gourmet Café is good and affordable, though it isn’t exceptional, and neither is the atmosphere. However, if you’re in the area or visiting the farmers’ market, it is certainly a pleasant afternoon spot.
The bill (for two)
1x sardines Dhs24
1x crab Dhs32
1x mezze platter Dhs37
1x pizza Dhs48
1x large water Dhs18
2x mocktail Dhs50
1x coffee Dhs15
Total (excluding service) Dhs224
By Penelope Walsh | 12 Mar 2013
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