Time Out Says
Own Café is one of a spate of new cafes in JLT, but in this instance, offering a more Arabic and shisha-focussed concept. Located in a quieter corner of the lake district, it is a large venue, with a sizeable space on the promenade taken up with tables and chairs and a wide, open expanse of window running along the shop front, allowing us to peer inside.
We waltzed in and a friendly Arabic manager welcomed us, asking what we fancied eating that evening and promising that they could satisfy pretty much any desire. We were lead to a table of cleanly designed, boxy white arm chairs. Separated into two areas, the large dining space inside was designed in icy white, with playful tinges of fuchsia pink and the occasional stylised silhouette illustration adorning the walls. The air was heavy with the fruity smell of shisha and the sounds of hopeful singing from Arab Idol contestants. When we visited on a Friday evening, the café was quite busy, notably with an entirely Arabic clientele, most of whom where puffing away, whilst watching this TV show on screens dotted at every corner. In fact guests were enjoying Arab Idol so much, we noticed a few clap- sing- and dance-along incidents.
The menu offered interna-tional choices, such as pizza, pasta, sandwiches and steak. But the more involved selection was the Lebanese-style mezze and grills, so we stuck to these. Considering the venue was fairly busy, we found the service pretty efficient.
From a lengthy selection of hummus varieties, we took the recommendation of the hummus with nuts, which had a delicate touch of cinnamon and a woody-nuttiness. The warak enab (stuffed vine leaves) had a good texture to leaf and stuffing, which was neither as tightly packed or as dry as other versions. The chicken livers in debs el reman (pomegranate molasses sauce) and fattousch salad were nicely prepared and enjoyable. We also ordered the fattet makdous made with aubergine, crisp pieces of fried bread and minced meat.
If you’re after an indoor shisha spot over the hot summer (and a spot of Arabic sing-along, since there is also karaoke on Wednesday nights), Own Café is a pleasant, affordable option.
The bill (for two)
1x fattet makdous Dhs21
1x fattousch Dhs24
1x hummus with nuts Dhs25
1x chicken livers Dhs25
1x warak enab Dhs22
1x large mineral water Dhs12
Total (excluding service) Dhs129
By Time Out Dubai staff | 09 Jul 2013
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