Boutique concept café looks like a genuine Arabic home 15 Reviews
Abu Dhabi’s artiest café is doing brunch and you can choose between Arabic and continental. Dhs55 (from 8am-noon), Dhs75 (from noon-3.30pm) (Friday)
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It’s a safe bet that every person who visits Café Arabia spends a few private moments musing over how they could make their own home a little bit more like this one. The boutique ‘concept café’ looks like an elegant Arabian house, with expensive sofas, interesting artwork and tasteful bookshelves. It’s no kitsch pastiche of Middle Eastern style, hammed up for tourists – everything is tastefully arranged throughout the spacious and modern villa. The lighting feature, a series of deep-hued glass hanging lanterns, is a real showstopper, while cushions and a display of local souvenirs add colour and character to the place.
Owner Aida Mansour has given the menu a very personal touch and among the spread of European and local options is her grandmother’s favourite salad and other recipes provided by friends and family. The additional range of breakfast items, cakes and biscuits means the café functions as an all-day hub so you could just as easily visit for a lunch meeting, catch up with a group of friends or go for an evening meal.
Both our meals, Arabic seafood ruz and baked salmon, were presented in a homely, dinner party style – without the finesse of an upmarket restaurant but in generous, warming portions. The ruz, prepared like a risotto, was a comforting bowlful of rice with pesto, crunchy chunks of peppers and heaps of seafood. The baked salmon was alm tables and covered in hollandaise sauce. It was basic, but also very satisfying.
Café Arabia sets out to be a place where expats can spend some time in a welcoming local environment and it does succeed – we felt as though we’d been welcomed into the home of a sophisticated friend and just wished we could have stayed the night too.
The bill (for two)
Baked salmon Dhs65
Arabic seafood ruz Dhs55
Mint lemonade Dhs20
Ginger tea Dhs22
Total (excluding service) Dhs162
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
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