The Cauldron Cafe & Restaurant

Private basement dining in the Tourist Club Area
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Time Out Says

An almost unprecedented level of privacy seems to be Cauldron Café’s unique selling point, to the degree that you might expect only FBI agents gone bad to choose it for a lunchtime sandwich.

Deep in the bowels of the building, down a winding staircase, the dining area is sectioned off by wicker partitions into separate seating areas. The ancient sofas we carefully perched on were of the type usually only found in skips – skips left to rot in a post-apocalyptic ghetto.

Our tiny partition had an old television set that came on automatically at top volume when we sat down, blaring out racy videos of shimmying ladies. Until we found the plug socket to switch it off (the remote control didn’t work) we could barely hear our lunch companion speak, let alone the snatches of secret conversation emanating from other grottos around the basement. The atmosphere was illicit, to say the least.

The menu was a lacklustre list of sandwiches, pizza and very elaborate coffees, with a few Mexican, Chinese and Arabic dishes thrown in for good measure. Oh yes, and cornflakes, on the list of starters between garlic mushrooms and cheesy fries. Where else? Perhaps cereal is a Cauldron Café codeword. You order ‘the cornflakes please’ with a sinister emphasis and raised eyebrow and someone comes bursting through the wicker door with a list of nuclear codes. We didn’t order it, so we don’t know if that was the case.

What we do know for sure, however, is that this café isn’t accustomed to serving food. We ordered garlic mushrooms as a starter and sandwiches to follow, and when, after 45 minutes, nothing had arrived, we asked if we could get it to go. After another 15 minutes, there was still no food and our companion had to leave. So we sat there alone, staring at the exposed stone walls and listening to next door’s TV set tell Johnny Depp’s True Hollywood Story.

Twenty minutes later our miserable sandwiches turned up. The chicken roll was soggy, gristly and burnt. The haloumi cheese wrap was also soggy and burnt, and the mayonnaise was off. The mushrooms never made an appearance. Our verdict? If you’re a seedy spy with a suitcase to swap, head on down. If you want to eat food, go elsewhere.

The bill (for two)
Chicken roll sandwich Dhs20
Grilled haloumi sandwich Dhs20
Total (excluding service) Dhs40

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 06 Oct 2010

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FacilitiesDine In
Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
Show number +971 2 644 4309
Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah, Mina Road

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