AROUND THE MID­DLE EAST

Judg­ing by the slew of cre­ative, lo­cally owned cafés, Emi­rati chefs and restau­ran­teurs are cook­ing up a storm

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Contents - See our full list of 27 Emi­rati-founded cafés at cn­trav­ellerme.com

Emi­rati chefs and restau­ran­teurs are cook­ing up a storm in a slew of lo­cally owned cafés

DUBAI

3 FILS

Emi­ratis Ahmed Ab­dul­hakim and Ad­nan Ali part­nered with Sin­ga­porean chef Ak­mal Anuar to open this low-key water­front spot in Jumeirah Fish­ing Har­bour. With lit­tle more than a hand­ful of ta­bles and no op­tion to re­serve in ad­vance (with the ex­cep­tion of the four-per­son chef’s counter), seats are a hot com­mod­ity. Once you score one, a small but high-qual­ity menu in­cludes some of the fresh­est tuna sashimi in town, lamb ribs cooked to ten­der per­fec­tion

and karak ice cream.

Sushi from AED 38; 00971-4-333 4003, 3fils.com

CO­COV­ILLE

Launched in 2013, owner Aye­sha Al Hashimi looked to Val­rhona, France, known for its ex­cel­lent choco­late, to source the in­gre­di­ents for her sweet shop. Her meth­ods proved a suc­cess, lead­ing to three lo­ca­tions across Dubai. It’s the bright, Provençal-style Jumeirah 1 café, right on Beach Road, where you’ll want to head for savoury break­fast dishes, spe­cial­ity cof­fees and – nat­u­rally – a va­ri­ety of choco­late. Think brownie milk­shakes, a choco­late-planet globe and the sig­na­ture “coco pod”, a dry-ice-filled choco­late pod which molten choco­late is poured in to max­i­mum dra­matic ef­fect and deca­dence. Choco­late desserts from AED 21; 00971-4-338

9786, the­co­cov­ille.com

SHE BURGER

Shaikha Eissa wanted to be a cook from a young

age and got her start whip­ping up burg­ers for her brother’s friends. The boys dis­played a seem­ingly end­less ap­petite for her cre­ations, so she be­gan play­ing with flavours and fill­ings, cre­at­ing burger com­bos such as “bur­rata over beef” and the well-spiced “call 911”. Soon she was sell­ing some 5,000 slid­ers per week from her Mirdiff kitchen through or­ders taken via What­sApp. She’s since moved into an ac­tual shop at Dar Wasl Mall with a full menu of in­ven­tive burg­ers and fries, where even HH Sheikh Ham­dan has been spot­ted tuck­ing in. Burg­ers from AED 37, 00971-4-333 3258,

in­sta­gram.com/she_burger

SOME­WHERE

A café with walls lined in travel books is a tan­ta­lis­ing enough lure, but add to that global

mash-ups from the same minds be­hind favourites Salt, Grind and Switch (Amal Al Marri

and Deem Al­bas­sam), and we’re def­i­nitely on board to let the menu, as it states, “take us some­where”. Lo­cated in Dubai Mall’s new Fash­ion

Av­enue ex­ten­sion, try mul­ti­cul­tural com­bos like the beef-shawarma bao and shrimp ku­nafa, and belly up to the hum­mus bar for new mix­tures like a kicky jalapeño bell-pep­per ver­sion and an­other

with creamy gua­camole.

Shar­ing plates from AED 31; 00971-4-329 5182,

takeme­some­where.ae

ABU DHABI

NO. FIFTYSEVEN BOU­TIQUE CAFÉ

Fol­low­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of The Din­ner Club by No.57, co-cre­ators Buthaina Al Mazrui and Alamira Noor Bani Hashim opened this café in

Al Ba­teen Har­bour to give fans of the tai­lor­made and ever-chang­ing con­cept a ded­i­cated

spot to try their homey yet so­phis­ti­cated fare. Be­hind a glass-front façade, mod­ern in­te­ri­ors in stylishly con­trast­ing black and white tones make for an up­scale at­mos­phere in which to nosh on dishes such as quinoa but­ter chicken, truf­fled scram­bled eggs and cheese­burger spring rolls. Starters from AED 25; 00971-2-441 6100,

no57.com

STREET 9 CAFÉ

Saydh Al Suwaidi cre­ated this Al For­san Vil­lage Town Square café, kit­ted out with leather so­fas, wooden ta­bles and hang­ing plants, to share her favourite street food and other cuisines dis­cov­ered on her trav­els. Some dishes are served up with lo­cal twists – think saf­fron risotto and pis­ta­chio cheese­cake – and the café aims to show that street food isn’t syn­ony­mous with cheap qual­ity. A yak­isoba with fried prawns and chicken bal­ances the right amount of savoury and spicy, while a new take on prawn curry fea­tures a novel yet de­li­cious creamy mush­room sauce. En­trées from AED 50; 00971-2-666 6949,

in­sta­gram.com/street­ninecafe

SHAR­JAH

PAPER FIG DESSERTS

Hus­band-and-wife team Nawal Al­nu­aimi and Ahmed Al­mazrouei co-own this dessert­fo­cussed café in Univer­sity City. Charm abounds

from the mo­ment you step in­side, from the wooden counter over­look­ing the street out­side

to mous­tache- and stiletto-em­bel­lished wash­room doors. Though desserts – like the “blos­som feast” of rooi­bos-tea crème anglaise, rasp­berry sponge cake, vanilla panna cotta, choco­late crumbs, pis­ta­chio ice cream and flow­ers – are the star, don’t over­look the menu of savoury plates that changes sea­son­ally. Desserts from AED 38; 600-56 0601,

pa­per­fig.ae

RA­TIOS COF­FEE

Find this cof­fee shop creek­side in The Heart

of Shar­jah, with dé­cor ac­cents made with re­claimed wood from a trad­ing dhow owned by the founder’s fam­ily. The brain­child of Khalid Faisal Al Qassemi, who was on the hunt for the pre­fect brew, this caf­feine-laden spot works with spe­cial­ity mi­cro-cof­fee roast­ers from the re­gion and boasts an Über Boiler, a Che­mex cof­fee-maker, a hand­made Sy­nesso es­presso ma­chine and all the cof­fee ac­cou­trements one could hope for to achieve the cor­rect ra­tios to

cre­ate your ideal cuppa.

Cof­fee from AED 17; 00971-6-555 0770,

ra­tios.cof­fee

AJ­MAN

LA VILLA CAFÉ

In Al Jerf near Al Zo­rah Golf Club, Maryam Al­Nu­aimi fuses Euro­pean and Emi­rati flavours in her aptly named café in­side a villa. In a warm set­ting in­spired by French de­sign, the menu cov­ers all the bases, from break­fast and buzzy quenchers to hearty mains and plenty of desserts. Nib­ble on corn with grilled hal­loumi and za­atar and lab­neh toast for a taste of

Mid­dle East-meets-West.

Starters from AED 30; 00971-6-747 6888,

lv­cafe.ae

LIGMA W YIGHMA

At this café near Aj­man Univer­sity, you can

in­dulge in a lit­tle les­son, whether you’re reg­is­tered as a stu­dent or not. When Ibti­sam Al Suwaidi opened this spot, which trans­lates to “bite and sip”, it was with the in­ten­tion to help teach oth­ers about the lo­cal di­alect as well as ap­pease vis­i­tors’ ap­petites. Be­yond the

café’s name, look to place mats, take-away cups and plates bear­ing phrases from Emi­rati po­ems, songs and say­ings to dive deeper into the cul­ture. Tra­di­tional ligma in­cludes foul and balaleet (sweet ver­mi­celli), while for a yighma you can try karak and hot milk with saf­fron. Bites from AED 3; 00971-6-731 8444,

in­sta­gram.com/lig­mayighma

Fre­man­tle oc­to­pus at 3 Fils. Op­po­site: PaperFig in Shar­jah

A Nutella cap­pu­cino at No. FiftySeven Bou­tique Café

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