Go to one of these places, order a flat white and you’ll get more than a watery latte…
The flat white is an Antipodean institution – you will have heard your Kiwi or Aussie mates go on about how hard it is to find a good one in the city (as your eyes glaze over). But, it’s the truth – while many cafes in Dubai have now caught on to the flat white trend, too many just don’t know how to make them – even the coffee specialists.
Order one and you’ll end up with an over-extracted and watery latte. Not pleasant.
So, we’ve drawn up a list of the places to get a good ‘flattie’ in Dubai. This isn’t necessarily a definitive list – it’s a tried and tested one. In fact, we’ll keep adding to this as we discover new ones, so let us know in the comments below if you know somewhere that does a good one (and then we’ll send our Antipodeans down to try it).
What is a flat white?
It’s debated whether it was invented in New Zealand or Australia, but the key is less milk and more strength – a flat white should always be double shot, and should always – this is key – be served in a small tulip cup (or if takeaway, in as small a cup as possible).
The milk should also be less frothy – it should be the smooth, velvety stuff that sits between the foam of a cappuccino and the runnier milk of a latte.
So, without further ado…
DUBAI’S PROPER FLAT WHITES…
THE BEST IN THE CITY: ROSELEAF
This cute little cafe in the Dubai Garden Centre (and its kiosk counterpart in Burjuman) is owned by a New Zealander, and it shows. Their flat whites come out smooth, strong and hot every time, and are even served in the traditional mint green cups. It’s a taste of home for all Kiwis in Dubai, and the excellent Nightjar beans mean the drink’s never bitter.
We’d argue this is the best the city has to offer (which is why we drive out of our way to get one every Friday morning).
Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 8am to 7pm. Tel: (056) 6449886. Taxi: Garden Centre. More info on Facebook.
THE SURPRISE GEM: CAFE RIDER
We were genuinely surprised to have one of the best flat whites in Dubai at a biker cafe, but hey, this city’s full of nice twists. To be honest, when we come here we normally have their cold brew – as we love their icy coffees – but the baristas know a thing or two about a flat white (and understand that it’s not just a latte).
While sat there you can order salads, burgers and sandwiches from Ghaf Kitchen. Delish.
14b Street, off of Umm Suqeim Road, Al Quoz, Dubai, daily 8am to 5pm. Tel: (04) 321 4411. More info on website.
THE BEST FOR FOOD & COFFEE: TOM & SERG, COMMON GROUNDS, SUM OF US
With one half of this Dubai hospitality duo an Aussie (that’d be Tom, Serg is a Spaniard), all three of their Dubai outlets serve a proper flat white. Plus, the food is excellent, so your food and coffee needs can be quenched in one visit.
From The Sum of Us on Sheikh Zayed Road to Common Grounds in Mall of the Emirates and Tom & Serg in Al Quoz, you can rely on the coffee here. It’s strong, and not always served piping hot, but it’s smooth enough that it doesn’t require any sugar.
If you’re after a flat white but one that’s even stronger and less milky, try the magic, which is basically a flattie with slightly less milk in the cup. Fuerte.
Sum of Us: Burj Al Salam, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (056) 445 7526. More info on website.
BY THE BEACH: NOSTALGIA
This cute little kiosk along JBR is all about coffee (and chocolate and gelato). The coffee was a little watery when we went, but we’ve only tried it once and the flat white essence was there: aka, it was the right size and the coffee was strong and not bitter at all (they don’t serve sugar here, FYI). This goes on the list as it’s the only place in the WHOLE of the Dubai Marina area that even gets close to the flat white. Plus, there’s one in Global Village too. We’re definitely up for trying it again.
JBR The Walk, Dubai Marina, 8am to midnight, daily. Tel: (058) 888 5888. More info on Facebook.
THE BEST CHAIN: COSTA
Okay, sure, Costa’s not artisanal or independent, but it is everywhere and it’s your best big-chain-bet for a flat white. Except, thing is, even though they sell their version of one, don’t ask for a flat white, ask for the Classic Corto. This is a small double shot coffee that, when ordered takeaway, comes in a cup that’s about the size of an Antipodean flat white cup. There’s less milk, more coffee, and that’s what we’re after.
Various locations, more info on Facebook.
THE SUBURBAN SECRET: STOMPING GROUNDS
The back streets of Jumeirah house a cafe that’s serious about their beans – we often stop there for a takeaway before hitting the malls. It’s very popular (the puddings are good too) and the baristas mean business. This is the kind of place where if you complain about your coffee being over-extracted they actually know what you were talking about.
12D Street, Jumeirah 1 (it’s on Google Maps), 8am to 11pm daily. Tel: (04) 344 4451. More info on Facebook.
THE MARKET TRUCKS: RAW
Also run by Kiwis, these guys were one of the first to bring Western-style, cardamom-free coffee beans to the city, so we have a lot to thank them for. We usually look out for their truck at Ripe markets and the like, but good flat whites can also be found at their headquarters in Al Quoz. The beans can be a little bitter, but we’re not necessarily against that: we don’t always feel like the fruity beans that are en-vogue at the minute (variety is the spice of life and all).
Corner of Street 7a and 4a, Al Quoz, 8am to 5pm, daily. Tel: (04) 339 5474. More info on Facebook.
THE BEST BEANS: GOLD BOX
Whenever we see that a cafe serves Gold Box beans we generally know we’re in for a treat (we spotted them at Cremolata at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour recently). Well, now the bean purveyors have their own drop-in coffee spot in Barsha (the Al Quoz side of Barsha), and we’re glad to report that the flat whites are excellent (and that there’s a ping pong table).
Warehouse #7, Umm Suqeim Rd, next to Warehouse Gym, 9am to 6pm Saturday to Thursday (closed on Friday). More info on website.
If you’re not a flat white purist and are after some generally good coffee, here’s our list of five great specialist coffee shops in the city (including some great places to get beans that you can brew at home).