What’s On reviews three new cafes in Dubai. Featuring Tashas at The Galleria, Big Chefs at The Beach, and Taste Kitchen, Mercato Mall.

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A home-grown concept, Taste Kitchen UAE comes from the talented, Gordon Ramsay-trained duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price who had two booming years at the critically-acclaimed Table 9 within the Hilton Dubai Creek. At their new, somewhat unlikely setting on the ground floor of Mercato Mall, we found beautifully presented dishes with an emphasis on fresh, good quality ingredients. A fragrant red lentil, coconut and curry soup was autumn in a bowl (who cares if it’s still 38° outside?), and the spiced chickpeas were a tasty surprise; instead of our familiar little round friends, we were presented with a dish of chickpea fries. Deliciously salty and crisp, and with a satisfyingly grainy texture, these “chips” were just as moreish as any potato-based version.

Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3854380. Taxi: Mercato Mall. facebook.com/tastekitchendubai

Taste Kitchen - new casual cafes in Dubai


One of the prettiest restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of visiting of late, Tashas has turned one corner of The Galleria mall into a casual yet classy vision in lacquered cream and natural wood. Look up to see the tiny paper creations hanging from the ceiling. You’ll spot nods to Tashas’ South African roots (like the rooibos cappuccino), but the menu has an international feel, flitting from Turkey (gozleme flatbreads) to Mexico (huevos rancheros) to France (salad Nicoise) and beyond.

A generous helping of scrambled eggs “mariachi” was given a serious kick with green chilli, coriander and spring onion, and served with avocado and crisp triangles of tortilla instead of toast. Tashas has a good range of healthy breakfast options, including a bowl of gluten- and wheat-free LSA (linseed, sunflower seed and almond) porridge that was beautifully presented with a side of sliced banana, chopped dates and almonds. These dishes feel carefully thought out and lovingly prepared, which could explain the only downside to Tashas: you may have to wait for a table.

The Galleria, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 7.30am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3855500. Taxi: The Galleria. tashascafe.com

Tashas - new casual cafes in Dubai

The number of dining options to choose from on JBR is getting overwhelming, so the buzzy atmosphere inside new café Big Chefs on a Friday morning was testament to the food on offer. All of the usual suspects are on the breakfast menu, along with traditional Turkish dishes, like menemen eggs, and seeded simit bagels that will be familiar to anyone who’s visited Istanbul.

The basket of warm bread and tapenade that arrived with our coffee was a nice touch, and the eggs Benedict were perfectly poached (runny, but not too soft). A mushroom omelette was tasty and generously proportioned. There was also an extensive menu of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastas and grills for the post-breakfast crowd.Big Chefs doesn’t boast sea views like some other restaurants at The Beach, but inside it’s a good looking venue, with a sky high ceiling and squishy brown leather couches. Our only complaint was the arctic air-con.

The Beach, JBR, Dubai, Sun to Wed 7am to midnight, Thur to Sat 7am to 1am. Tel: (04) 5515302. Taxi: Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort. facebook.com/bigchefsuae

Big Chefs - new casual cafes in Dubai