What’s On reviews six new cafes in Dubai. Featuring The Surf Cafe, Nathalie’s, Pantry Cafe, BREW, Mokha 1450 and Ailuromania Café.

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Dubai just can’t kick the habit – here are six new places to get your coffee.

The Surf Café
Surfers, bicyclists, yogis and sun worshipers visiting or living near Umm Suqeim beach flock to the first floor of this new casual café for hearty and healthy meals. Some like to chow down at the coffee counter surrounded by surfing decor, while others relax in clusters across the concrete floor. While the café’s laidback style is welcoming, it’s the food that’s winning hearts. The healthy Surfer’s Breakfast, with yoghurt and granola, scrambled eggs, butternut squash and fruit (Dhs75) is good, but it pales in comparison to the avocado and eggs (Dhs40). Elegantly served in a frying pan with a whole avocado split in half and covered in fluffy scrambled eggs, this simple dish is gaining a cult following among Dubai’s foodie scene.

Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight (9am to 6pm during Ramadan, takeaways only). Tel: (04) 3466292. Taxi: Near Umm Suqeim Park, off Al Thanya Street. thesurfcafedubai.com 

Surf Cafe

If you haven’t been to the gym for a while perhaps you shouldn’t go to Nathalie’s, a new café in Sports City. On the other hand, maybe it will inspire you back onto the treadmill.
The café is attached to Fit Republik gym; all that’s separating you from the ripped torsos doing endless reps is a glass wall. There was a stream of gym-goers enjoying a post-workout snack when What’s On visited. It’s a stripped down place with grey concrete floors. They have juices, protein shakes and smoothies, plus brekkie dishes, and you can top your food with a ‘supershot’ such as chia seeds, goji berries, or maca powder.
For carbophobes, the burger can be served in a lettuce cup; there’s kale salad, plus a salad of green uncracked wheat, which sounds very healthy. We had the delicious goat’s cheese and figs on toast, with honey and walnuts (Dhs36). The scrambled eggs with leek and potato rosti (Dhs38) was also good, but it’s doubtful the small portion would satisfy someone who’s just bench pressed their own body weight.

 Sports City, Dubai, daily 7am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 5561888. Taxi: Sports City. facebook.com/Nathaliescafe


Pantry Café
Have you heard of Bay Square? It’s a sort of mini DIFC-looking district behind Burj Views and Southridge Park in Downtown. It’s largely uninhabited at the moment but things are starting to move in. There’s a yoga studio slated to appear, for example.
The first place in Bay Square to be fully up and running is another branch of Pantry Café, and we suspect it’s going to be the centrepiece of this new area. The interior is striking: lots of exposed pipes and air ducts, pot plants, shelves of groceries, brick walls, lots of metal and glass – it’s very Brooklyn. They serve RAW coffee and solid, hearty dishes. This is perfect food forFriday and Saturday mornings to set you up for a day of chores and activity.
The thick and fluffy waffles topped with feta cheese, mushrooms and rocket was a hit, as was the smokey tomato scramble: a spicy smush of beans, eggs, and crème fraîche on seeded bread. Just make sure you Google map the destination before you set out.

 Building 6, Bay Square, Business Bay, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 5pm, Fri and Sat 9am to 6pm. Tel: (04) 5587161. Taxi Behind Burj Views. pantrycafe.me


There’s barely room to swing a bag of coffee beans in this cute café that’s a stone’s throw from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. A few stools, a couple of chairs, and a roughly hewn wooden shelf acting as a table is all that Brew has in the way of furniture. It’s a friendly place serving Right Side coffee and a few cakes. A macchiato was Dhs13 and came in a lovely cup with a leaf design on the milk. With a disused coffee contraption in one corner, picture frames displaying labels from coffee bean bags, and light bulbs hanging from the ceiling in jam jars, Brew has cool style.

 Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim, Dubai, daily 7.30am to 11pm. Taxi: Next to Al Hilal Bank. facebook.com/pages/Brew-Cafe-Jumeirah-Beach-Rd


MOKHA 1450

Did coffee originate in Yemen or Ethiopia? You can debate this hotly-contested topic while sipping a cup at this charming coffee boutique. The staff are knowledgeable and happy to explain their menu of rare coffees such as Ethiopian Geisha, siphons, cold brews and espressos (a macchiato is Dhs16). The café owners have used their Yemen connections to import coffee from the female Talok collective in their country, which does not export anywhere else in the world.

 Aswaaq Centre, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, daily 7am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3216455. Taxi: Next to Life Pharmacy. mokha1450.com


Ailuromania café
Cat ladies (and men) form an orderly queue. Jumeirah is now home to Dubai’s first cat café, thanks to Saudi sisters Iman and Allaa Ahmed Al Aulaqi.
Ailuromania Café has 20 rescue cats who have been selected to live in the café due to their easy going natures and love of attention. One part of the café is a feline-free zone serving salads and sandwiches. Sit here and you can observe the moggies through a glass window (check out the relaxation room, which has cat bunk beds). If you want the full experience sit in the cat area. You can eat here, but bear in mind the cats may jump on your table. The snacks are stored in the non-cat part of the café and a minimum spend of Dhs50 is required to dine with Ailuromania’s fluffy residents. Rules such as no picking up of the animals, and no children under 12 are designed to make it a stress-free zone.

Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai, Sat to Wed 2pm to 10pm, Thur and Fri 2pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3216661. Taxi: Next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel. ailuromania.com

cat cafe