Review: Nightjar Coffee in Alserkal Avenue
Come for the coffee, stick around for the food at this homegrown gem in Al Quoz.
Dubai’s coffee connoisseurs may already be familiar with Nightjar, the official roastery for some of the city’s top indie coffee spots (they supply beans to the likes of Boston Lane, The Surf Cafe and Roseleaf Cafe). Now, they’ve opened their doors to the public as a fully-fledged roastery/eatery in the heart of Dubai’s creative hub, Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz.
Kiwi owner Leon Surynt has made sure the space is in keeping with the neighbourhood’s humble roots. Interiors are best described as industrial-chic. There’s an open kitchen where you can watch your food and coffee being prepared, and build up an appetite as chickens turn temptingly on the nifty little rotisserie. You can perch at the bar, sit at a communal table, or make yourself comfy on a camel skin rug, which are draped along the long booth. There’s not much in the way of lighting, though – the place is almost as dark as its brews.
The menu is confined to one double-sided page – a rare example of restraint in this city. The food side has been created with the help of Ved Navghare, the former head chef at one of Melbourne’s top modern Indian restaurants. The result is an interesting blend of comfort foods from different cultures that nicely nods to the Dubai melting pot – you can pair your eggs with paratha, for example, or treat yourself to a custard pie.
The Dibba Bay buttie (Dhs40) immediately caught our eye. It consisted of two fat, salty, fried oysters, slid between de-crusted squares of white bread with some crisp iceberg lettuce and mayo. A cheeky bowl of potato crisps was served on the side. So simple, yet so tasty.
Our dining companion went for the spiced lamb shoulder (Dhs55), which is listed under the breakfast section. It was an unconventional combination – a disc of pressed lamb, topped with preserved lemon tabbouleh, burnt butter hollandaise, and balanced with a fried egg on sourdough. If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for something a little different to your standard avocado toast, this is just the dish.
The other side of the page is dedicated, unsurprisingly, to beverages, with a range of expertly crafted coffees, teas, and “cold stimulants” on offer. The latter section is particularly interesting – as well as cold brew, there’s nitro coffees infused with maple, cherry, and orange (we tried this one, it was sensational).
And if you just so happen to be a (whisper it) non-coffee drinker? Go for the nitro tea – it’s fruity, foamy and refreshing. There really is something for everyone at this thoughtful new addition to Dubai’s cafe scene.
Nightjar Coffee, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Tues to Sat 8am to 10pm, Sun & Mon 8am to 6pm. Tel: (04) 330 6635. nightjar.coffee