Review: White and the Bear
Dubai Eye 103.8 radio personality Helen Farmer and her four-year-old daughter Phoebe pay a visit to a new child-centred café…
Dining out with kids in Dubai can be a mixed bag – their menus range from the non-existent to junk food, with little in between, and we often find ourselves either apologising for our presence or surrounded by other families with screaming children, and no-one having a good time. I love the idea of White + The Bear – a place where little ones are at the centre of the experience. The brainchild of chef Annabel Karmel, expect little tables and chairs, a menu with Karmel’s signature healthy dishes, cute bear-themed placemats and cutlery, a very Instagrammable interior (white but wipe-clean) and a cookery school upstairs. I was braced for mega expensive prices, but for mains you’re looking at around Dhs40, although the portions aren’t huge. There’s also an adult menu, so you can enjoy a really good prawn risotto and a less delicious chicken katsu curry. I also really appreciated that they have incorporated UAE companies like Koita milk and Eco Rascal bamboo bowls.
Bear in mind, there are only a couple of tables for grown-ups, so if they’re taken, you could find yourself on a tiny chair, as my 6’3” husband did until a group left. Ouch. Our children (aged 2 and 4) were a bit young to sit at a table alone, so ended up with us half of the time. On the plus side, they were totally enchanted by the food – mini pita pizzas styled to look like teddy bears, Karmel’s hidden veggie tomato sauce rigatoni, crunchy chicken nuggets coated in Rice Krispies and baked, then all sorts of interactive desserts like cookies they could decorate and a fruit platter served on an artist palette that they ‘painted’ with chocolate, raspberry and mango coulis. I sampled it all and was impressed. The mark of success? The girls didn’t ask to watch Netflix on my phone once.
We would go back, though there are some issues that need to addressed; no retail at the height of sticky hands and more seating for grownups. Because if mama isn’t happy, no-one is happy.
I liked the food at the cute bear café. The chicken nuggets were yummy, and the lady wasn’t sad when I dropped ketchup on the floor. They have colouring and my favourite bit was decorating the bear and bunny cookies with lots of icing and sprinkles. My little sister had pasta, then some pink unicorn ice-cream with chocolate ears and big eyelashes. I would like to go back with my friends and have a food party.
White & The Bear, Al Athar Street, Jumeira 3, Dubai, daily 8am to 9am. Tel: (04) 339 5911. whiteandthebear.com
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