It feels a little like being back home* in London and walking along More London Place or the Potters Fields Park towards the Lodnon City Hall or Sir Terence Conran’s Gastrodome; or the areas around St. Ketherin’s Docks on the other side of the Thames in the East End.
But it’s Al Marasy, in Al Bateen Harbour in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Well…. not really the heart, but for those who know the city, it’s not too far off the Crown Prince’s Diwan, so finding it isn’t easy, and with all the building going on out the entrance of this modern and stylish glass-from-floor-to-ceiling development, I could not help but thinking the hydraulic hammer noise will be just too much to bear. But wrong I was. Once inside the residential complex is as if the noise was kept out by Royal fiat [no, not the Italian car; the decree]. Or did the hydraulic hammer guys go on a prolonged tea break? Either way, a short walk into this four building residence complex, and after discovering I could have given my car to a valet, I step through the sliding doors and I see a nicely appointed Scandinavian interior with a lot of thought put into it, and cannot help to think this gem seems wasted in such a hidden location, but then again, it wouldn’t have been the pleasure it was to be here if there were hordes of customers queuing out the door I guess…
…and at that very same door where I didn’t have to elbow my way in I’m met by a tall and slightly disheveled waiter who shows me to an empty table, which I change twice. My fault, not his. The room is split into two: to one side there is the cafe and to the other side is the restaurant. The distinction is purely a design one though as it makes no difference to the incredibly accommodating staff as to where one sits. The clientele for breakfast and lunch was in it’s majority made out of locals which presumably reside in the vicinity.
Katrin, my waitress, was very knowledgeable and friendly and she had a lot of patience as arguably I’m not an easy customer. To start with I ordered a cafe latte, which came promptly in a slightly small double glass mug. I also ordered a croissant and a fruit chia seed pudding. Before my croissant, a mixed toast board + whipped salted butter arrives, and to my defensive “I did not order this” Katrin says it’s their standard and is complimentary, which was a great touch! After that and to my surprise my French pastry arrives slightly warm, and with a second cup of coffee I had no more room left for the much anticipated chia pudding, but I promised to come back the following day to have it; more to myself than to anyone else…
The chia seed pudding was superb, just I wish the fruits they topped it with would have been ripe enough.
A cafe latte and a chia seed pudding came up to AED 75.- and yesterday two lattes and a croissant were AED 60.-
*I’m neither a Londoner nor British, but after spending the most crucial 11 years of my live in London, it kind of feels like home….