1. Clinton Street Baking Company
I think I visited the original Clinton Street Baking Company in NYC long, long ago but pictorial evidence of this visit cannot be found so maybe it did not happen. The Dubai branch is at the bottom of a residential apartment block but inside looks spookily similar to the original, minus some rustic charm. I visited CSBC after a barre class at FlyBarre, the 8.15am Friday morning class (our weekend) is where its at when friends and gin are a seven hour flight away. The avocado on toast looked to be quite rocket-heavy and it was too early for anything bitter and leafy so I opted for the granola which turned out to be a ginormous American-sized portion for a Dubai-inflated price of just north of £10. I rarely have sweet breakfasts these days as I'm trying to make my sweet tooth become a savory tooth (or just not be dissolved by sugar and acidic diet soft drinks) but this was so good and the granola was really nutty and not overly sweet. I've started to occasionally eat eggs and dairy again due to lack of options here and what I think is an above average amount of hair blocking my shower plug hole.
2. Friends Avenue
A cute spot in JLT, I visited Friends Avenue on a day of bucketing rain and found it a great place to take shelter and dry off before getting thoroughly soaked again. It appears that all Dubai cafes have obtained their (tiny) coffee cups from the same supplier but being in a more residential area prices at Friends Avenue are reasonable compared with Downtown and the more touristy parts of town. I ordered the "tri color eggs benedict"which did contain avocado puree for my avocado fix (as well as sauteed kale, asparagus, spinach, red pepper hummus, dukkah and hollandaise). Sourdough might have been better taste-wise (although less indulgent looking) than the brioche bread which was a bit at-odds with the other flavours. Top marks for the red pepper hummus though and a bright, colourful plate on a (rare) grey day.
Google reliably informs me that there is not, in fact, a Leopold's in London but in this world of alternative facts and fake news I'm not too upset about this deception. Leopold's is located on The Beach near Jumeirah Beach Residences - the upstairs balcony is the best spot for a sea view. Pro-tip: if you sign up for The Breakfast Club here there is 20% off between 8am and 12pm - it'll also be much easier to get an outside table before midday. I had the "healthy breakfast" which may just be one of my favourite brunches dishes here so far - roasted tomato and chickpeas with grilled halloumi on sourdough toast. If I was slightly more skilled in the cooking department I would definitely try to re-create this at home. The coffee here is really good and there are some interesting specialty coffees as well as a coffee lab and in-house roastery.
Another NYC institution, Sarabeth's is know for its breakfast offerings and old school New York upscale charm. The branch in City Walk was busy when I visited but service was swift and friendly, it's a cut above my usual brunch picks - not so much in price but the very chic, mostly local, crowd made me feel glad that I'd not turned up in my yoga kit. The servers wear the cutest outfits and I felt like the NYC influence was noticeable in the bright, airy dining space. I opted for the "Goldie Lox" - scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and cream cheese which was delicious. There are also egg white omlettes, scrambled eggs and beautiful granola bowls on the menu and coffees made with soy or coconut milks. While I was finishing the last few pages of Midnight's Children, the waiter surprised me with a chocolate and peanut butter cookie which was such a sweet gesture. Having not had much in the way of sweet food for weeks it tasted amazing and I didn't feel rushed to give back my table while lingering over the end of my book.
More brunches soon as one, I like brunch and two, these mini reviews are my favourite thing to write.