Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
With a new country, a new climate, a new job and a new apartment to settle into now is not the time to change my brunch of choice. Avocado on toast is alive and well in Dubai and my weekends have been spent ordering it in various eateries to be savoured with a coffee and my Kindle which no longer connects to the wifi. A re-read of Bright Lights Big City seems in some way appropriate anyway.
A note on brunch in Dubai - if you hear anyone bragging about the awesome (i.e. they drank three bottles of "sparkling grape" and don't remember that they had the same conversation five times) brunch they had then it's not the avocado and poached egg sort. Brunch here is a pretty much all day affair involving a spend of anything from £20 to £200, multiple courses, tables laden with all manner of food, entire rooms of cheese, whole roasted pigs, live entertainment, chocolate fountains... there are "night brunches" (AKA dinner) too, but Dubai brunching is for another day because it doesn't involve avocado or coffee and those are my current requirements.
1. The Healthy One
Le Pain Quotidien means "the daily bread" in French and you really could consume bread here on a daily basis and nothing bad would happen. Because it would be delicious, obviously. LPQ's avocado on toast is called a "tartine" because they are French. The portion size is not too big or not too small, the bread is delicious as you would expect and the sprinkling of seeds adds to this being the healthiest looking avocado toast I've ever seen. LPQ's menu is vegan and veggie friendly and their coffee is great too - they do both soy and almond milk and it comes in a bowl (despite almond milk being more fashionable for me coffee will always better with soy milk). Despite there being LPQs in London I felt very much not in London while eating this as the girl on the next table struck up conversation with me about how great this looked. FYI, I'm reading my favourite chapter from American Psycho which goes great with avocado on toast.
2. The One With The View
It is frustratingly hard to find restaurant websites in Dubai but finding Social House is easy as it is opposite the Dubai Fountain on the lower ground floor of Dubai Mall. Social House's avocado toast is piled high with feta and is served with roasted tomatoes, beetroot and a hard boiled egg (which I ate before taking the picture). Grab an outside table to enjoy the half hourly Dubai Fountain displays and feel smug about all the people standing as close as possible to take photos who will inevitably get wet. The brunch menu is served all day at weekends so there's no need to get up early to enjoy avocado toast and this feels more like a lunchtime avocado toast anyway due to the salad-y accompaniments. The coffee here is also good and comes with a tiny biscuit which made me think of the "pink" episode of Black Mirror. I am still (re-)reading American Psycho.
Not the restaurant's own website here.
3. The Indulgent One
Tub of Butter is located just off of Sheikh Zayed Road, somewhere between Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall (my two main landmarks here for figuring out where everything is). I went for the Barack Obama topped coffee and stayed for the avocado toast. This had to be the biggest avocado toast portion I've ever seen - definitely no scrimping on the (chia seed and chilli-topped) avocado here as it spills out from a brioche bun. This was so filling that I didn't even order a second coffee despite wanting one with the Sheikh's face in honour of my new home. The cafe lacks a view but more than makes up for this with it's free wifi, huge magazine shelf and a great selection of products to take home. I happily sat here for a couple of hours people watching locals and ex-pats (the French toast and brunch burger both looked incredible) and reaoding all the magazines, never feeling rushed to give up my table.
Another Zomato website link.
Tom & Serg are friends and business partners by way of Melbourne and Madrid who have built up a small empire of lovely cafes in Dubai, serving Aussie-approved coffee and fresh, delicious food. I'd already visited two of their cafes, Common Grounds and Wild & The Moon, for coffee so I had high hopes for their eponymous original offering located in Al Quoz near to Alsekeral Avenue. The menu is so amazing that I almost didn't order avocado toast but I did for the sake of this blog post and my need to feel like I'm reporting on my own life. I'll go back for the rest of the menu another time, it's ok. Tom & Serg's avocado on toast is a very different take, featuring cottage cheese, spring onion, chilli and cucumber ribbons. I loved this as it wasn't all about the avocado but it was so tasty and the servers and cafe itself are lovely.
Website (yay!) here.
I might eat something else next weekend...