Sophie’s – a new home-grown café opens in Dubai

Sophie's dessert menuDubai; When FooDiva heard the founders of Okku, the fabulous home-grown Japanese restaurant at Dubai’s Monarch hotel had opened another locally developed concept, a so-called ‘gastro-café’, Sophie’s on Palm Jumeirah, I had to pop in.

There’s something quite homely and inviting about the café’s choice of name, so you’d expect exactly that from the venue itself. But firstly, Sophie’s is located, rather surprisingly in the basement of one of the Palm’s Shoreline apartment blocks. If you’re driving as most of us would be unless we lived on that strip, the entrance is via the car park – with no natural light and a rather odd smell (need I say more?)

Sophie's counter displaySophie's interiorSophie's menu

Sophie’s decor of forest leaf wallpaper, a strange grass turf wall and lime-washed ash furniture do go some way to create a fresh, relaxing ambience – but it’s a little lonely and lacks buzz even though it filled up over a mid-week lunch. FooDiva would love to know why the choice of this rather bizarre location – reduced rent perhaps?

The deli-like concept invites customers to select from the counter in three different ways – a choice of three or five salads or one main course and two salads – available to eat in or as take-out. The staff know the menu inside out and are happy to dish out advice. FooDiva and lunch date opted for poached salmon with two salads; a marinated beetroot and fetta cheese, plus wild rice with dried apricots – and a selection of three salads; superfood red quinoa, penne with rocket and tomatoes, and the same wild rice combo. All nourishing and flavoursome dishes with well-matched ingredients and a large enough choice to tickle all palates – generous portions too.

Vegetables in FooDiva's juicePoached salmon and saladsSalad selection

Sophie’s squeezes its own fresh juices on the premises as you select from the fruit and veg bowls. FooDiva highly recommends the carrot, celery, broccoli and ginger combo. Tea is sourced from organic Mighty Tea Leaf, and coffee from famed Dubai specialist, Raw. The dessert spread certainly looks appealing and I would harper a good guess is Sophie’s trademark.

What’s great is that even though you order at the counter, the bill is brought to your table at the end of your meal similar to Baker & Spice’s deli concept, and thank goodness unlike Lime Tree’s. Mind you getting hold of the bill was easier said than done. For some reason we were given a 50% discount – an opening offer perhaps or did they realise service was a tad slow?

If you’re looking for a bite to eat in the Palm vicinity or would simply love to support a home-grown café concept, then do try out Sophie’s, but even though the food dished up is healthy, tasty and well-balanced, the lack-lustre location lets it down. And we all know how important location is to the success of any F&B operation.

Do you have a café you cherish in town?

Sophie’s is located in Building 8, The Shoreline on Palm Jumeirah. Entrance through the basement car park. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Free wi-fi available. T; +971 4 430 9466. No website yet. Price per head AED 89.

A bientôt!

FooDiva. x

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21 Responses to “Sophie’s – a new home-grown café opens in Dubai”

  1. Emily February 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Enjoyed reading your post today.
    You are right, location is so important… anyway, I will give it a try to be open minded! 🙂

    We ? your blog!

    Emily –

    PS: writing from MAKE Business Hub, my new café/hangout!

    • FooDiva February 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Emily. I am popping to MAKE tomorrow in fact – so perhaps see you there? Will check out your blog. x

  2. Emily February 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

    🙂 – the ?, was a ‘heart’!

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie February 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Baker and Spice takes some beating. But given the run away success of Jones The Grocer you’d think people would learn from that when setting up a new place. Good review.

    • FooDiva February 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks Sally. And with the new Baker & Spice just open on Marina Promenade competition will be even stiffer. My review of Jones The Grocer wasn’t that wow, cheese room aside of course, but I believe it has settled in a little.

  4. Devina Divecha (FooDee) February 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Interesting review. I’d be interested in trying it out but the thought of trying to figure out where it is…daunting. You’re right, location is so important!

    • FooDiva February 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks Devina. Despite it’s odd location, it’s relatively simple to get to – just head for the Shoreline apartments and you will see signs for the Riva complex underground car park. If you do go, let me know how it fares!

  5. Jp February 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Interesting – this is the second F&B outlet (although the first is the supermarket at Oceana) which is below ground with the entrance through the car park. Nothing like optimising space eh?

    Not related, but would like to add my commendation to Emily’s for MAKE – used it today for the first time; had very productive brainstorming session avec scrambled eggs. Once that was done we relaxed in the eating area with mouth watering tuna steak salad. Very iStylish I thought.

    • FooDiva February 27, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Ooh two recommendations in one day for MAKE! Thanks J. Can’t wait to try it out for myself :).

  6. Shumaila February 27, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Hey I was there a few weeks ago- just chanced upon it after a Zumba class upstairs and ravenous as i was, had a huge plate of their salads- it was absolutely delicious but i totally agree about the location- what exactly were they thinking when they opted for that?

    • FooDiva February 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Hi Shumaila. Well I’ve since found out that the whole RIVA complex is theirs and hence the restriction in location. There’s another restaurant in ‘soft’ opening with terrace seating :).

      • Coco July 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        A new one on the palm??? Please let me know the name and the location?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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