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