Dubai; I first heard of the Palace Café in Downtown Dubai over Twitter and whilst a primarily Middle Eastern influenced menu in a relaxed, al fresco setting wasn’t enough to intrigue FooDiva, the addition of a booze license does make the concept quite special given the non-hotel location – even though it’s actually operated by the Address Palace property just behind.
Sadly al fresco eating is still out of bounds (mind you booze is only served indoors), so heading inside we picked a corner banquette table. Unfortunately, our only company were a couple of other tables all night long on a Wednesday evening – perhaps it picks up on weekends.
The menu marries traditional and more fusion Arabic dishes with an international selection which always worries FooDiva a tad. A larger and more diversely trained kitchen team is required, which quality aside, also raises cost. Surely we don’t need to be all things to all people? Wouldn’t it be better to specialise in one cuisine so as to deliver fabulous food? Anyhow…let’s see how it fared.
FooDiva’s starter of melted goats cheese in filo pastry arrived with two ample sized parcels on a bed of another three crepe rolls, canneloni-style – rather odd to marry the two – but I must admit the differing crispy and soft textures worked wonderfully with a drizzle of warm balsamic dressing and topped with rocket. I forewarn you the portion is so huge, order as a main. My guest’s gazpacho soup, served cold naturellement, had the right dose of zingy tomato with a drop of olive oil.
My lemongrass chicken shawarma main was another biggie with the chicken strips tender, the lemongrass zesty, the shredded lettuce and spring onions crunchy, and the flat bread freshly baked. Definitely a dish I would order again. The lobster falafel sadly lacked much lobster with the overpowering taste of chickpeas making for a rather bland and dry dish despite a drizzle of saffron tahini. The panna cotta dessert with a mixed berry compote and lemon jelly was deemed a treat by my guest. One quibble, teas were served in quirky glassware making it difficult to hold without burning fingers.
Plenty of other Arabic dishes called out, shakshouka eggs included for brekkie, so I would happily return to work my way through the menu. Service whilst prompt was over-attentive, with too many waiters asking how dinner was faring, but as am pretty sure they had sussed out FooDiva, I will put this down to nerves. Dishes are well priced for a licensed venue.
But guess what….I have since discovered that the Palace Café is set to launch a new menu next month focusing only on Arabic inspired dishes – hurrah! So if you’re in the area and after good grub with a glass of vino in a casual setting, Palace Café does the trick. It’s just a shame with the weather cooling down that the license doesn’t extend to the terrace. Oh well looks like we can’t have it all.
The Palace Café is located on Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai in front of the Address Palace hotel. T; +971 4 4287890. E; email@example.com Currently open daily from 5pm to 2am and from October from 9am to midnight. Price per head including glass of vino and tea AED 196. Licensed. Shisha available.
Have you visited? Do you prefer menus showcasing just one cuisine or does a more diverse choice appeal?