There's been a buzz about Reem Island for some months now as residents have eagerly anticipated the opening of Boutik Mall's latest dining concept, Leopold's of London. That wait was finally over when the upmarket cafe and brasserie threw open its doors to the public on Sunday.
Boutik, between Sun and Sky towers, houses the first Leopold's in the world, with further branches opening soon at locations in Abu Dhabi's Galleria Mall, Nation Towers, Al Muneera and at The Beach development in JBR, Dubai.
The restaurant is open from 6am, which is good news for early risers looking for a morning coffee, pastry or cooked breakfast.
As a Reem Island resident I was desperate to try out Leopold's as soon as possible, so I headed there straight after work on opening day to grab some dinner.
The interior is sleek with a welcoming, rustic charm. White marble counters are offset by dark-wood furniture and I was welcomed by smiling, polite and well-informed staff. The menu offers a variety of brasserie staples such as burgers, steaks and quiches plus dishes with a local touch, like the Ras al hanout-rubbed salmon fillet. I opted for the lasagne, recommended by my waiter, Nash. In a slight twist on the classic, the chef uses melt-in-the-mouth, braised beef shortrib instead of mince. It was simply tremendous and I'm pretty picky when it comes to lasagne.
The next day I grabbed a superb pain au chocolate for breakfast and a delicious and healthy quinoa, beetroot and feta salad. I look forward to trying one of Leopold's gourmet sandwiches, such as the sourdough baguette with shaved beef pastrami, rocket, Comte cheese, onion and horseradish mayo or the sesame panini with confit tarragon chicken, mixed lettuce and Peppadews. The cakes and tarts look pretty tempting, too.
On top of fantastic food options, Leopold's also offers a range of fresh juices and smoothies, designer waters, zero-alcohol cocktails and exclusive teas, such as Fire and Ice which features red rose petals and white rose buds.
Leopold's is a fabulous addition to Boutik Mall and the UAE itself, but with its enticing menu and location so close to my apartment, I foresee my waistline expanding rapidly...