Jim’s Kitchen Table is worth a trip to Masdar
If you haven’t been to Masdar City lately, it’s time to make a trip, if for no other reason than to have a meal at Jim’s Kitchen Table.
The home-grown concept, on the ground floor of the Siemens building, was developed by business partners Joe Gargaro and Tim Broughton, both long-time Abu Dhabi residents who wanted a restaurant, deli and bakery all under one roof. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves popular favourites such as eggs Benedict, French toast, omelettes, burgers, pizzas and stir-fries. But they also have other interesting options, such as beef ribs, slow-cooked for 24 hours with a homemade barbecue sauce; spicy fish tacos; a quinoa and vegetable stack with a balsamic glaze; and their signature peanut soup. A variety of breads, muffins and pastries are baked fresh on site each day. You can even get gluten-free banana bread and cookies. And there’s a grab-and-go station with fresh-made sandwiches and a build-your-own salad bar.
“The food here is all about taking favourites and adding a slight twist or just enhancing the flavours,” says Broughton, who is from South Africa. “We’re not Gordon Ramsay, but we are delivering really good, fresh, quality food.”
That unique twist is evident across the menu. Instead of plain beef bacon, Broughton, a trained chef, has developed an irresistible maple- and thyme-infused version. You’ll find wilted kale on the eggs Benedict; a wasabi mash with the salmon fillet; an asparagus quesadilla lasagne; and there’s even a gluten- and dairy-free cheesecake.
The large, airy venue, which can seat 160, is filled with wooden, homey kitchen tables, leather sofas, a kids’ play area and a loft. There’s a selection of unique food products for sale at the front and a small flower cart where you can buy fresh, imported bouquets. The paintings on the walls are all by local artists and for sale.
“We wanted it to feel comfortable, cosy and make you feel a bit like you’re home,” says Gargaro, who is from the UK. “It’s relaxed. It’s good for people working in Masdar, and groups of mums with kids or friends who just want to come and chill out.”
It’s also a fresh alternative to the big hotel restaurants. That’s just what Gargaro and Broughton were hoping for when they developed it. “We’ve worked together for years,” says Gargaro. “We just wanted to do good, basic food that you don’t need to go into a hotel for. We wanted a stand-alone place with an element of flair to give it an advantage over the competition.” So far, only a handful of restaurants are open in Masdar.
“I believe in the vision of Masdar,” says Broughton. “We took a big risk. We know the first year will be tough. But we said, ‘So what? Let’s just do it’. There’s a massive plan for Masdar. There are schools coming, more businesses, community centres and hotels.”
Until then, Jim’s Kitchen Table will have to rely on word of mouth. In the four weeks since it opened, the going has been good.
“If we can achieve what we want to achieve, we’ll pull people here,” Gargaro says. “I know how far my wife goes sometimes for a salad or a cup of coffee. If they drive to other places, why can’t they come here? If we can be consistent with the food and service, they will.”
• Jim’s Kitchen Table is open daily from 7.30am to 10pm; last orders taken at 9pm. Call 02 491 9401 or visit www.jims.kitchen
Updated: June 8, 2015 04:00 AM