x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

VOGUE Café opens in Dubai Mall

The National was the only publication to be granted a sneak peek behind the scenes of the much-anticipated VOGUE Café, opening in Dubai Mall this Wednesday. Here's your exclusive preview and details of what culinary delights await you.

The plush interior of VOGUE Cafe in The Dubai Mall. Pawan Singh / The National
The plush interior of VOGUE Cafe in The Dubai Mall. Pawan Singh / The National

The National was the only publication to be granted a sneak peek behind the scenes of the much-anticipated VOGUE Café, opening in Dubai Mall this Wednesday. Here's your exclusive preview and details of what culinary delights await you.

Cool, calm and collected

Let’s face it, the food options available in The Dubai Mall are overwhelming. What sets VOGUE Café apart from the current competition is that it’s an oasis of calm in what can sometimes feel like a frenzied arena. Nestled in the heart of Level Shoe District, the open-plan venue doesn’t scream for attention amid the hundreds of colourful designer shoes, displayed like works of art.

One side of the cafe is framed by a Vogue viaduct of golden arches, adding a touch of 1920s glamour to the eatery. The same warm hues are picked up in mirrored columns and a chandelier-like magazine display, suspended from the ceiling.

As you might expect, the decor is flawless, from its palette of coffee and cream to the clean-lined marble tables and the imposing 3-D pyramidic design of the coffee bar.

The staff, from what I saw, were thankfully not clad in intimidatingly high-fashion attire. They were instead stylish in pared-down trouser-and-shirt combos of charcoal and grey. So relax; “Vogue” the cafe may be, but pretentious it most certainly is not.

The branding of the magazine is subtle and tastefully done, with its name merely embroidered on silky napkins and select photographs from its previous issues scattered through the menu. Accompanied by “female-empowering” quotes are soft-focused, monochrome shots of supermodels such as the doe-eyed Lily Cole; her face half obscured by the net of her black straw hat.

Stylish supping

Much like flicking through a copy of the fashion bible itself, reading the menu will take you some time. It’s impressively vast and caters for every taste with its selection of small plates, salads, sandwiches, mains, brunch options and much more. Picking a mocktail from the 17 on offer proved an equal challenge, but the “Innocent Mule” with its key ingredients of fresh lime, ginger, basil, lemon juice and ginger ale came out on top. A thirst quencher par excellence, sharp but sweet and utterly delicious. Just be aware; if you’re counting liquid-calories, some of the concoctions available contain lemonade, sugar crystals and, wait for it, chocolate bars.

The head chef Jose Vicente Jorge is Spanish by name and nature, right down to his olive oil. Having previously worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, his food was unlikely to disappoint. First up, a Thai-style chicken salad with crushed peanuts, lime and spicy long beans. A riot of colour on a plate with its julienne peppers and diced chilli, the enormous portion was sating yet not sleep-inducing.

Main attraction

Roast fillet of sea bass followed, with nutty wild mushrooms accompanied by spinach and ricotta cannelloni. It tasted as good as it looked, with oven-roasted baby tomatoes providing a sweet balance to the delicately seasoned fish.

Rounding off the tasting and almost deserving of its own article was the sundae. As one who’s generally nonplussed by desserts, this has done extremely well to rank in my top five.

The layers of dulce de leche and yogurt ice cream combined with caramelised peanuts and chunks of chewy brownie were nothing short of inspired. The final devilish touch to the dish was a topping of Chantilly ice cream, speckled with fresh vanilla. Light and lip-smackingly good, this is an all-round perfect pud.

Designer dough

You won’t need to splash the cash to enjoy a decent meal at VOGUE Café. The portions are incredibly generous and mains don’t exceed Dh176, which, for a fillet of veal and truffle sauce, is arguably good value. Of the sandwiches available, Maine lobster on a homemade brioche roll for Dh79 can’t be beaten. For the early risers, a breakfast of eggs Benedict with a cup of jasmine pearl tea will only see them part with Dh83.

The culinary team has also made plenty of nods to the flavours of the region, which umpteen mint-infused mocktails on the menu and zaatar-crusted chicken strips with pomegranate dip destined to be a hit with hungry shoppers for just Dh51.

 

Visit VOGUE Café at The Dubai Mall’s Level Shoe District on Sundays to Wednesdays, 10am to 10pm, and Thursdays to Saturdays, 10am to midnight. For reservations, call 04 501 6810. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/voguecafedubai and www.vogue.com

 

rduane@thenational.ae

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