Sometimes you just want a good old American brunch. The kind you get in New York City at Sarabeth’s or Friend of a Farmer where you wait outside for 45 minutes on a weekend to get a table, bleary-eyed after waking up hungover, smelling the freshly baked pastries and brewed coffee, and waiting for your mimosa or bloody mary.
So you can imagine my elation when I found out that New York’s Clinton Street Baking Company recently opened in Downtown Dubai. This unassuming restaurant sits at the end of the Burj Views complex with both indoor and outdoor seating. Like its NYC counterpart, this place is abuzz with conversation and full of people who appreciate a good meal.
When we arrived, there was a 15-minute wait so we sat at the (coffee) bar. No mimosas here, but AED 20 will buy you a cup of bottomless house coffee, brewed from organic coffee beans from local Dubai-based RAW Coffee Company.
The menu is almost identical to the one at the NYC branch of Clinton Street Baking Company (with the omission of pork and alcohol) with a range of typical American brunch foods like eggs benedict, French toast, blueberry pancakes, huevos rancheros and fried chicken and waffles.
I was transfixed by the two windows into the kitchen where the chefs were busy cranking out order after order.
Most popular dish? Has to be the Fried Chicken and Waffle. So that’s what I ordered. The waffle was soft and fluffy (and massive!) and was served with two flattened, battered, fried, skinless chicken breasts on top. I was expecting (and would have preferred) a big fat piece of Southern-style fried chicken (skin, bone, crunchy coating and all), but the way they served it is certainly more civilised – so my fingers stayed clean. One of the best parts of this dish was the warm maple butter sauce which came with it. I could have drunk the stuff.
One friend ordered the Spanish Scramble (three eggs, beef chorizo, onion, tomatoes, cheese, hash browns and sourdough toast). I may have influenced his decision because I wanted to try, but when it arrived, we both found the dish a bit boring. It was nothing like what we expected, and this was hands-down the least liked dish at the table. Heavy on the eggs, light on the chorizo, and lacking in any significant flavour. Next time, we’ll give this dish a miss.
My other friend ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict (two poached eggs on buttermilk biscuits with Hollandaise), and this was the stand-out winner. The salmon is smoked in-house, you can choose the runniness of your poached eggs (runny, soft or firm), the Hollandaise sauce is thick and moreish, and the buttermilk biscuit was to die for – flaky, tender, rich and melt-in-your-mouth.
Apparently the buttermilk biscuits are one of their signature items. I’m still dreaming about that biscuit…
Verdict: Even though I didn’t love all of the dishes, I still love this place for the chilled-out vibe, the fast and competent service, the unlimited refillable coffee and the classic American brunch foods. Perfect for a lazy weekend.
Note to self: Order the Eggs Benedict Florentine, plus take some extra buttermilk biscuits to go. And why not pick up a couple scones while you’re at it!
Clinton Street Baking Company
Chow for now!