Mr. S and I had an early lunch today at Appetite The Shop in Business Bay in the Bay Avenue stretch that includes restaurants such as Tangerine and Per Te.
This is a different concept from the same British and Syrian husband and wife team behind Appetite Catering and 1762 The Gourmet Deli Co. This restaurant is a small outlet that specialises in food that’s pre-packaged and ready to go. They pride themselves on their commitment to avoiding chemicals, additives, and preservatives that are commonly found in most pre-packaged food. And you can tell.
The packaging is biodegradable and compostable. The offerings are fresh, healthy and high quality. There’s a good balance between your old stand-bys (such as tuna pasta salad, whole wheat falafel wrap) and more creative offerings (such as the polenta and raspberry cake or the quinoa nori roll). It reminds me of a place you’d find in London, like the popular lunchtime haunt for office workers, EAT. But the food here is much, much better.
They have a few wooden picnic tables outside which have a view of the Burj Khalifa and a few seats inside their restaurant as well as in the Bay Avenue corridor.
During the weekdays, they also offer a small selection of soups and hot dishes, but on Fridays, the menu is limited to what’s in their display. No matter, we sampled a rather extensive selection – this was our breakfast and lunch, after all. Coffee, a roasted vegetable and pinenut salad, beef pastrami and swiss toastie, and organic steel-cut oats with almond milk, apricots, prunes and seeds.
Here’s the sandwich up close. It’s been so long since I’ve had pastrami. Though this is nothing like a good ol’ American deli sandwich, it was still a flavourful combination of pastrami, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and pickles.
I was quite pleased with myself for also having a salad for lunch for a change. This salad was so bright and colourful – loaded with baby spinach leaves, roasted red peppers and aubergine, feta cheese and roasted pinenuts, and served with a pesto dressing. Not only was it delicious, but I felt great for eating it.
For dessert we had a healthy superfruit berry bowl with Greek yogurt and chia seeds proudly made by Archie (one of the lovely staff), a polenta and raspberry cake, and a ginger and cranberry muffin that was decorated like a Christmas pudding.
I’m picky about my desserts and I was fully expecting these to look better than they tasted. But how wrong was I? The muffin was so soft and moist with whole fresh cranberries baked inside. The polenta cake (which admittedly I thought looked rather boring) had a completely different texture – crumbly yet moist with a layer of fresh raspberries. I can’t decide which I liked more.
Archie was really helpful and deserves a special shout out for giving us such great service. He was proud of his work and knowledgeable about the products. Though this is primarily a place to take your food away, it was a really pleasant way to spend the morning.
Verdict: The prices are decent compared to similar lunchtime spots (AED 25-30 for a salad or sandwich) and the food quality here is arguably much better. If this were near my office, I’d grab lunch there every day.
Note to self: Go early, go hungry, and grab some extra items to eat throughout the day.
Appetite The Shop
Executive Towers, Bay Avenue
Tel: 600 54 66 54
Chow for now!