Between the Starbucks, the Costas, the Tim Hortons, the Neros – plus Stomping Grounds and Common Grounds and The Espresso Lab – there are a lot of cafes in Dubai catering to the full spectrum of coffee drinkers.
Jamaica Blue is somewhere between a Starbucks and Stomping Grounds. It’s more than just coffee, but not quite a place where the waiters have a degree in coffeeology. They have a bigger menu than your basic coffeehouse, but don’t expect a gourmet meal.
I’ve visited Jamaica Blue at the Flora Al Barsha Hotel by invitation on two occasions. This Australian coffee chain has an interesting location strategy with 8 Dubai outlets – two in shopping malls (Ibn Battuta and Al Ghurair Centre), two in hotels, two in hospitals and two in office blocks. Aside from the branches in the shopping mall, unless you live or work near one, it may be that you’ve never even seen a Jamaica Blue at all.
However they’ve been in Dubai for years, and you may even recall their huge billboards on the side of Sheikh Zayed Road, which incidentally promoted lemonade and iced tea. However, their real signature is that their baristas do free-pour latte art.
I’m a sucker for latte art and the coffee is decent as they source their coffee beans from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. They boast single origin beans, plus their own specialty blends.
The food on the other hand is fairly standard. This is more a place for sustenance – perhaps a quick breakfast if you’re staying in the hotel, a convenient lunch if it’s near your office, or an alternative to hospital food as the case may be. Here’s the display of pastries, croissants and sandwiches. They also have a small kitchen where they can prepare a limited selection of other dishes.
The thing I love most about the food at Jamaica Blue is that the savoury dishes come with a very nice salad of lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, onions and a balsamic herb dressing. But my turkey and cheese croissant was relatively standard. It did have the unexpected, upmarket addition of spinach, but the cheese was a mild cheddar that didn’t melt particularly well. (And it has to be said, my croissant cheese of choice is Emmentaler.)
This is the breakfast baguette (though it felt more like a panini) – made with omelette, shallot, smoked salmon and tomato chutney. Mr. S usually eats everything, but even he wasn’t a fan. But he inhaled the salad on both plates.
Verdict: Possibly the best place for coffee on that strip of Barsha, outside of the Mall of the Emirates. But when will you find yourself there is the question…
Note to self: Wan wan coco ful baskit. Apparently this is a Jamaican saying that means if you stop rushing and take your time, you will achieve your goal. Word.
Flora Al Barsha Hotel
Near Mall of the Emirates
Tel: 04 274 6666
Chow for now!