When I heard my friend Tina say we’ll go to Shakespeare and Co. , my first thought was “oh! goodie, we get to see a play!” I failed to see her knowing grin. 🙂 I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived and saw to my delight that Shakespeare and Co. was a café!!
With a fully loaded french patisserie, homemade chocolates, petit fours and viennoiseries – a new word I learnt, meaning breakfast pastries like croissants, brioches and the like. The mere sight of those baked goods had me singing hallelujah to the heavens. Reiterating me being a foodie through and through!
I also found out that the Shakespeare and Co. restaurant/cafe chain was actually founded in Dubai, the English name not withstanding. They have many branches all across the Middle East and one in Kentucky, USA.
The one thing that hit my senses apart from the wonderful wafting aromas, was the décor. Shabby chic? Well, who am I to give labels! I saw lots of floral prints, eclectic chairs, velvet curtains, laces and accents, tons of cushions of different sizes and shapes, all in an array of complimenting muted colors. Their furniture is wide-ranging with an assortment of lamps and chandeliers of different hues, chests of drawers and other ornaments… you feel like you have entered another world.It was a wonderland, and I was Alice! Totally enchanted.
While I was gushing away, I overheard a British accent at the next table saying that the place” looked like it was decorated by Marie Antoinette crossed with a fortune telling gypsy!“:) I thought the sheesha (a flavoured water pipe) smoking gentleman was bang on with his comment. The end result is really interesting and gets all kinds of reactions from its clientele. With the level of attention to detail they had going, it shows that they take pride in being away from the cookie cutter concepts that usually abound.
We went to the one housed at Souk Al Bahar – an Arabic style retail and dining destination (not a mall, mind you) in the heart of the prestigious downtown Dubai. The souk style architecture has stone corridors, high archways, subdued lighting and a unique waterfront location on the Burj lake with a view of the iconic Burj Khalifa and Dubai fountain. I was totally sold on the place and the décor even before opening the menu!!!:)
The very friendly staff seated us after asking our preference and presented us the menu, which was a booklet! It was evening time and we decided to have a rather late lunch (it was a lazy day for us!). The menu is composed of salads, sandwiches, wraps, variations of eggs, crêpes, saj (Arabic bread) and more; And the juices are just fantastic. This is something that I found to be true of most places in Dubai, they combine freshly squeezed juices in ways that it leaves you hungering for more. Believe you me, I’ve had the most interesting mixes of mocktails from the most freshest of ingredients with a twist that gave it the extra edge.
Back to our ordering, Tina got herself one of her staples here, an interesting looking sandwich which had grilled vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette and potato chips (sorry, no pic!:(. She also ordered a watermelon and lychee juice to wash it all down, while I got a savory crepe stuffed with turkey, ham and emmental cheese. My drink had a base of pink grapefruit, mint , peach and lemonade and was so refreshing! I forget what it was called.
We spent the early evening with girly natter while noshing away. It was really good to catch up with my very good friend who I had been missing after she moved away from Bangalore. And we were in the right place, with the comfortable sofas, the artfully decorated mismatched cushions and armchairs set together around coffee tables making for a very relaxed and homely atmosphere. More like our grandmother’s living room.
I was happy :). Shakespeare and Co. is that kind of place.