10 Aug 2017 AT 02:32 PM

REVIEW: Friends Avenue

A JLT café with a New York vibe
10 Aug 2017 AT 02:32 PM
Cafes, Casual Dining, Friends Avenue, Review
Cafes, Casual Dining, Friends Avenue, Review

With Dubai already the proud home of a Breaking Bad-themed coffeeshop, we half expected that Friends Avenue might be the latest homage to the beloved US sitcom – a la Central Perk that stood in Mirdif until 2010. But this emerging diamond on the city’s breakfast scene needs no gimmicks; there are no bleach-blonde members of staff awkwardly serving up cappuccinos or renditions of “Smelly Cat” to be found.

Friends Avenue does, however, share some synergy with Chandler, Monica and the gang. By its own admission, it’s inspired by the “chilled-out back streets of New York” and the JLT favourite has managed to capture that Manhattan vibe – making it a destination designed for whiling away a weekend morning.

With friendly staff, excellent coffee from local Dubai favourite RAW (they’re everywhere now, which is nice to see) and generous portions of crowd-pleasing dishes, Friends Avenue ticks plenty of the right boxes. Breakfast is served until 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays, with the cosy lakeside terrace usually packed in the summer months. Given the rising mercury, and for fear of perspiration tainting our eggs benedict, we seek refuge inside on our visit.

The exposed brick and shelves crammed with knick-knacks are perhaps trying a touch too hard, and what is up with the trend for hanging bicycles on walls? But the atmosphere it helps to generate is spot on, and you might have to wait a while for a table at the weekend. Any delay, though, is amply rewarded. Variations of breakfast staples abound but the menu is about quality not quantity so you won’t be bamboozled by an onslaught of options.

The TriColor Eggs Benedict is, for instance, a fantastic interpretation: a vibrant plate of red, yellow and green with two runny poached eggs sitting atop a toasted brioche doused in creamy hollandaise. Served alongside it is an asparagus, avocado purée and sautéed kale, as well as red pepper hummus and dukkah – a gracious, and delicious, nod to local Middle Eastern influences. It’s pretty tricky to get a bit of everything on your fork at once but succeed in doing so and the iron-rich greens are enhanced by gooey yolk and punchy hummus.

The servings at Friends Avenue are definitely on the considerable size but for those keen to channel their inner Joey, the “Brekkie Board” is a real behemoth. This time, those excellent poached eggs are served on rye bread, accompanied by asparagus, guacamole, organic chorizo, sautéed thyme mushrooms, mozzarella, red pepper hummus and pesto. The menu description of “quite filling”
is a bit of an understatement.

The sweet-toothed will be sated by Friends Avenue’s French toast – a sugary delight that sees yet more brioche layered with silky caramel and banana creams, pistachio ice cream and luscious caramel sauce, topped with crumbled pistachios. Oh, and some token berries.

Those watching the waistline are equally well catered for with the “Good Morning Granola” – served with perfectly poached pear and whipped berry yoghurt – and the “Green Morning Bowl” (who needs bread when you’ve got quinoa?!) two of the highlights.

For a later bite, there is also a great selection of sandwiches and salads on offer – the Pesto Veggie Wrap and Steak Sandwich are superb – but there is no question that it is in the morning when Friends Avenue shines brightest. So whether you live in Dubai or you’re just “on a break”, be sure to visit The One With The Totally Awesome Breakfast.

Three dishes to try

Good Morning Granola
Because it’s Dubai and it’s the morning and you’ll want to start the weekend in a healthy way. Right? Right.

Brekkie Board
Or you could also be starting the weekend a little later than you’d like because of Thursday and, well, you need to eat your way back to normality.

TriColor Eggs Benedict
For gourmands who simply want to start the day with an innovative amalgamation of flavours.

Where: Fortune Executive Tower, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Contact: +9714 554 5813

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