Newly opened in JLT, and currently only open during the day (although with plans to extend those hours from September) is this new neighbourhood haunt, Friends’ Avenue Café.
The venue feels surprisingly small once you get inside, with tables almost uncomfortably close together. However, this impression is also a reflection of how busy Friends’ Avenue Café was when we last visited on a weekday lunchtime. The venue looks like a neat mixture of urban edge and domestic cosiness.
There is table service, and the waiters are nice and certainly making an effort to do everything the right way. However (again, perhaps a result of how busy the venue was), the wait for food to arrive after ordering was too long, and one dish never arrived (a salad, ordered to share). Nevertheless, the food itself is enjoyable, so it’s not a wasted wait. On the menu there are breakfast dishes (available until 11am), plus a selection of salads, sandwiches and more substantial main courses such as crispy skinned salmon, steak, or burgers.
The day’s special was a burger stuffed with pulled beef brisket and since almost everyone else seemed to be ordering this, we decided to follow the day’s trend. What arrived was a wooden platter with a fat and fluffy sesame bun, crammed with shredded meat and shredded cabbage. It was a really rich, greedy and filling lunchtime treat and a great change of scene from a more typical beef burger. The chips were also pretty atypical, since on the side were huge wedges of potatoes, which were much more like gigantic specimens of skin-on, roasted spuds than your average chip. And very nice (and a lot healthier, we would suspect) they were too.
Also sampled was one of the sandwiches from the daily à la carte selection: the veggie sandwich. Also teamed with skin-on potato wedges, this sandwich was pleasurably stuffed to the hilt as well. This time, though, with plenty of semi-molten and tangy goat’s cheese and slice upon slice of roasted Mediterranean style vegetables (mixed peppers, aubergine and courgette). Very tasty, but actually terribly oily too.
AWOL salad aside, Friends’ Avenue Café is a neat, nice and affordably priced little café. If in the area, we’d certainly give it a shot again.
The bill (for two)
1x veggie sandwich Dhs28
1x daily special burger Dhs52
2x juice Dhs32
2x coffee Dhs31
Total (excluding service) Dhs143