|In a word: Heaven|
|Food: Just what the foodie ordered – organic, locally sourced, fresh, homemade and mighty tasty!|
|Presentation: Clean, simple and homely. You don’t need fuss when the food speaks for itself|
|Ambience: Great hub for feasting with the family, or perhaps a romantic dinner overlooking the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains or the Marina and Yacht Club|
|Location: Two Downtown and a Marina location – that’s both ends of town covered and both have great views|
|Value for money: You pay for quality and ethically sound ingredients. It’s no more expensive than any other cafe or bistros out there|
|Worth a visit?: Of course, it’s my favourite place to eat – a go-to time and time again|
This is one seriously overdue post…
It’s officially my favourite place to eat anywhere in the world right now.
Baker & Spice offers me everything I love about real food: ethical, organic where possible, locally & regionally sourced ingredients, freshly home-made dishes, beautiful, tasty and varied salads, succulent mains, the most amazing bread, not-too-naughty and some rather naughty desserts and friendly, competent service.
Baker & Spice is the business that is centred on the kitchen and what they can do with the produce they source and everything they sell is made in house. Baker & Spice’s use of local and regional produce over an imported option is demonstrated in their use of pomegranate syrup over balsamic vinegar, and date syrup over maple syrup. Both incredibly tasty alternatives.
A big bonus for me is that the Marina branch *was* just a five minute walk from home, perfect for those ‘I can’t be bothered to cook’ evenings that we all get, or Friday morning breakfast…or Tuesday afternoon ‘need some cake’ moments! I say was, unfortunately we’ve now left Dubai and embarked on six months of travels before relocating to the UK, which is awesome, the unfortunately is because I will dearly miss our second home, Baker & Spice.
I also love that I can take home their bread, jams, pomegranates, avocados and grapefruits from the piles they have on display, and everything else they have on the menu and in their kitchen if you ask nicely! We’ve had some of the best avocados, pomegranates and grapefruits from Baker & Spice.
I first fell in love with Baker & Spice after visits to their branch in Souk Al Bahar for evening meals overlooking the dancing fountains and the Burj Khalifa and breakfasts followed by a shopping spree at the farmer’s market that was hosted by Baker & Spice on the Terrace at Souk Al Bahar, before Emaar withdrew their support for the venture.
In 2012 Baker & Spice announced they were opening a branch on the Marina. I knew this was a love affair that would continue, and this was reinforced after meeting Yael Mejia, the mother of Baker & Spice, she totally captivated me with stories of her passion for food with integrity, the inspiration behind Baker & Spice and Gale’s Artisan Bakery in London, and tales of sourcing pomegranates from Iran and artisan bread (check out the video of Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, New York). Yael is also the brains behind Foodcraft Solutions, an international consultancy to the food industry, focusing on ethics, sustainability, authenticity and integrity.
I was extra in love with Yael and Baker & Spice when she said they would be setting up a farmers market on the Marina…a dream come true! Unfortunately, Emaar withdrew their support for the initiative on their properties and sadly after one season the farmer’s market never came back to the Marina. Luckily, at the end of 2012, Baker & Spice found a new patron in the form of the Jumeirah Group and in season, Baker & Spice are hosting the original farmers market at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel Ballroom Gardens, check out the Farmer’s Market on the Terrace Facebook group for details of their upcoming markets.
And it’s not just me that loves a bit of Baker & Spice, as testament to their greatness, the people voted Baker & Spice the Best Cafe in Dubai at the Time Out 2013 Awards earlier this year. Yael also made it into the mainstream media limelight this year with a nomination for Emirates Women Women of the Year 2013 under the category of Visionaires for women whom have “challenged the norm and become trailblazers in their chosen field”. It’s great to see someone who cares so passionately about something that should be so simple and natural as proper food, to make it into the headlines of fashion and lifestyle magazines.
I could go on, and I will, but i’ll keep it short and sweet…
The food is just great – it’s authentic, simple, homemade and just incredibly tasty. Minimal fuss to create maximum taste. Perfect.
For breakfast you must try their almond croissant which I rate as one of the best in Dubai, the cinnamon buns are pure naughty goodness. The shashuka is delicious, and their Homemade Granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt rocks my healthy socks off! The Blueberry Pancakes and French Toast get the thumbs up from my other half. The smoothies are full of fruit and flavor, and you get a good sized pot of tea for your monies, my favourite being fresh mint leaves and hot water: the perfect way to start the day.
As for lunch or supper (or even breakfast), you can’t go wrong with the salad plate, just select four from their salad counter for heavenly healthiness for AED 58. They have a great selection of regularly changing mains that always, always, turn up flavourful and succulent. The Quiche’s are mini in size but big in taste. The regular menu offers something for everyone from local to tourist; staples like burgers, lasagna, stuffed aubergine. Going off piste from our usual, my other half was very impressed with their burger and I have to say their chunky rustic chips are the best in Dubai, possibly the world.
I also love the generous bread basket and their homemade seeded crackers with tomato dip to tide you over until your main arrives, or in my case fill you up as you’ve got no self control!
I’d also recommend that you get stuck into their cakes. The Carrot and Walnut Cake, in my opinion, beats the uber popular carrot cake from the Lime Tree, which I find bland in comparison to the beautifully spice-laced version at Baker & Spice. Their oatmeal and raisin cookies, fruity Harvest Cake, full-on cheesecakes, and divine Chocolate Obsession Cake are all rather good too.
Baker & Spice has great style; clean and simple, lots of wood, beautiful pots of orchids, white ceramics, stylish cutlery, and huge platters of fruit. I feel the focus on delivering good wholesome food rather than focusing on fancy, and unnecessary in my mind, presentation. Why fart around with tidily portions of food and immaculately placed drizzles of sauce when you’re getting the food right: hot, tasty and healthy.
As a regular, I’m always, always greeted with a smile & hello at the Marina branch, no matter how busy they are, and the staff know exactly what we’re going to have: sparkling water with lemon, salad plate and a main! On the occasions we venture Downtown, I’m amazed the staff remember me and how efficient they are at such a busy location.
I’ve heard customers complain about the service, but i’ve never had a problem at either location. Maybe it’s because i’m not expecting fast-food, i’m more patient and laid back,, and I see them developing talent and giving opportunities to individuals to grow into roles. We tend to visit at time when the Marina branch isn’t that busy, either before or after the rush, just so we get the best table, best service and best choice of food. It’s not rocket science!
Value for money:
Baker & Spice isn’t expensive when you consider it’s offering you the best of local and regional produce, lovingly prepared in their kitchens and darn tasty to boot!
Again, It’s a case of paying for my health by nourishing my body with the best, or paying for it later with invasive and expensive medical interventions. Prevention is always better than cure in my book. Baker & Spice is my preventative medicine…croissants and cake-wise, moderation is key here!
Souk al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, Tel: +971 4 4252240
Dukkan al Manzil, Downtown, Dubai, Tel: +971 4 4279856
Dubai Marina (opposite the Yacht Club), Tel: +971 4 3624686
Daily 8am until 11pm