Leopold's of London
With the face of JBR’s beach shifting from glorified construction site to attractive seaside promenade in the last few months of 2014, the way has been paved for a number of familiar eateries offering sun worshipers and shoppers alike some stellar gastronomic relief.
One of the first establishments to lead the charge in this prime section of restaurant real estate is Leopold’s of London – a modern café concept brought over from the UK that already boasts three established spots in Dubai’s neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Banish from your mind the uninspiring yeast-based offerings of the cafes you lazily frequent on your lunch hour, in Leopold’s you’ll arguably find a gourmet menu with enough range and quality to rival many of Dubai’s better known, hotel-based restaurants.
The sandwich and salad selection is strong, mostly polished re-imaginations of classics – all on display at the counter to make the decision process easier, a welcome addition as ordering salads in this country can be a something of a vinaigrette-soaked minefield. If you’re after something a bit heartier, (and if you’ve snared a terrace table overlooking the beach, why rush?) the pizza and pasta selection is decent and sampling the Leopold’s lasagne is advised – comprised of braised beef short rib and comte cheese, it’s a refreshing take on the Italian staple.
The jewel in Leopold’s culinary crown however, is its Black Angus Burger. Marinated beautifully, grilled to exacting standards and lathered in the café’s homemade BBQ sauce, it remains (at the risk of starting a meat patty based debate among readers) unequivocally the best burger we’ve had in Dubai as yet.
For afters, Leopold’s also offers a veritable haven for caffeine aficionados, with a special section of the menu dedicated to the meticulous production of various coffee based delights. Exotic sounding beans sourced from the furthest stretches of the earth, all painstakingly filtered through chemical contraptions that would look more at home on the Breaking Bad set than a beachside café – just so you can get a decent espresso.