The expansion of Dubai’s CityWalk has proven quite a lucrative proposition for the ‘urban living concept’ from Meraas holdings. An outdoor shopping and dining destination boasting the feel of a cosmopolitan European Boulevard and featuring some of the newest attractions to hit the UAE. Aside from gaming paradise ‘Hub Zero’ and the regions first indoor rainforest The Green Planet, CityWalk had added a string of good quality restaurants (Farzi Cafe, The Brass, La Patisserie Des Reves) to its already heavy bow.
There’s no escaping the high-end lifestyle options scattered throughout the pedestrianized precinct and covering a range of luxury brands, CityWalk is marketed towards a very specific clientele and one that is likely to embrace the current cafe culture. So with great ambition, Roux bursts onto the scene hoping to make its mark.
Roux is a home-grown dining concept created by siblings Shames and Mariam Al Hashemi. Designed as ‘an inspiring oasis of calm’ it’s a fairly casual spot serving up organic breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Roux can be found in the interior part of the mall and the lack of outside space is unfortunate, considering the cool climate at present. On the flip side, we can envision Roux becoming exceptionally busy during summer months with people looking to dine within the confines of air conditioned comfort. At times it feels as though you could be outside, thanks to an abundance of foliage in the open-plan layout and a ceiling made of glass panels, bathing the seating area in swathes of natural light.
Roux feels very European with a distinct market vibe and a dash of hipster appeal. A metal bicycle stands against boxes of vibrant fruit and vegetables and glass cabinets filled with cakes, muffins and cookies, aim to entice passing shoppers. Randomly, a large silver bull guards the entrance, flecked with metallic blue and red paint. A strange juxtaposition to the large mural of Dubai depicting the Burj Khalifa partially engulfed by sand dunes. With a caption reading “The Story Never Ends” it’s a fitting homage to Dubai’s development from desert to gleaming metropolis.
Our visit at 12pm on a lazy Saturday was for lunch but we soon discovered that lunch service doesn’t begin until 2pm. No biggie, we love breakfast anyway and were secretly pleased to be able to indulge in a selection of waffles, pancakes and various forms of eggs. With the menu changing depending on the time of day, we found the breakfast offerings to be fairly extensive. For the ‘new year, new me’ types, there are plenty of healthy choices such as the Avocado and Brie or the Good Pot (homemade granola with greek yoghurt and fresh fruits). For the rest of us, Roux provides a mix of more sinful offerings like Monkey Business (banana bread, caramelized banana and whipped espresso mascarpone) or the Udder-ly Delicious Pancakes, available with a range of toppings.
Indecision was our problem. With so many of the menu items calling out to us, we ashamedly picked an unnecessary four dishes in the quest for the ultimate #BreakfastGoals.
But first we needed coffee and the daily specials scrawled across various chalkboards proclaimed the availability of specialty blends from Ethiopia and Brazil and even the promise of a rose flavored latte. Mrs. Out and About make the correct choice with her Red Velvet Hot Chocolate. A drink of such vibrancy its hard to believe the colouration isn’t artificial. The blend stays just on the right side of sweet and once mixed together, the colour becomes less saturated and the chocolatey goodness seeps in. Mrs. Out and About even went so far as to claim it her favourite hot chocolate in Dubai, which is impressive in itself as she is the fiercest food critic we know.
I on the other hand made a disastrous choice. The Toasted Almond & Coconut Mocha was something we only ordered due to the unique sounding flavour combination. It’s been some time since we’ve taken an active dislike to something but a mouthful of desiccated coconut does not a good coffee make – sorry guys.
With the coffee washed away with some far superior mocktails. We recommend The Glow’s refreshing cucumber base or The Black, using activated charcoal renowned for its health benefits. Our breakfast choices didn’t disappoint (unlike the coffee) and we began with The Benediction. A term normally used in reference to a religious blessing also seemed apt for Roux’s spin on the traditional eggs Benedict. Here the two organic poached eggs are presented on a Canadian waffle and topped with a homemade hollandaise. As expected, the eggs were light and runny, while the waffle made for a particularly welcome change from the usual toast or breakfast muffin. It was the bacon that was the real surprise, as it actually tasted like pork rather than the overly processed bacon so often found throughout the Emirates (just to clarify it’s not actually pork).
French Toast is our go-to breakfast item on any menu and the Lost Bread takes our favourite egg covered bread to a whole new level! Served with a fresh vanilla ice cream, the caramelized French toast is covered in a cereal crust and adorned with lashings of maple syrup and red berries. It’s a slightly sticky mixture to eat but one that is absolutely divine.
Our waiters recommendation was the The Cheating Wraith. Described in the menu as “Roux’s signature oven-baked waffle stuffed with Oreos and topped with marshmallows and Malteasers served with a side of milk chocolate sauce.” The Cheating Wraith is the perfect combination of gooey marshmallow and rich chocolate, which despite its calorific nature is the type of comfort food we yearn for on a weekend. The waffle sandwich was perhaps not the ideal choice for breakfast, due to its heavy nature and it’s not often we’re defeated by a dish but in this case we lost big time!
Scram N Eggs doesn’t change the rulebook when it comes to the classic smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Utilizing organic eggs and serving them with chives, onions, dill and herb roasted cherry tomatoes. It’s the German rye bread and Scottish smoked salmon that are the stars of the show and mixed with a slither of avocado, make for a vibrant plate in terms of both taste and visuals.
With so many breakfast choices in Dubai it’s hard to be impressed but Roux does just that. Thanks to a mix of organic produce and home-cooked dishes and its pleasing to note that everything is made in house, from the freshly blended juices to the delightful breads with olive tapenade.
Although not normally fans of in-mall dining, Roux doesn’t promote this feeling. It feels like an establishment that’s bringing the outdoors into confines of a retail complex. Helped along by a team of young and charming staff, dressed in green aprons, rolled up jeans and sparkling white sneakers.
Roux offers customers the very best of breakfast and we look forward to returning again in the near future to sample the lunch and dinner offerings, which we expect to be a mixture of salads, sandwiches and a fair few surprises.
#RouxTheDay #RouxThe World – it all seems fitting. Just make sure you add Roux into your next visit to City Walk.
We were invited to dine at Roux. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.