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Friday, June 2, 2023

Cafe Reviews: Abu Dhabi Social, Mamsha Al Saadiyat

We live in a society…

Remember that kid at school who was good at everything—loved by teachers and students, and a joy to be around? That is Saadiyat Island. It’s sporty (check out the stunning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club); popular and heartrendingly handsome (it was recently voted the Middle East’s best beach destination for the 11th year in a row); and it’s great for animals ( wild dolphins, sea turtles and gazelles); it has a profound cultural heritage (see the current and future galleries and museums of the Cultural District), and oh my goodness it can cook.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat’s food court features culinary influences from nearly every culinary region of the globe, and café culture is served in giant 31-ounce ‘trenta’ mugs, according to the unofficial Abu Dhabi coffee constitution.

Society is a late addition to the Mamsha strip, imported from Dubai’s Jumeirah, a fertile hotbed of homegrown craft concepts. If OG cafes are a stone’s throw away from the beach, this Saadiyat stronghold is just a stone’s throw away. With lapis lazuli island sea within easy reach, the unobstructed view adds a fairytale backstory to the al fresco seating.

It was midday, with the unhindered sun beating overhead, and we wanted something light but filling; from somewhere between the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Our waitress was affable and unflappable, taking her pace with experience when we hesitated, and she calmly recommended the pepperoni flatbread (Dhs62). “Still spicy? We really like spicy things” After being assured that it was indeed spicy, we locked onto the recommendation and ordered the sugary peach iced tea.

While we waited for our food, we wandered the interior of the restaurant – which, like its Dubai sister, shares a passion for the creative curves and decorative applications of an Art Deco design palette. It’s a handsome, spacious cafe and, as far as we can tell, the breakfast menu is particularly laudable – though, to be fair, that’s another core tenet of the unofficial Abu Dhabi coffee charter.

Back at the table, the flatbread, basically the bungalow of the pizza world, was waiting for us. It’s characterized by an earthy, bready flavor, a hint of exotic spice in the meaty topping (cumin? fennel?), but the base’s deliberate lack of fluffy depth means that for us, the bite is still majestic, perhaps secondary The pizza of other species nearby.

The peach iced tea that comes into the order as a wild card is a real binge find. It’s a rabbit-hole drink blend of fruity nectars and herbal teas, perfect for a warm sunny day (fortunately, Saadiyat Island does have some).

Conclusion: The society is a valuable addition to the Mamsha clan in Saadiyat Island. We will definitely be back to explore more of the menu and reorder the peach iced tea.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, 8pm to 11pm (midnight on Friday and Saturday). @societyhuae

Image: Supplied

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