Leopold’s of London: Named after a fabled wanderer who sourced spices and teas from around the globe and later opened shop in London, this gourmet cafe-style eatery located on The Beach JBR boasts of stunning views of the Dubai shoreline.
What better way to break fast than witnessing the mellowing sunset on this scenic shoreline canvas, with the silhouetto of The Palm Jumeirah in the backdrop? We had the pleasure of breaking our very first fast this Ramadan at Leopold’s of London, and had the very memorable experience indeed.
The restaurant interiors are very spacious, modern and bistro-style. Dark woods, leather upholstery and marbled tabletops makes the setting suave and sophisticated. We decided to take up at table on the top floor and take full advantage of the views. They also have a wide patio with cushioned seating, but it is getting far too humid to be eating alfresco.
What struck me first was the Tea Library. Leopold’s of London stocks the widest variety of teas in the UAE with a total of 275 varieties under their belt! I love the old-world charm of this dark oakwood space, complete with beautifully labelled bottles of prized teas.
The tea library is hosted by a Tea Doctor. The very lovely, amicable Gladys knows her teas like the back of her hand. Take a consultation with her, and she will recommend the best blend to ease any ailment you might be enduring.
Coffee lovers are taken care of here as well with a special ‘Coffee Lab’ catering to a whole array of global roasts.
Leopold’s of London has a set menu for Iftar which costs AED 99 per head.
However, we decided to go a la carte and try out a few of the restaurant’s signature dishes as well. Here is our starters platter with the ‘not so traditional’ Iftar treats:
This platter includes two rather unusual variations of Hummus. One is the Avocado Hummus, a pale green dip that still had the traditional essence of tahini, but predominated by the buttery goodness of avocado. The other was a Chili Hummus, a beautifully creamy hummus that has been spiked up with fiery cayenne. Absolutely loved the chili version!
The platter also included Fattoush, a well-loved Arabic salad that is made of broken wheat. Here the wheat has been substituted with quinoa, giving the salad a healthfully global twist.
The dips were accompanied with an assortment of breads, a light and fluffy Frittata and a bowl of pitted olives.
We also had a salad platter with our starters. If you are having difficulty narrowing down to one choice from the Leopold’s of London menu, they allow you to combine two salads on one platter. We had two of the most talked about salads from the restaurant; the Leopold’s Famous Quinoa Salad and the LOL’s Caesar Salad with a Twist.
How vibrantly beautiful is this salad platter?! I absolutely devoured the quinoa salad. Featuring beautifully red quinoa, this salad is a tossup of beetroot, goat’s cheese, cherry tomatoes and roasted pinenuts. The cheese and pinenuts gives the quinoa salad an Arabesque touch, and each mouthful is further accentuated with a drizzle of the lemon dressing that comes on the side.
And what is the twist with the caesar salad you ask? Move over plain old boring chicken, Leopold’s of London substitutes it with the Arab world’s favorite grill, the Shish Tawook! What a clever marriage of East and West.
Our starters round got me quite excited about the mains. If they can be this nifty with the starters, surely the dishes to follow will have even more exciting twists.
For the main course, Hubby chose to try a signature dish; the Leopold’s Braised Beef Lasagne. When a restaurant puts its name next to a menu item, you know they take special pride in its making. At Leopold’s of London, they go a step further and even brag about this lasagne on their paper napkins! “Word has it that Leopold’s Braised Beef Lasagne is uniquely delicious!’
From its outer appearance this might appear to be your ordinary lasagne, but delve into it with a fork and you are rewarded with an overly generous filling of ‘melt in the mouth’ braised beef. The meat is succulently soft, juicy and brimming with the flavours of a deep, robust marinade. Combined with the melting mozarella of the lasagne, this is one rich, carnivorous treat!
For my mains, I ordered Leopold’s Quinoa Risotto. I love my risottos yet I’ve never had a quinoa version. This restaurant really loves quinoa as you can see, even their drinks menu has a Quinoa Smoothie!
You can choose any protein to go with this risotto, and I went with shrimps. Pan-fried in butter, these plump flavorful shrimps were cooked to perfection, but I hardly had any of these as the quinoa was far too good just on its own! Even my husband, who was ever so skeptical about my order as he detests quinoa, gave off a very appreciative ‘Mmmm…’ with his first spoonful. This healthful take on an Italian classic has to be tried to be believed.
We also had pizza on our table. Unsure which topping to go for? Leopold’s is happy to do two variations on one base. Ours was divided between a Beef Pepperoni and a Jalapeno Chicken topping.
It’s pretty hard choosing a favorite but my 5 year-old, the biggest food critic on the table, absolutely devoured the Beef Pepperoni.
As usual, we had over-ordered. To help drown all this gluttony we sipped on Leopold’s refreshing mocktails.
However, I was eagerly waiting to try out something from the Tea Library! The library has a total of 75 different blends of tea from 45 countires around the world. Yes they have a couple of books on tea here, but the real stories are printed on the bottles themselves, like the Golden Yunnan blend that I was prescribed for mental calm and digestion.
The library includes unconventional blends like the Chocolate Diavolo, and also stocks UAE’s most expensive tea blend that includes 22 carat pure gold, and costs AED 500 per pot (currently only available in the Abu Dhabi branch).
My family and I originate from the North Eastern Indian state of Assam, world renowned for its teas. I was mighty excited seeing a number of Assam tea blends here, and sent photos to my uncle who happens to have worked for Doomur Dullung Estate from where the Leopold’s ‘Broken Assam’ tea comes from 🙂
Tea service at Leopold’s is an art in itself. A beautifully presented tray is served where a glass teapot sits on a burning tealight. The tea leaves are immersed at the table, and the sand timers turned. For light herbal teas, the infusion time is 5 minutes, whereas a strong bolder blend like an Assam tea does not need more than 2 minutes.
Not to be outdone, the coffee here is actually syphoned on the table! Hubby asked for a deeply robust Kenyan blend. With fruity citric undertones, this coffee is best had black and its complex flavors would be lost if it were to be splashed with milk.
Ending on a sweet note, we forked into a generously large wedge of Red Velvet Cake, big enough to be shared between two very satiated adults and a chirpy 5 year-old.
Overall, our very first Iftar this Ramadan at Leopold’s of London proved to be a very memorable one. Watching the sun sink into the horizon at Maghrib as we broke fast, and delving into clever retakes of a traditional Iftar fare make for a commendable evening indeed, and who would have thought the show stealers would be their teas and coffee?!
If you have friends who are serious tea drinkers, Leopold’s of London does beautifully boxed gift sets of their blends.
You can mix it up with LOL merchandise, what a perfect gifting idea for Ramadan 🙂
Leopold’s of London is located on The Beach, JBR (Dubai). For more information on the restaurant, visit their website and if you are planning to book a table this Ramadan, give them a call on 04 4306841 (and ask for a table with a sea view!). Ramadan Kareem.