Two BFF’s uncover a profound love for bagels on a trip to the Big Apple, and decide to recreate the experience right here in the UAE. Fast-forward a decade of decadence, and they have an entire chain of restaurants spread across the UAE and KSA.
The very name of the cafe is derived from the shape of the New York bagels they so fell in love with, and till today the bagels at Circle Cafe are imported all the way from NYC. I visited the branch at The Dubai Mall last week; ironically I didn’t have a bagel! I was there for lunch with fellow blogger Rafael from DubaiFoodie.com and my lovely colleague Nisha, and we had quite a spread of globally inspired dishes.
Circle Cafe at The Dubai Mall is situated on the Ground Floor, right next to the Dubai Waterfalls. You can hear the powerful gush of water from every corner of the cafe, and this might prove to be rather zen if you are choosing to dine here alone, nose hooked into one of the many books on their cosy shelves. However, the noise can be a little overpowering when you are trying to socialize (or answer a phone call for that matter). The staff tell us they are working on getting the area closed off with a noise-proof glass wall.
The interiors of the cafe are very kitsch. On one wall is a set of very attractive, pop-art paintings depicting famous women from different corners of the world. The furniture here is so shabby chic, and resemble a quaint little cafe you might find in a forgotten corner of Paris.
Circle Cafe has an all-day breakfast menu, and a number of enticing healthful smoothies and fresh juices. From the smoothies, I highly recommend their Chia Berry Almond. This thick, superfood-enriched smoothie is like a mini meal in itself and features a mix of berries, chia seeds, almonds, honey and yogurt in a soy milk base.
We started off with a platter of assorted Hummus, accompanied with vegetable crudites and Zaater sprinkled Bagel Chips. There was a bright purple Beetroot Hummus, which I’ve had before and loved, and then there was a Green Bell Pepper Hummus and a Pumpkin Hummus. I liked the former, but the pumpkin version was a little bland for my liking.
If you are looking for a quick, healthy lunch, Circle Cafe has you covered with a range of delicious salads. The portion sizes here are very generous too! We tried the Mexican Chicken Salad, a toss-up of chopped chicken, fresh avocado and guacamole, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans edamame, tomato salsa and cajun-spiced bagel chips. This is a party in a bowl, ole!
From their ‘Main Meals’, my favorite was their Thai Green Curry. Alright, I am biased! You know I am a huge Thai food fan! But I never expected a cafe to make green curry this well. The coconut milk base was beautifully smooth, fragrant and spiked with just the right enough to spice to be shared with friends who can’t eat as much chili as I do! Best of all, for an added healthful twist, Circle Cafe allows you to swap the Jasmine Rice for Quinoa.
Being a huge fan of avocado, I chose to try the Chicken & Avo from Circle Cafe’s ‘Sandwiches’ section. We chose to have it as a wrap, which actually proved to be a messy affair as it came undone. Next time, I’ll go for bagel! The chicken was moist and tasty, but I wish it had more avocado in it as the little bits were lost in all that mayo.
By far, the most loved platter on our table was Circle Cafe’s sweet potato fries. Crisp as they were sweet, and coated in a light sprinkle of summac, these fries are to die for!
When it came to dessert, we already knew what we were having as soon as we walked in! On the board by the counter, we saw an enticing description of Circle Cafe’s Lotus Sundae. Like all things served here, this sundae is monstrously large! Each serving comes in a mason jar that is easily shareable between two.
The sundae features a thick layer of lotus biscuit paste at the bottom, and an overly generous helping of vanilla ice-cream on the top. For a hint of crunch, the sundae is topped with a layer of caramelized popcorn. I would have liked more texture in this dessert, perhaps a sprinkle of lotus biscuit crumbs. And for once, I’d like a dessert in a smaller portion size please!
In summary, Circle Cafe is a quiet corner of an otherwise busy, boisterous Dubai Mall. The Dubai Fountains can be enjoyed closeup in these quarters, and I’d like to come back after a bout of retail therapy to chill over a healthful smoothie and loose myself in a book.
The serving portions are overly generous, and my favorites include the Mexican Chicken Salad, the Sweet Potato Fries and the Thai Green Curry. They also have soulful-sounding ‘soups of the day’ that I’d like to try.
I visited the Circle Cafe branch in The Dubai Mall (located on the Ground Floor, right next to the Waterfall). They have 14 more branches spread across the UAE and KSA. Click here for details.
Also, have a read on what Rafael from DubaiFoodie.com has to say about our Circle Cafe lunch! Click here.
Rafael also created this video showcasing the highlights of our Circle Cafe lunch! Happy viewing 🙂