Icons Coffee Couture

Launched by German model Elena Weber and dubbing itself a ‘luxury fashion and lifestyle coffee shop’, Icons Coffee Couture is a café that specialises in using natural sugar substitute stevia across the menu. It’s a first for Dubai (if not for Frau Weber, who already has a branch of the café in Germany) and a unique addition to Dubai’s increasing number of health-conscious eateries. The venue itself is a very small shop facade decorated in a clean, stark and strong mix of black and white toned chairs, with a few iconic photo portraits printed on the wall (including National Geographic’s ‘Afghan Girl’), alongside various inspirational slogans. Next to the service counter, there’s a small selection of sandwiches and cakes displayed. You may find that the selection looks a little depleted however and doesn’t match the full extent of items listed in the menu. Aside from cakes, the savoury selection is limited to a few sandwiches and pasta salads: strangely carb-focussed for a menu that promotes a sugar-free diet. Stranger still was the server’s response when asked if the meat in the sesame chicken power sandwich was organic: a ‘no’, but with a shake of the head as if this was not the case. Bizarre considering a poster on the wall declared the brand’s commitment to organic sourcing. Still, from the sandwich selection, minted halloumi on Bavarian bread was warmed before serving, and surprisingly large, generously stuffed with thick slices of the grilled cheese. Since the sandwich was evidently pre-prepared, the single leaf of lettuce was lank. There was also not enough of a fresh, minty flavour to lift the saltiness of the cheese and the bread had a hard and tough outer crust. From the sweet selection, one of a few items still available were the jar cakes (cupcakes made in jars). As stated, everything is made with stevia sweetener, rather than refined sugar. Still, the chocolate-raspberry recipe sampled was not an appetising alternative to traditional baking. The frosting was sweet but had little actual flavour, while the sponge itself was incredibly dry and also lacking in taste, aside from the accents of fruity raspberry jam. One signature beverage on the menu is the snow white frappe. It was in fact simply ice-blended milk, sweetened with stevia. It did have a creamy consistency but again, the flavour was artificial. For a health-focussed menu to work, it needs to showcase something that is either as delicious as the original, or different, but great in its own way. The menu here is largely disappointing and even if your diet is a no-sugar zone, there are more convincing alternatives to be found. The bill (for one) 1x minted Bavarian halloumi sandwich Dhs31 1x raspberry chocolate jarcake Dhs23 1x mango skin boost drink Dhs19 1x snow white frappe Dhs21 Total (excluding service) Dhs94

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