Klayya Bakery and Sweets

Despite the vast variety of cuisines on offer in Dubai, it’s ironic that local, traditional and authentic Emirati food, can seem inaccessible. So when we heard of a café serving Emirati breakfasts, we visited Klayya in a shot. When we visited at 9am on a Monday morning the café wasn’t exceptionally busy – a local couple were tucking into eggs and bread, and there were a couple of yummy mummies in the corner having coffee. However, considering the café’s minuscule size, this seemed indicative enough of its appeal. The whitewashed walls made the space feel light and airy, while the brightly coloured and imaginative use of Arabic patterns and accessories had a young, eclectic and breezy beach vibe worthy of Barcelona. From the instant the waiter spotted me sitting in the corner, service was impeccably friendly and polite. In fact, I was surprised by how professional and well thought out the waiter’s manner was for such a small venue. The menu was small and neat, with a few breakfast dishes (each teamed with a complimentary cup of ‘karak’, a traditional tea with milk and spices). I went for the ryoog yerena plate: a combination of date omelette, three types of the café’s daily baked traditional breads, and a cup of karak. Served in a little steel pan, the date omelette was a sort of ‘oeufs en cocotte’ concoction, with two baked eggs sitting on a bed of dates. I imagine the sweetness of the dates would make this dish too rich to eat regularly for breakfast, and the lack of gooey yolk in the egg, not to mention the burnt date crust at the bottom of the pan, suggested it had been overcooked. However, it was still a hugely enjoyable new experience. The varying degrees to which the dates had received heat turned them into a spectrum from sweet gooey caramel to a sticky toffee, with an entirely new level of flavour from caraway seeds sprinkled over the top. The breads, which arrived warm and fresh from the oven in a giant incense box, were equally delightful. The khameer bread played out a similar balance as the eggs – again mixing sweet and aniseed flavours – while the muhala was delicately crisp like a cobweb, and the chebab was a soft, buttery pancake with a gentle saffron warmth. The decent list of local hot drinks was also well worth delving into. The karak tea was sweet, strong and comforting, while the recommended haleeb kastar was thick and sweet like an eggy custard, with the diverting bite of chia seeds floating at the top. What a way to start the day. The bill (for one) 1x gahawa Dhs6 1x haleeb kastar Dhs7 1x small water Dhs4 1x ryoog yerena Dhs37 Total (excluding service) Dhs54

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