Lemonade

Newly opened in Ibn Battuta Mall is this Southern Californian concept with casual dining comfort food at its heart. Inside, you’ll find a light and airy canteen-style space, with a few citrus colour accents, amid an overall tone of white. At the front, there is a deli-canteen selection of pretty much any type of dish you could imagine, including bowl upon bowl of varied salads, as well as hot pot-style dishes such as stews and tagines, rotisserie items, and much more besides. There is also a wide selection of different lemonade flavours, from pomegranate to blood orange. Vast and appetising as it all looks, this system does initially seem really quite baffling and confusing. One member of staff tried admirably (but confusingly) to clear up how the dishes were matched to each other. But he then insisted on referring to a section that didn’t contain curry as the ‘curry and rice section’. Another staff member then stated that we could not have mac n cheese as a side dish (despite us saying we’d take it as an extra dish if it wasn’t included). This only added to our bewilderment. The other issue with this style of eating is that it’s hard to keep a track on the cost of what you’ve ordered. Further to this, as most items are not served up fresh, several were cold. Aside from being cold, the soupy, thin mac n cheese we sampled also lacked much of what usually makes this dishes comforting and indulgent. On the brighter side, each of the salads we tried on a combo platter of four portions were bright in flavour, colourfully enticing in appearance, crisp, fresh, healthy tasting and thus delicious. Combinations of crunchy sugar snap peas with edamame bean, sweetly roasted beetroot with hazelnut, and cumin dusted carrot, were all a case in point. The rotisserie portion of a half- roasted chicken was a beautiful piece of juicy flesh and seasoned, buttery skin. By far a favourite of the dishes tried, it was teamed with two complimentary vegetable dishes (or rice). It was also decent value at Dhs53. As for the rice, it was particularly flavoursome (as the server pointed out), but since this came from the addition of chicken stock, it would be one for vegetarians to be wary of. The vegetable side of puréed yam with maple syrup and coconut was a little on the sweet side. Despite this it was an excellent combination. The roasted aubergine and red pepper strips, on the other hand, were far too oily, and consequently unappetising. Service staff were fairly helpful and tackled our indecision and confusion bravely and we liked that they also helped us carry our trays back to the table. Despite some dishes being cold or disappointing, on the whole the selection was appetising and represented good value. Lemonade is certainly worth a go if you are in need of a nourishing and homely selection of comfort food with some healthier options thrown in. The bill (for two) 1x salad combo Dhs51 1x lamb tagine Dhs53 1x rotisserie chicken Dhs53 1x mac n cheese Dhs24 2x lemonade Dhs38 Total (excluding service) Dhs205

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