Studio One Café

Word must not have got out about Studio One Café or its enormous sundae (apparently the biggest on JBR Walk). When I showed up, date in tow, one blistering day, we found the venue’s al-fresco seating area empty save for one lone tourist nursing a latte as he gazed vacantly towards the passing foot traffic. Following his example, we perched ourselves in a prime people-watching position and set about perusing the menu. This turned out to be difficult thanks to the haphazard and incongruous layout: the tea selection shared a page with snacks, and soft drinks were categorised as ‘hot beverages’, while pizzas were paired alongside cakes. Our waitress, while sweet, was equally confusing; one minute she suggested we start with ice cream, the next she was recommending peppermint tea. We opted instead for the more conventional snack platter, followed by a Norwegian smoked salmon sandwich and beef pepperoni pizza. Fast-forward 22 minutes: our food finally arrived – all of it. While the waitress was good enough to pull up another table to facilitate this sudden influx of crockery, the fact that it took nearly half an hour (in an empty café) for our order to materialise didn’t bode well. However, the wait had piqued our appetites and it didn’t take long for us to disassemble the neat arrangement of lukewarm spring rolls, nicely spiced samosas, sesame coconut prawns and the curiously named chicken lollipops (think chicken tempura). Our mains were already sitting on the table, so we didn’t have time to dwell on the slow delivery of the snack platter, nor its tepid temperature. The pizza had been prepared with a generous slather of tomato paste, the tartness of which was offset nicely by the cheese. However, it would have benefited from a little more seasoning. The smoked salmon was served as an open sandwich – two hearty slices of brown bread, each sporting succulent folds of pink salmon, which were embellished with slices of soft, fresh avocado. These three layers provided a winning combination of taste and texture. The generously sized portion was complemented by golden fries, plus fresh rocket with cherry tomatoes drizzled in olive oil; I’d almost be prepared to wait 22 minutes for it again. Almost. While the sandwich and pizza had filled us up nicely, we still felt obliged to follow up on our waitress’s original recommendation of ice cream – ‘authentic’ English ice cream, no less. At a very reasonable Dhs10, we opted for two scoops of what turned out to be a fairly good dairy concoction. However, a double helping of chocolate and vanilla proved too rich a conclusion to our meal. Stick with a single scoop and you may even have time to finish it before the summer heat does. The bill (for two) 1x Snack platter Dhs40 1x Pepperoni pizza Dhs48 1x Salmon sandwich Dhs49 1x Ice cream Dhs10 Total (excluding service) Dhs147

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