Dubai never ceases to amaze with what it can conjure up in the middle of what was essentially a desert, and whilst some things (ski slopes and ice bars spring to mind) seem like utter madness, others strike you as the perfect fit. So it was upon hearing about The Hamptons cafe opening in Dubai - a notion which made me tilt my head to the side, nod a little and say: 'Yeah. Bout right.'
Beachside elegance, luxe living and all things shabby chic came to this place to hang out, and whilst the location right on the roadside of one of Dubai's main streets does seem a touch bizarre on the outside, step into this place and you're transported. The interior really has been done to impeccable standards. Large throw cushions, grey birch wood and nautical stripe everything marry with luxe label brands and menu iPads, handed to you upon seating. You'll also be served by a host in a dandy suit, wearing an earpiece that makes him or her look like they are part of an intricate security operation.
So, superficially at least, everything is in order. The menu is stocked with choice breakfast fare - avocado toast, eggs multiple ways, french toast, pancakes - the whole gang's here. Service is paced well - not so fast as to make you feel rushed, but not so slow that you're tapping your feet. We ordered a Hamptons healthy breakfast (granola, croissant and orange juice) and a peanut butter French toast. Both were delicious, and presented immaculately. The french toast was crispy on the outside, fluffy and soft within, and the peanut butter was a nice contrast to the very sweet, syrupy eggy bread. The granola was tart and fresh - the yoghurt was a little warmer than I might have liked but hey, you're talking about 42 degree weather Dubai here.
And yet, I was left feeling a little... eh? This is a luxury breakfast - with a price tag to match - and whilst everything was almost immaculate, it was maybe a little soulless. A little too pristine. And I can't quite get my host's sneer out of my mind when I asked for cranberry juice ('We don't do that here') and when my mum asked for a local brand bottle of water ('We only carry Italian'). Maybe it's just me, but I like my eateries with a little more heart. Rough around the edges, like me. I might have been just a touch intimidated by the perfection of this place, and its clientele.
Would I visit again? For sure! But maybe next time I'll keep my sunnies on and just enjoy the people watching and anonymity of being another face in the beautiful crowd.