The new Courtyard by Marriott is directly connected to the World Trade Center Mall. It features three dining venues including Fifth Street Café, the hotel’s casual deli on the ground floor.
We pick a table in front of two large televisions where the British Premier League is playing; although we worry we’ve now lost the attention of our football-loving companion.
The café is modern, airy and bright. Egg-shaped wicker seats hang near the windows, while bookshelves display cookery books and bottles of olive oil for sale. A large, central table allows for groups of friends to socialise, while smaller tables are dotted around.
The organic food menu, which features everything from breakfast to dinner items, is printed on both sides of a sheet of recycled paper – kudos for the eco-friendly touch – while a blackboard displays weekly specials.
Its wide range of fresh beverages, which includes fruit juices and over ten types of coffee, catches our attention. We choose a refreshing iced green tea with mint and watermelon juice.
Apart from the soft beverages, they also offer ‘grown up’ milkshakes in moreish combinations – think salted caramel with a twist – something we haven’t seen elsewhere.
We start by sharing eggplant caponata on toast, warm homemade rustic seed bread topped with creamy baby mozzarella, slices of eggplant, rocket salad and pine nuts.
The vegetarian among us digs into pan-fried gnocchi, a delicious take on the classic potato dumpling dish, served with just the right amount of roasted tomato, hazelnut and sage butter sauce.
The meat-eater tries the slow-cooked beef meatballs in tomato sauce accompanied by aromatic herb couscous and a cup of horseradish cream. The unusual mix is a hit.
Choosing a dessert proves difficult, as a glass display case overflows with pastries from date and pistachio tarts decorated with gold leaf to chocolate cakes.
We settle for a slice of original cheesecake, a light and creamy cake topped with blueberries.
This café offers take-away, however we recommend dining in to soak up the relaxed atmosphere and be among the first to try it.
Location: Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street
We say: A perfect spot to socialise with friends
Cost: AED 250 for two people for two courses with soft drinks
Opening times: Daily 6am-1am
Contact: 02 698 2255 www.marriott.com