The Unintentional Breakfast

The Pantry Cafe
Al Hadeeqa Street,
Wasl Square, 
Al Safa, Dubai

05th February, 2016

Some of the most important discoveries were accidents” – They

To understand the story behind our meal at The Pantry Cafe, it is important to take you through the events of the previous night.

04th February 2016 (10:00 p.m.) – We got back home after dinner at AB’s Absolute Barbecues (a story for another day) – my mom, my sister, couple of my friends, and me. Now, you may or may not be wondering “Why are his friends coming back home with him?”.  Apart from being our usual hangout spot (or crib or central or whatever you want to call it), my house, on certain special occasions, serves as a bed n’ breakfast (hold the breakfast!) for friends. So it was on this not-so-holiest of Fridays that my house was open to the public.

The plan had all been laid out a week in advance. My friends were to come over for a sleepover to my place, we were going to game till we could game no more, and then we would go for an early breakfast to The Farm (read “Only Reservations” to know more), for which reservations were made a week in advance. 

On most sleepover nights, my friends and I huddle around the TV, Playstation controllers in hand, whiling away time gaming till the sun comes out and the dawn’s first light reflects of the glass window and breaks the night’s trance, after which we get dressed and venture out for an early breakfast meet (don’t worry, we do have a shower before we leave…occasionally!). The plan for the sleepover this Friday night, at the outset, seemed no different – we come home, we play, we take a nap, we get up, we get ready, we leave (no repeat!). And so we arrived at my place, all of us still reeling from the absolute (you see what I did there?) beast of a buffet, changed into our pyjamas, turned on the Playstation, and pulled what you call an all-nighter. Given that we had a breakfast meet planned early next morning, we thought it best to hit the sack early, but things didn’t exactly pan out that way. It was 5 a.m. when we finally decided to call it a night and took a small “power” nap (though we certainly didn’t feel powerful before, during, or after). Everything was going according to plan (for now!).

05th February 2016 – Ring! Ring! My drowsy eyes opened and I noticed my alarm ringing loud in my ear. I picked up the phone to see what time it is. 7:15 a.m.! We had a mere 45 minutes to get ready and reach the Farm. I jumped out off bed, woke up the others, and hurriedly got dressed. In the span of 20 – 25 minutes, we were all ready, all dressed in our semi-formal attire, ready to leave. And that’s when it happened. Ring! Ring! I picked up my phone, not recognizing the number, and answered it.  “Hello Mr. Krishnan, I am calling from The Farm” the voice on the other end says. Instantly a thousand possible reasons for the call mulled around in my head, but the most probable was the more prominent one – Maybe they just called to ask whether we were on our way (as it is we were running slightly late). However, reality was more on the other end of the spectrum of my thoughts. “I’m sorry to say that we have had to cancel your reservation as we are not serving breakfast today.” Stunned, I gave a stammering okay and put the phone down. I told everyone in the room that the plan had been cancelled. What I expected was an alternative solution, what I heard was outrage and anger towards the sudden cancellation of our reservation by The Farm without any proper reason. It was only after five minutes of heated debate about what needed to be done that my sister picked up the phone and enquired about the cancellation. What I expected was an apologetic sorry due to a prior commitment by the restaurant to a large party, what really happened shocked us all. There was no large party, there was no apologetic sorry, rather the reason why the restaurant wasn’t serving breakfast was because the kitchen was on fire!

It took us a while to get over the fact that a restaurant kitchen had actually gone down in flames. But once the shock had died down in all of us, there was only one thing on our mind – Where to go now? The next half an hour proved to be quite testing. Our stomachs had already accustomed themselves for a breakfast meal at The Farm, so deciding on an alternative destination did not seem too appealing. Various options were thrown around – Tom & Serg, Jones The Grocer, Clinton Street Baking Company, Shakespeare & Co. – as well as probably the last resort; i.e. home-made breakfast (I guess it would be a B&B). Fortunately we didn’t have to wait any longer. An online search of great breakfast joints in Dubai led us to what would later become one of our favourite breakfast restaurants – The Pantry Cafe.

Imagine this – you are sitting by the window on a pleasant Saturday morning, you pick up your steaming hot cup of coffee, smell the aroma of bitterness and caffeine, you take a sip and you look out of the window. You see cars (sedans, hatch backs, SUVs, sports) zoom past you, families walking on the pavements, laughing, construction workers busy doing whatever it is they’re doing – the hustle and bustle of life in Dubai. This is the view that The Pantry Cafe, located at the corner of Al Wasl Square, offers its diners.

 ( From left to right ) - Avocado on Toast; Croque Madame with Watermelon Juice; Omelette with a side of Chicken Sausages and Dark Mocha; Masala Omelette
(From left to right) – Avocado on Toast; Croque Madame with Watermelon Juice; Omelette with a side of Chicken Sausages and Dark Mocha; Masala Omelette

We arrived at the cafe at half past eight, hungry and eager to feed our grumbling stomachs. We were seated at the long table by the waiter and immediately handed the menus. Given how hungry we were, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we ordered every breakfast dish off the menu. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed. It didn’t take us too long to decide what we were going to have (half of us pretty much ordered the same thing). And so when the waiter came to take our order, we duly obliged. For drinks we ordered 1 Watermelon Juice, and 3 Dark Mochas; and to accompany them – 1 Avocado on Toast, 1 Croque Madame, 1 Masala Omelette, and 3 Omelettes with a side of Chicken Sausages.

Fortunately for us (and our tummies) it wasn’t too long before the food was served. No sooner had our dishes been placed on the tables than we dug straight in to our food. The best thing about some of the breakfast joints, at least in the UAE, is that everything is so fresh, which gives off a flavour different to that of processed foods. For instance, freshly blended watermelon juice….hella better and tastier (and fruitier!) than those canned processed juices you find at the store (but you already knew that). So let me take through the other dishes. The avocado, again fresh and delicious, on toast topped with slices of tomatoes was the perfect breakfast dish to give your morning the little kick it deserves. There wasn’t anything special about the omelettes (masala and others), but they did their job and no one’s complaining.

The most interesting dish on the table was the ‘Croque Madame’ ordered by moi (it’s French for ‘myself ‘). I’m sure most foodies reading this have heard of the popular breakfast dish, the ‘Croque Monsieur’ – a baked ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg. The French word ‘Monsieur’ means Mr. and ‘Madame’ Mrs. So it was with this knowledge that I knew I was eating a female sandwich!

A little G.K. to you readers, a male sandwich is made of bread and a female sandwich is made of a ‘Croissant’ (French for ‘croissant’). J.K.

So my “female” dish was ultimately a baked croissant stuffed with ham, covered in melted cheese, and topped with a fried egg. In other words, it was delicious! The croissant and ham were perfectly fused during the baking process that it felt like I was having a ham-flavoured croissant. The melted cheese helped moisten the sandwich and the fried egg was cooked to perfection. It took me no more than 5 minutes to polish off my plate (excluding the fries). Apart from the ‘Croque’, another dish worth mentioning is the ‘Dark Mocha’ coffee. Now I’m no expert on how coffee tastes or should taste (I’m no fan of caffeine), but views from my caffeinated amigos across the table have persuaded me to form the opinion that this was one of the best coffees they have ever had. Rich, creamy, bittersweet (I’m describing the coffee here not me!), the perfect blend of cocoa and coffee (again the coffee not me!) that would drive any caffeine addict mad with delight. 

If there was any a complaint to be made, it was that the prices of the dishes were slightly on the higher side, especially for dishes like omelette, which one can make at home. Our stomachs full and warm, and our eyes drowsy from the lack of sleep from the previous night, our adventure was at an end. It’s a funny thing, now thinking back on it, how we ended up at The Pantry Cafe – our alternative solution turned first preference. We departed The Pantry Cafe, looking back at fond memories, hoping to once again visit the cafe, not knowing that it would be almost a year before we would make our next visit. 

Pantry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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