Friday, January 24, 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Yamanote Atelier, Dubai

Posted at  10:56 PM  |  in  Restaurant

Yamanote Atelier is an incredibly popular Japanese fusion café in JumeriahThink of Japanese food and tiny neat portions of sushi spring in the mind. Next consider French food – flaky crusty croissants and warming pain-au-chocolats. Now roll both together as a single menu, what do you come up with?

The answer is Yamanote Atelier, the incredibly popular Japanese fusion café in Jumeriah. Originating in Paris, the café describes its style as a blend of Japanese bakery with “debonair” French presentation. And if you are wondering exactly why you haven’t heard of Japanese pastries before, then it is high (tea) time to get down to the café.  Each of the pastries – including some French favourites such as croissants – is given a light Japanese twist with startlingly pleasing results. 

The café runs on self-service basis in traditional Japanese style. Freshly baked bread, pastries, cakes, croissant, sandwiches and sweet bakery items are displayed openly for customers to pile onto mini-trays before proceeding to pay at the till. The sweet pastry selection is wide and often hides a surprisingly light creamy or custardy middle.  Personal favourites include the almond croissants which melt in the mouth but there are plenty of others to choose from. Children will love the Character Buns – usually designed on Hello Kitty characters – which are filled with chocolate custard cream. There are many savoury options as well as traditional sandwiches including the Croquette Bun – a bouncy butter roll filled with a croquette of potato and minced meat or the Curry Doughnut – a deep fried crusty pastry ball oozing with juicy, spicy mincemeat. 

Each pastry on its own will set you back around 10-15 dhs which is very reasonable
Each pastry on its own will set you back around 10-15 dhs which is very reasonable, but be warned that a pile of pastries soon adds up on both wallet and the waistline. However, Yamanote is happy to gift pack a selection in their very nice branded boxes to impress the hosts at your next tea party (or to nibble on in secret later).

A slightly limited offering of tea, coffee and soft drinks is also available, ranging from the usual coffee-shop beverages to Japanese sodas. There are a couple of cooler drinks on offer too such as the Passion Fruit Shakerato (Espresso, passion fruit puree and ice cubes) and the Mint & Lime Iced Tea (Jasmine tea, lime syrup, sour mix, fresh mint leaves and ice cubes).

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As the selection of bakery items is changed regularly by the Master Baker Kuni Maeda, it is always nice to return to the café to see what’s on offer that day. Located in the trendy new Al Wasl Square next to Safa Park, Yamanote’s décor is in conventional Japanese colours and style – clean and in cool shades of jade and white. The only down-side is that the seating space is quite small and it is rare to see the café not heaving to the brim with customers. 

This regular customer is quite sure that the café’s popularity will soon see it grow enormously in Dubai. Whether it moves to bigger premises or opens more branches across the UAE remains to be seen. But for now, long may it remain a vibrant alternative to the staid offerings provided by other chains of coffees shops in Dubai.

ALSO READ: REVIEW OF MAX BURGER IN DUBAI AND ABU DHABI!

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