From the same owners of the well-known Third Place Cafe comes a new venture on Al Falah St, Crustique. It is hidden down a quiet alleyway near the Ministry of Finance, where really only those in the know will find it. And I love finding places like this! A modern cafe with great food...people drive to Dubai for these types of eateries.
The owners are young, energetic, and run the restaurant along with their energetic infant daughter in tow. The cafe is quiet and calm with cement floors, natural lighting and plants along the walls. The light wooden tables are decorated simply, making the cozy spot feel open and airy. On a sweltering Saturday at lunch time, when the streets of Abu Dhabi are fairly quiet, Crustique was buzzing. In addition to the seated customers and the takeaway deliveries (Deliveroo or Zomato), they also had a massive catering order that was on its way out the door. I wouldn't mind going to that party.
I had been to Crustique once before, when I tasted their great pastries including their famous Cruffin. The idea is a croissant rolled up into the shape of a muffin and stuffed with a freshly piped creme filling of your choice. You are either rolling your eyes with the trendiness of it, or drooling. Two words: Try it. Their Cruffin is clear proof that the chefs at Crustique are talented. Croissants are not simple and they manage to pull off this pastry with the same buttery flakiness that you would find waiting in line for an over-priced taste from Dominique Ansel. And this same great baking ability is proved over and over again from scones to flat breads.
On this visit, I was there to try their cafe menu. As soon as you order, a basket of warm fresh breads (including baguette and a multi-seed loaf) with a small pot of creamy butter is served to your table. We started with the Falafel with Tahini Sauce and the Quinoa Salad before moving on to flat breads and pasta. The falafel was perfectly browned on the outside without being greasy (or leaving me with heartburn hours later). The green moist interior is a result of the fresh herbs, and I found myself practically licking the the tiny bowl of tahini sauce (a perfectly light mix of nothing more than tahini, yogurt, lemon, and salt).
The Quinoa Salad felt super healthy, and at the same time very satisfying. A large dish of quinoa, avocado, roasted pumpkin, beets and mixed greens, served in a light sherry vinaigrette. The pasta of the day was a perfectly al dente fusilli in a cozy cream sauce with chicken and mushroom. The description on the menu did not do the flavors justice.
The flat bread offerings are varied. We tried the staple Margherita and also the Mediterranean on the the special spelt crust. Both were topped generously, and while I liked the chewiness of the spelt crust better, the thinness of the original crust is very popular. They are each served with a small mixed salad...and all (even the meatiest option) are less than 35 aed ($10).
Crustique is open from 7am to 10pm every day and I was tipped off that if you want croissants hot out of the oven, it is best to stop in early. They do a great coffee business and even have some signature drinks. If you prefer juices, they press it fresh while you wait. The carrot juice was perfect- fragrant and flavorful.
With the great food (admittedly one of my top priorities) and a cozy space, this family run business knows what they are doing. Anyone can open a cafe (and they do), but one that makes very good simple food in a modern environment is not so easy. Crustique has nailed it....so get in there before word gets out.
Crustique Bakery and Cafe
Open 7am-10 pm
Friday Brunch starts at 10am
Phone: 02 677 7004
Al Falah Street, Ministry of Energy Building, Ground Floor,