An independent art gallery and cafe? Doesn't sound like Abu Dhabi, does it? Art House Cafe is tucked behind the worn down Al Bateen "Mall", which you probably have never heard of, and don't need to. It shares space with the very small and privately owned, Etihad Art Gallery, but there is loads of parking in front which makes getting there by car nice and easy. Art House Cafe actually looks like it belongs in Santa Cruz California, rather than Abu Dhabi. While I am actually sure that Louboutins have stepped foot in this place (since they tend to appear most places in this wealthy Emirate) ...the decor is in fact nothing less than eclectic. There are chairs and tables made out of everything from old stuffed animals to army gasoline canisters. There are three sections to the cafe with an indoor smoking section, an indoor non-smoking section, and an outdoor patio with clean and study wooden tables. There are even a few donned with personal grills. Nonetheless, the patio fills quickly on those cool winter evenings.
Art House Cafe creates fresh simple dishes with Western influence, without getting too elaborate. They have just launched their new menu which includes a handful of egg dishes and few sweet morning plates for breakfast. For lunch and dinner they offer soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and even a few popular appetizers like chicken wings and nachos. They also pride themselves on their juices and smoothies, to which they add very little additional sweetness. Want to just have fun?? Don't worry they also make milkshakes!
After my quick stop in, I recommend the Truffled Scramble, which is a fluffy scramble served on a thick slice of freshly baked multi-grain, seeded bread, and the Salmon Lentil Salad which is a delicate pile of baby gem lettuce tossed with flaked cooked salmon and green lentils. The dressing is gingery with a little kick. You might just be impressed with the food. And...While they don't have many Vegan dishes listed on the menu, they mentioned that they have become very well known among the Vegan crowd as a cafe with the ability to create some special Vegan meals...just FYI in case you are, or have a special Vegan in your life.
The cappuccinos are strong enough without being milky, and the croissants, on my visit, were still warm out of the oven (here imagine a smiley face with heart eyes). Service can be a little slow, as I could tell a few of the lunch time office workers were getting a little antsy. But, if you want a cafe where you can relax and not worry about anyone shooing you out...Art House is the place. There were students and single diners reading, there were couples chatting, and friends stopping in after a tour of the Gallery. Children are welcome, and there is enough to hold their tiny attention spans...colorful art, modern sculpture, and interesting furniture. None of it (too) breakable.
Al Bateen, behind Al Bateen Mall
Opens 9am, except Friday opens at Noon