Despite its location in the Federal Youth Authority on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, there is no age limit on who gets to dine at the stylishly cool Fa’e Cafe.
Indeed, the place during our visit is filled with all manner of people of varying ages.
The space, like the Hub itself, is white with huge plate-glass windows, which, we imagine, would render magnificent views by day.
In the centre of the café is a long wooden table, on which many visitors are tapping away staring into their laptops while biting into some cool-looking dishes.
Rising through the centre of the table is a ghaf tree. While artificial, it is also a beautiful touch and apart from enhancing the décor, the tree symbolises the name of the café, Fa’e, or shade in Arabic.
“When Mum visited the space prior to opening, she said that there is a really nice shade, especially for those who want to come work here,” says Emirati Khaled Alsaadi, partner and Chef at Fa’e.
“There is an Arabic saying ‘where there is light, there is shade; I think Fae is the perfect name.” Team Yalla agrees.
Fa’e Café opened in January 2020, more than a year ago now.
That said, we think not enough people know about this hidden gem and the amazing kitchen skills of Chef Khaled Alsaadi and his team, who reveals to us that he has been under the tutelage of such kitchen greats as Tom Aitkens and Gordon Ramsay.
Chef Khaled is experimental in style and presentation, which is great news for diners since it shows in the dishes.
As if to prove his culinary prowess, he shares a dessert with us that is not even on the menu yet, but hopefully will be soon.
The ice-cream has depth of flavour, with an appealing combination of earthy and sweet notes. Surprisingly, it is created from celery stalks and dates, perhaps not a paring you would think of, but oh boy does it work!
Clearly, Khaled is conscious about his kitchen and what comes out of it in terms of being sustainable.
The menu tends to be seasonal, which means it regularly changes to provide a great variety of flavours throughout the year.
The demand for comfort food has been high, which the menu reflects with its offering of crispy fried dishes. It all seems naughty health-wise and the dishes, of course, are delicious and comforting yet clean rather than greasy, as fried food often can be.
Steak is on the menu and is served with homemade Mandolin-style chips, which Khaled learned to cook while at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen Atlantis, The Palm.
Breakfast is brilliantly big and popular and includes a variety of egg dishes – think Eggs Royale with crème fresh and homemade smoke salmon, asparagus and signature spiced hollandaise.
The croissant range showcases Khaled’s flare as a chef. From the nine flavours on offer, the Falafel & Cauliflower Croissant stands out with its Middle East vibe and is simply a must-try.
There are rice bowls, pastas and salads to choose from too, not to mention a sample of sushi too.
You can, if you choose, just wander in for coffee and a snack, but it would be such a shame not to order something more substantial.
After all, we would not want you to miss out on Chef Khaled’s under-the-radar creations. So go on… step into the shade and discover the light!
Fa’e Café, 305 Al Meena St, Al Zahiyah. 8am till 11pm, last orders 10.30pm. Call 052 858 3036