Its not only the Latte that keeps taking us back to Leopold’s ( theirs is easily my favorite in Abu Dhabi) – that I can walk over there from home is a big plus. Anyone who’s lived here long enough would agree, no one really walks to places much. The staff there is always warm – I know their names, they know how I like my latte ( always an extra shot of espresso, thank you!) and above all how it always has a bustle without being in-your-face crowded. They have a gorgeous outdoor space that overlooks the green patches and is surrounded by the tall towers of Reem Island.
I’ve come here at all hours of the day – as you would at your neighborhood cafe. I’ve been the first customer that walks through the door, ordering my Greek yogurt topped with a chunky granola, berries and fig compote. M and I have sat together made travel plans and I’ve even come here with the laptop by myself and written posts you’ve read on this blog. When I haven’t felt up for a big brekkie, I’ve enjoyed my cuppa with their freshly baked almond croissant or a simple sourdough toast with jam.
But who am I kidding, more often than not, with friends or just us, we’ve come here for the heavy-weights. Their Tunisian baked eggs cooked in a rich tangy tomato and chickpea sauce with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt and sumac is easily one of my favorites, one I implore you to try. Its a sizable portion which means you’ll be full way into lunch time.
M is more into quiches and tarts than I am, so we’d frequently get their wobbly-because-its-loaded Quiche Lorraine, indulgently cheesy and very more-ish. Some of our other favorites are the caramelized onion tart, egg white omelette with feta and the healthy breakfast which has the chickpea ragout over grilled sourdough – I alternate between having mine finished off with grilled halloumi or a poached egg. The staff are always attentive and cheerful, which is part of the charm for me. More importantly, they are always happy to customize how you like your food.
We’ve also spent evenings at Leopold’s – on days when work’s been dreary or the mid-week blues take over and I have have zero motivation to enter the kitchen. I’ve loved biting into crunchy Asian slaw with poached chicken and chilli mayo sandwich or even taking one of these to go for work. Breads and dips or the crispy fried calamari to begin with, always sulking over how they have wood-fired pizza’s in their other branch and not the one we frequent.
I find myself drawn to the heart-warming Spaghetti in a shellfish cream sauce with peas and zucchini – the prawns are always plump, the pasta al-dente. I’m never too tired to repeat this. It was particularly delicious during winters, when we sat outdoors.
Or the sumac-rubbed salmon with a crunchy fennel, feta and red onion salad for days I feel a being a bit healthy-ish. I add the -ish to my healthy because I know all noble intentions go out the door, when M reminds me of their flourless chocolate cake – in my books, easily one of the best cafe-cakes I’ve had in a while. We wave good-byes and walk back home. Isn’t it such a blessing? I definitely think so, or I wouldn’t be waxing lyrical about Leopold’s!
So in a city where everyone is after the next hot spot and we’re all too spoilt to make a choice and commit our loyalties to cafes – I’d love to know which one is yours? The one where you feel at home!
Location: Boutik Mall, Sun and Sky Tower, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi