Bounty Beets feels pretty much like it was designed to be shared on social media. This new Dubai cafe, opened where Kcal used to sit in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, has mindfulness quotes and a vintage payphone stuck on pink walls. Step outside and you’ll find couches heaving with tasseled pillows, and low-slung tables. Palm trees sway while friends snap photos of each other in the restaurant’s private gazebo. The food is similarly photogenic — but how does it taste? In a word: creative. Everything across the 70-item menu is gluten-free, a nod to diners suffering with coeliac disease or other forms of dietary intolerance.
“Gluten-free has become a buzzword of late, but understanding the issues behind gluten can really impact a decent meal with friends and family,” explained chef Chandika Ratnayaka. That’s why all the dishes have been designed to work around gluten, without sacrificing esthetics.
“They look pretty good too,” he added.
There is plenty for vegans and vegetarians, with meat dishes treated as a small afterthought. Expect items like chickpea omelettes and black bean burgers, with plenty of avocado toast to check that savory box. There are even plant-based nachos and gluten-free pizza. The sweet potato fries are particularly delicious, crunchy on the outside with a hint of soft, caramelized sweet potato within. For dessert, a coconut caramel cheesecake combines coconut cashew cream with pecan, almond and an organic maple crust, all topped with slivers of chocolate and blueberries. The more indulgent fudge brownie mixes dark chocolate with salted caramel ice cream — and a few berries to up the antioxidant factor.
All dishes have playful names. There aren’t waffles: they are instead “Childhood Memories” served up as organic vegan protein. Instead of pancakes, there’s “I yam what I yam,” a sweet potato pancake dish topped with caramelized bananas. And if you’re juicing, there’s an entire juice and detox section to the menu, with options ranging from clean and green to far more indulgent.
Bounty Beets is also keeping an eye on the eco side of things. The cheerful cafe aims to reduce its carbon footprint while tackling waste with its own Mina Composter, a machine that can turn 100 kilograms of food waste into water and 3kg of fertilizer. All take-away coffee cups (which, like the cafe’s walls, have cheeky phrases on the sides) are recyclable.
There are a few drawbacks. The serving size is on the small side for the price, with breakfast mains sitting around Dh50 to Dh70. And the toast holding that avocado, while gluten-free, lacks a sourdough punch.
But overall the vibe at Bounty Beets is cute, the staff attentive and the photos just perfect for sharing. What else could today’s #cafeculture ask for?
Featured photo: Bounty Beets
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.