Seva Table is tucked away behind Seva Experience, which is tucked away behind Jumeirah Center.
Yet everyone seems to know about this little “hidden gem”; staff were turning away would-be diners even on a recent weekday lunch. A few things you need to know: Everything in this cafe is plant-based and “free from” gluten, dairy and cane sugar, GMO and plastic. There are numerous nut, garlic and onion-free options too. Everything is made on-site, and it shows. Water is free (a nice touch in plasticized UAE) and also it’s Kangen Water, which is something you could write a dissertation about.
Suffice to say this is alkaline-rich water that aims to balance our body’s acidity, created by diet and stress but also by exposure to environmental toxins.
The other thing you need to know: this cafe is an eclectic oasis in Dubai. You know it as you approach on a stone path and spot the greenery. During cooler times of the year, you’ll want one of the outdoor tables, some with benches, some with floor seating, all shaded by a wooden trellis.
In a Dubai summer a glass wall will give you the feel of outdoors, as do the wood tables, walls, bookshelves and various hanging and standing plants.
No one cares if you work from this cafe, but they don’t make it easy for you to be chained to that computer: Seva is that rare location that does not offer WiFi.
But what about the food?
It’s gorgeous. On a recent visit I tried the Sharing is Caring platter to start (Dh62), minus the Black Hummus (it has with activated bamboo charcoal powder) due to an intolerance for chickpeas. The guacamole, served with crisp corn tortillas, was good, but it was the cashew tzatziki that made this starter sing. Get ready for an impeccably creamy homemade cashew-nut puree with a hint of mint and garlic warmth, served with carrots and cucumber.
The server suggested I pair my starter with What a Melon (Dh40), which challenged any doubts about the wisdom of mixing watermelon with dates along with hibiscus and mint to deliver a truly refreshing and rejuvenating drink.
For the main course I had a half portion of Arepas (Dh52), which is a Columbian sandwich featuring plantain pulled ‘beef’ between corn maize ‘bread,’ filled with vegan mayo and mixed greens. And I had it alongside a huge Crunchy Rainbow Salad (Dh59), which is new to the menu. This is a tasty mix of quinoa, green peas, red cabbage, carrots and roasted cashews with a tangy curry dressing.
Seva is famous for its Snickers Pie (Dh44), which is a chocolate-y, caramel-y cheesecake-y version of the famous chocolate bar. If you don’t fancy that, then go for the Conscious Chocolate Chip Cookie (Dh24), which combines roasted almond, dates, coconut sugar and flax seeds.
All in all, Seva is just about the loveliest, healthiest lunch spot you can imagine. As long as you can manage to snag a table.
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.