May 28, 2012

MUST TRY: Nolus Cafe

it's been a couple months now that a friend of mine has been trying to get me to try nolus cafe in al bandar (between abu dhabi and dxb via the yas route). i finally checked it out and man am i happy i did. this place stresses the "healthy eating isn't always bland eating" point to another level. it's just the sort of place i wish i'd find more of in the uae. good thing it's not close to my house otherwise i'd be there daily. 

why's it so good? it's an afghani restaurant with a simple yet eclectic menu. the whole shebang for breakfast including the eggs (any way you like them ;) the fluffy treats i.e. pancakes/waffles (all served till 4pm fyi), and the lunch and dinner options are great when you want choice, and terrible if you're indecisive; you'll never be able to settle for just one dish. 
firstly, there's the always fun option of creating your own salad/sandwich/burger with the freshest ingredients. the salad comes in a huge bowl which really excites me, because when it comes to a salad, i'm a fiend. there's always a soup of the day, main meals that are all cooked with the right spices and apparently a great list of desserts. one dish i can't wait to try is there borani kadoo: sautéed squash in a sauce of saffron, cardamom and spices served on a bed of garlic yogurt. hmm.. maybe avoid it on a date. the word kadoo always reminds me of the restaurant helmand in boston; for the heartiest meals i'd always go there. nolus doesn't have the exact same atmosphere and the food is much lighter, but i love it as long as it's tasty and leaves me sated. 
 it's got a very fresh and organic atmosphere, looking directly out onto the water. apparently when the weather is nice, there's nothing better than enjoying the view with a nice meal. 
i started off with a delicious cream-free tomato basil soup (i stress cream free because i hate creamy soups and love it when a place can pull it off without). i created my own salad: spinach and mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of avocado, grilled chicken (i'm very skeptical about chicken in restaurants but this one was so tasty), hearts of palm, asparagus, flaxseeds and sautéed mushrooms. basically a whole bunch of green (i was going extra healthy). 
i then tried the salmon kabob which was tenderly cooked to perfection in my opinion.

i'm pretty easily satisfied when it comes to food, i don't need anything fancy, and since i prefer to eat more healthy options, what i like is pretty straightforward. this place brings all of that and more. if you want a burger while your friend has a salad, or breakfast while your friend wants lunch it's all readily available. 
i also loved the bathrooms and their cheeky labels - "those who sit" and "those who stand." i'd be worried if it confused anyone...

the one distraction i did have was the server who seemed to be rushing to catch a flight with every order. what i definitely don't want to hear when i'm out enjoying a meal is "maybe, if the chef has time." first of all, if i'm asking for a new dish that's not on the menu, sure, or if i'm at la petite maison where you don't dare change a single thing, fine. but at a casual spot to eat that isn't even full, if i ask the server to split my salad between two bowls to share with someone else, he should be able to make it happen. way to be extra disdainful and scold the person trying to enjoy a meal. also, if you offer fresh juices, don't tell me you're not sure if you can squeeze me a little bit of fresh lemon. i hope i don't bump into him again.

but like i said, that's the only distraction. i would eat at nolus daily if i had the chance, and i can't wait for my next meal there!

xx penguina

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