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UAE's Hidden Gems: Live your fairy tale over coffee at an Insta-worthy cafe in Dubai

Picture retreived from foreverrosecafe/Instagram
Picture retreived from foreverrosecafe/Instagram

Dubai - On a weekday morning, the cafe is packed with socially distanced individuals and families.

By Purva Grover and Juidin Bernarrd

Published: Thu 14 Jan 2021, 7:55 PM

Heard of a little corner shop or a hole-in-the-wall eatery that’s rumoured to sell the best burger, or the best sandwich, or the best kebab? Or another ‘little-known place’ that launched a thousand ships? UAE’s Hidden Gems features one such place a week. In Episode 16, we make a stopover at Forever Rose Cafe to become part of a fairy tale, feed our tummies and Instagram feed, and shop for roses that promise to bloom forever

Most stories, if not all, follow a simple, similar route: They originate in the heart and find their way onto an empty white sheet of paper, courtesy of words scribbled using black ink. The entrance of Forever Rose Cafe at Box Park, Dubai — with the words ‘Your Story Starts Here’ etched in black on the white mosaic-tiled floor — tells us that we are about to get inside one such tale.

On a weekday morning, the cafe is packed with socially distanced individuals and families, who have dropped by for beans or brekkie in the enchanting setting. Your Instagram feed would get a tad luxurious and artsier the moment you step in what they claim to be the world’s first 3D and 2D cafe. Having a cuppa of cinnamon coffee gets a new meaning here.

Sitting amidst a monochrome décor with the white floors and tables, one gets to be a part of the fairy tale, which has been passionately scripted by its founder Ebraheem Al Samaadi. The cafe’s cups and plates illustrated in black and white complement the gorgeous monochrome artwork (portraits included) on the walls and ceilings. So, at this all-day dining concept, you can bite into a La Rosa Mexicana or the Enchanted Waffle, in the company of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan, H.H. Sheikh Zayed, Princess Diana and Mona Lisa. Goes without saying that with the portraits of such names adorning the walls, the cafe is ‘Gram-friendly. Add to it the fact that the 2D illustrations allow you to be part of the drawing. The design makes the real, 3D world like a flat illustration. The clever interior tricks, when captured on camera, is likely to leave you clicking away. The first cafe opened up in Abu Dhabi in January 2020, followed by this second location in November 2020.

Ebraheem is quick to confess that his day is not complete until he makes a stop at the cafe, sometimes to interact with the chef, many times to chat up with the guests, and mostly to simply relish the tale and food, which he’s been closely involved in crafting and enhancing at each step. The cinnamon coffee, for instance, is his addition to the menu, as he wished for the spice to find its deserving space in the Middle East kitchens.

The menu reads like a book — with categories like Morning Story, Main Story, and A Sweet Ending. Forever Risotto Musakhan — a mushroom risotto, with chicken slow-cooked in sumac, and a yoghurt tahini sauce as an accompaniment — is our must-try recommendation.

Other than the colourful food, it’s the roses that add hue to the place. Forever Rose started its journey in 1999 by supplying long-lasting artisan flowers. Available in 34 colours, they dot the cafe, adding the right hues to the setting. The signature roses selected from the mineral-rich volcanic soils in South America, are treated to last for many years without water or sunlight. Now that’s the stuff fairy tales are made of!

And did we mention you can shop for the roses here and your beverage will also come with rose-inspired latte art? Our suggestion, just as you would savour a fairy tale, slowly, pausing at each page, sit a little longer and absorb the aroma of this artistic gem.

Here are three things you won’t get anywhere:

>Gram it: World’s first 3D and 2D café

>Taste it: Middle Eastern flavours fused with worldwide culinary influences

>Shop for: Roses that last for years without sunlight or water

Planning a visit?

Forever Rose Cafe is at Box Park, Dubai and at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi


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