Nathalie’s is a coffee and kitchen concept which serves up healthy and wholesome food all day long, from 7am until 10pm. Located in Dubai Sports City right next to the gym Fit Republik, Nathalie’s is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of some of the busier locations in Dubai. Despite its discrete location, it has a growing fan-base amongst those who value healthy eating and nutrition. Their customers seems to be a good mix of gym enthusiasts looking to refuel after a workout and non-gym clientele just looking for something good to eat.
The space itself is beautiful. The eclectic interior design harmoniously combines some of my favourite natural materials such as wood, marble, tiles, exposed brick, glass and even a wall of potted plants. On the double-story wall behind the counter, there is a large charming sketch which I couldn’t stop gazing at. The overall result is a place where you can sit back, relax and lose track of time.
They have a great ethos which makes you feel good about eating there. In their own words:
We love food. Simple food. Real food. Honest food. We love coffee, tea and whole wheat pastries. We hate additives, preservatives and words we can’t pronounce. We hate waste and love giving back. We also hate empty calories and love empty plates. We care about what you eat and where you eat it.
Nathalie’s is a home-grown Dubai concept started by Nathalie Haddad, who you may also know as the founder of the healthy eating company Right Bite.
Nathalie’s has lots of healthy drinks to suit most tastes.
On the counter, there is a pretty glass drink dispenser with water infused with beetroots and cucumbers which clients can help themselves to free of charge.
A nicely designed cooler in the wall has a large variety of ‘Thirst Quenchers’ which include everything from bottled water (local and imported) to coconut water to raw juices. Given that many of their clients are coming from the gym and are probably very thirsty, it’s great to be able to grab a drink from the cooler rather than having to order it through a waiter.
Nathalie’s makes several smoothies and protein shakes to order (AED17-AED32). For the uber-healthy, Green² (avocado, spinach, protein powder and water) might be suitable. If you prefer something a little more indulgent, you might want to try the Nutella Shake (almond milk, Nutella, bananas, toasted hazelnuts, vanilla protein, topped with granola). If, like me, you are not into protein powder, no worries – simply tell them and they won’t add it to your shake. I ordered the Monkey Business (AED32) without protein powder (almond milk, peanut butter, bananas, honey, sea salt, vanilla protein, topped with granola). It was ice-cold, delicious and not overly sweet like some shakes can be.
There are also several types of coffees and teas if you prefer a hot drink (AED16-AED22).
Nathalie’s has a lot of healthy main courses on offer. Most of their dishes can be altered to suit your dietary preferences. For example, sandwiches can be served on bread or alternatively on a bed of leafy greens. Similarly, you can swap the toast which your eggs are served on to portobello mushrooms instead. And there is gluten-free bread available for those who prefer that.
As for salads, Nathalie’s has 5 salads on the menu plus 4 more salads behind the counter which are changed daily.
The day I visited, the daily salads were Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Salad, Baby Eggplant Salad, Mediterranean Salad (like a Greek Salad), and Green Herb Salad. You can order a small bowl of two salads (AED35) or a large bowl of three salads (AED45). All the salads were very nice and fresh, and I particularly liked the Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Salad and the Mediterranean Salad. The Baby Eggplant Salad was really tasty but the eggplants which I got could have been cooked a little softer than they were.
From the a la carte salads, I tried the Freekeh Salad and the Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad.
The Freekeh Salad (AED57) was made with freekeh (green uncracked wheat), dates, manchego cheese, green apples, candied pecans, baby rocket and white balsamic vinaigrette. It was a beautiful mix of textures and flavours. I would have loved to have had the option of adding some grilled prawns to make it more of a complete meal for me.
I also tried the Seared Tuna Nicoise (AED65) which had endives (yay!), cherry tomatoes, good black olives, boiled eggs, potatoes, french green beans and pepper-crusted tuna. I really loved this salad because it was not just delicious but a very complete well-balanced meal on its own. And I really love that their creativity in using endives to bring a bit of bitterness and crunch to the Nicoise salad.
I also tried their Avocado and Egg (AED48) which was chili spiced avocado mash, fresh basil and two poached eggs on toasted pain de campagne. It was really yummy and my eggs were medium poached just like I like them. A squeeze of the lemon on the side added a really nice fresh tone to the flavour of the dish.
Desserts at Nathalie’s offer something for everyone. I wanted to try some of their healthiest desserts, so I went for their Chia Raspberry Pastry and Raw Brownie both of which were very good, although I would recommend letting them sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating because they were a little cold on arrival. I would absolutely order either one of these again. Other healthy desserts include more traditional things such as fruit salad and yogurt parfait.
However, if you don’t fancy a healthy dessert and prefer something more indulgent, there is plenty on offer including Gooey Chocolate Cake, Nathalie’s Cheesecake and a selection of pastries.
Full disclosure: I was invited to Nathalie’s with one guest and then I visited again as a paying client. All content reflects my honest opinion.