"Le Brioche" Number 2 on the list, the quest for coffee continues.

Number 2 on the "Abu Dhabi Week" magazine's top 5 cafes was Le Brioche, a small chain of coffee shops here in the capital.

The term "good, well flavoured coffee" was used in the brief description. A description that suits me fine; simple and to the point. I am usually wary of any reviews that over inflate the tyres of the venue being reviewed, so it was with high hopes a ventured out into the 44 degree heat to make the trip into town.

The directions that were to be found in the magazine were also brief - I guess when you only have a certain amount of column centimetres to use, one has to keep the information brief.

Frankly though I would have preferred a little more info on where EXACTLY the Le Brioche from the AD Week review was located.

"Hidden away on the Corniche in the cluster of towers at the end of Khaleej Al Arabi" put me in the suburb, but unfortunately that particular part of the suburb is also the site of a massive refurbishment.

I drove by half-buildings teetering as they are prodded and poked into submission, probably in order to build a similar, but slightly more stable solution to what was already there.

I drove around, and through the area, figuring that if a car space could be found within 5 minutes walk of where the alleged purveyors of fine coffee should be, the expedition could then be continued on foot.
Try as I might, and I really tried, I could neither find Le Brioche OR a carpark that would allow a more in depth reconnoitre of the area - I did however get stuck in a dead end street for about 10 minutes unable to turn around OR reverse, due to a kindly bloke who followed me into the unsigned dead ender then proceeded to double park his car and wander off to attend to some pressing business. Of course I couldn't get too angry, I mean he DID put his hazard lights on - you can stop anywhere if you put your hazard lights on, it's the trump card for all things.

"I know it's illegal to park here, I KNOW I am parking you in, I KNOW that I'd be super-peeved if someone else were screwing up MY day by parking like a tool, but... I've put my hazard lights EAT IT!"

After a brief but unfruitful session of praying that one of the many cranes working in the area would drop a well used port-a-loo upon the offending vehicle blinking quietly behind me, it was off to Marina Mall, where there's a Le Brioche that is far more easy to find.

It's a nice enough place, as far as shopping mall cafes go - they all end up looking like "Central Perk" from "Friends" but heavily franchised. So the end result is an unrealistic franchise interior copied from a non-existent coffee shop, but still somewhat familiar.

Let's face it though - I'm wasn't there to be blown away by "designed-to-look-casually-placed-but-actually-bolted-down" nick-knacks - I was there for the coffee.

Same routine as the last coffee review - "No need for a menu, just a cafe latte will be fine" I said as I was shown to my table, where I sat, pulled out my book, and waited...

...for about 5 minutes, then my order arrived.

It looked to be the right colour - which was a great start.

My first sip though was a little confusing. It certainly had some flavour, it's just that I suspect that the majority of the flavour bandwidth had been taken up by the middle east's old favourite - coffee mate.

Those who haven't experienced coffee mate need not bother themselves by going out and buying a tube. It's an abomination. Sweet faux-coffee flavoured goop that, when added to hot milk/water, tastes like warm/hot faux-coffee flavoured goop.

The use of said booster in this instance was low, but you can't mask the after taste. The shame of it is that if coffee shops would simply buy better beans, they'd make better coffee and wouldn't NEED coffee-mate to boost "flavour". I won't bore you with all maths of it, but even if the good beans cost an extra 100dhs per kilo, the additional cost per cup would be negligible..

The over all result?
"Meh." - That's the result.


Not as good as "The One",
Better than Starbucks.
Not a patch on the ADNOC secret.

Next up will be Zyara Cafe in Madinat Zayed - I'm still keeping my chin up - I am very much an optimist after all, but...
...Coffee mate?


  1. Brett could feel your pain on this. When we were in Thailand I laughed at him and said please don't expect to find coffee here. But he did try. The first latte he got had canned frothy cream 2 inches thick on the top.

    It was so gross I took a photo of it which is in my thailand facebook album, We poured it into a plant. Brett has to have 2 coffees a day or he gets caffiene withdrawal and is not a nice bunny to be around. he ended up having to drnk nescafe.

    He experienced the same thing in LA, and in Paris. Parisians only drink espresso!

  2. Holly Black13:57

    Hi Drew, I went to Primary School with your wife(indeed she was one of my best friends at PS) and I have started reading your posts.

    I must that whatever you did in Melbourne before you left was not your chosen profession - you are a terrific blogger and I am hooked on your coffee posts. I must say, I feel your pain. I lived in London about 10 years ago and had the same problem.

    Keep it up, I am really enjoying hearing about your adventures over there.



  3. Sam: You wouldn't think it would be that hard though would you? Good beans, milk and a frothing machine - it's not heap-big-magic after all!

    Thanks, it keeps me occupied... Heading over to London and Wales later in the year and now you're telling me that there's no coffee there either..

  4. Lori13:58

    O.K. Here's directions to the Kalhidyia Le Brioche...

    On the road just off Corniche (back side of Special) go to the VW dealership. Go around the right side of the building to the back Corniche Towers... You should see Le Brioche right there. I think it is building C Corniche Tower.

    Have you got Vivelle on your list?

  5. See ... SEE?
    Take heed newspaper reviewers - "Nestled in the cluster of towers at the end..etc" just doesn't cut it.

    Lori's on to something - like offering a reasonable landmark for instance.

    Thank's for the directions Lori - might see if I can hit them over the weekend, purely to keep the integrity of the study intact of course.


    But it is now.

  6. Lori13:59

    Ok... Vivelle is located directly across from the Kahlidyia Part on 7th. Easiest to get there is to be headed toward Inter Continental on 7th (so you don't have to do a U-Turn) Anyway on your left is Al Safadi Then comes Burger King then right next is Vivelle.

    They have wonderful pastries and their Jellies are to die for. They serve you a couple with your coffee.

    This is my favorite for a cup. I'm not a connoisseur of coffee by any means, but I think they make a decent cup.

    The girls there are friendly maybe it is the jellies I keep going back for.

    There is parking in front or across the street by the park.


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

Thanks for visiting.