The One - First on the awards list so first on this one as well.

I figured that, in order to keep my sanity, I'd go to the top o' the "Five best coffee shops" list that was published in Abu Dhabi Week (Vol 2, Ed 23, Jun28-24, 2009) in my hunt for a cup of the good stuff.

My reasoning?

If I started at the top and worked down, I had the opportunity to be surprised by venues lower in the list, rather than starting at the bottom and being consistently and routinely disappointed by those higher up.

Bah! Who am I kidding? I ended up at "The One" because I knew where it was, and I was pretty sure the parking was going to be okay.

"The One" is a cafe inside a furniture store, or a furniture store around a cafe.. or in the cafe... whatever - you can buy food, coffee, lamp shades and dining tables in whatever combination suits you best.

Me? I was simply there for the coffee. No food. No candelabra. No glass bowl with pretty coloured stones in it. "Give me coffee and somewhere to sit, that's all" was all that I required.

In a move of marketing genius (?) there are no signs to direct patrons to the mezzanine floor cafe. The stairs are obscured by well placed nib walls that funnel traffic in the opposite direction to where someone with a hankering for coffee might want to go.

After seeing through this subterfuge (not before finding myself looking wistfully at a crystal vase, some tea candles and a tea trolley) I found the stairs that lead to what I was hoping to be coffee nirvana.

All signs were good, the cafe was dimly lit. The leather tub chair couches were anything but pristine, it had chalk board menu's, it had a cool vibe going on. I was met by one of the wait-staff who told me that I could have my choice of seating, and seemed happy that I had no need of a menu as I simply wanted a cafe latte.

My guy walked off with a look that suggested that he knew what I meant - I was here for the coffee.
Coffee from a place that had recently taken home the chocolates for "Best Cafe" at the Time Out awards.
Coffee that would bring my search to an end, and make the rest of my reviewing process a burden.
Coffee that would be the touch-bean against which all other coffee would be measured.

My order arrived really quickly and had a ginger bread biscuit jauntily placed on the saucer, all the fixings I needed had already been placed on the table in preparation.

I smiled and waited for my coffee courier to move off, so I didn't appear too eager, too... desperate... then, raised the cup to my lips - perhaps a little hot, but not blisteringly so.
I sipped.
I placed the cup back, and made my verdict.
"It's okay" I mumbled to myself - (I spend alot of my days alone, mumbling to myself is now not so much a habit as a lifestyle decision)

I mean... angels didn't sing. I didn't feel compelled to send it back, but I didn't feel the need to order another, OR repeat my drive across town to acquire it.

It was 'okay' - if I was walking past and was desperate, would I go in and grab a quick cup? Sure.

If someone was to ask me to meet them somewhere over that side of town, and could I suggest a place? I'd say "The One is fine- let's meet there"

Is it GREAT coffee?
No, no it isn't.
The hunt continues, next stop is number 2 on Abu Dhabi Week's list - Le Brioche - if I can find it.

Now to the Abu Dhabilist coffee-scale-o-metre-thingy.

The bottom of the scale is "worst-coffee-I-have-ever-had-in-my-life-including-day-old-McDonalds-reheated-in-a-microwave-coffee" - a better explanation will be in a forthcoming post.

In short though: I never imagined coffee could be THAT bad... Tuesday 24th June was a watershed day for rubbish coffee, consumed 2 hours before going to "The One" - which means, really, "The One" should have starred, given that my palate was still reeling from the assault made upon it.

Starbucks will take the middle spot - purely as a commonly accepted "Average mass produced coffee" reference.

Top pick is current title holder of best Abu Dhabi coffee, and the source of my guilty little secret - The Planet Coffee Machine at the ADNOC on 30th. (see post "Coffee in Abu Dhabi?... it's a real problem")
So here goes...
  • ADNOC- Coffee Planet
  • The One
  • StarBucks
  • anything else, including but not limited to, licking tarmac
  • CDR (more on this place in a further post)
The One can be found near the corner of 32nd and Sheik Zayed the first streets, parking out front or in the little side street next to it - but as usual during peak times you may want to be a little less demanding about how far you have to walk from the car.

1 comment:

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.