Another one that has been on my list of places to try for forever is Common Grounds (another gig by the Tom&Serg crew). And when some girlfriends thought it would be fun to meet up before a spa session at the Sheraton (which I’ll get into in a separate post), well, how could I say no? Tucked away on the newest level of Mall of the Emirates (very close to the entrance to the Sheraton MOE and, I’m sure by design, a sister
(brother?) restaurant, the Brunswick Sports Club), is an open plan high ceiling cafe. No wheel is being reinvented here, but I did notice many a person typing busily away at their laptop on the raised section, so have to assume there is either good wifi or a decent place to plug in. Plan for a table on the outside if you enjoy people watching.
For drinks, we ordered a collection of coffees and one juice, while my soda was woefully forgotten (a reminder when our dishes were served had to be given, or else I would have been without the
overpriced cola). While the restaurant wasn’t at capacity, the drinks came out slower than say, Lime Tree is slinging theirs (on a busy Friday morning).
I might also preface this review by saying, ‘Dear Taste Kitchen, this is how you do the fresh concept.’ With a rolling menu (I love this feature because hey, sometimes you’re in the mood for breakfast later in the day
or sometimes you roll out of bed late on the weekend), there was almost too many good things to choose from. I ultimately decided on the Smashed Avocado (I swapped in sourdough) and added the free range poached eggs (runny). My friend ordered the same thing (with the regularly scheduled toast) and eggs (medium). I was happy with my choice, although the toasted sourdough was too hard to cut with a regular knife, such that I had to request a steak knife (!) to saw through the bread. My friend’s eggs were identical to mine (that is, runny) and we were both unimpressed with the temperature of the dish. I was expecting warm to hot, but it was coolish (okay for the avo, not good for the egg — which I think had to do with the fact that the breakfast dishes were all served at once, and the salmon a few minutes later). Overall, I love avocado, and this plate was quite filling.
Another of the party chose breakfast, specifically the Breakfast Tacos (fried free range eggs — served the correct version of medium — braised pinto beans, beef bacon, charred corn, queso fresco and chunky salsa). Other than wanting a bit more heat in the dish, our friend enjoyed the breakfast.
The final member of our party decided on Pan Fried Salmon, which was easily one of the most gorgeous dishes I’ve seen anywhere recently. As a recent cooking show I was watching reminded me, first we eat with our eyes. Served with quinoa, wild rice, grated coconut, mango salsa, green beans, spiced roast pumping, curry leaf and shiso — you’ll certainly feel good about this (relatively) healthy option.
As we split the check (with a bottle of sparkling water), the total came to AED398, which (not accounting for the gratuity) split nicely and while it felt a little overpriced, was about where I expected.
So, would I go back? Although MOE is among my least favorite malls, yes, I can definitely see a return trip to Common Grounds. Hopefully, the service and these small issues will be worked out for next time!