I was at NightJar Coffee, Dubai

Lucky me…. really. I was in Dubai in mid-March, just before the lock down, flight bans, quarantine and more and just got back to Vienna on the last couple of flights until July 2020.

Back to lucky me…. I was actually in Dubai to investigate the possibility of moving there to set up a business/life coaching consultancy, which would also involve… you guessed it… working as a coffeepreneur. In any case, I was talking to Yashood, head barista of %Arabica on the Dubai cafe culture, specifically on the explosive coffee roasting trend and he recommended that I check out a newish joint, Night Jar – located in the trendy arty district, called Alserkal Avenue. I must admit that during our family vacation in July 2019, we visited Alserkal Avenue to check out a chocolate cafe/factory and I walked by Night Jar, but it looked closed, so I never ventured in.

LUCKY ME… because even with just one week in Dubai during these tough times, I was still able to discover and experience great coffee in Dubai.

Night Jar is located at Unit G62 Alserkal Avenue Al Quoz Industrial 1, close to the main entrance and you could easily miss it,  as the exterior is darkish with glass doors and their logo on top. As you walk in, there are rows of coffees on the right hand side for you to buy,

If you look slightly to your left, you’ll see a tiny hallway feature that looks closed to all but staff (I found out later that this passage leads to the roasting area, equipped with a Geisen coffee roaster). As you look further to your left, you’ll see the brew bar and delicious looking cakes on display. They have a BlackEagle espresso machine –

Being inquisitive, I asked about their roaster and was introduced to Chad from Cape Town, who previously worked for Truth Coffee for 5 years (an insight – when I moved to Cape Town in 2009 my initial plan was to launch Truth Coffee with David Donde but I felt that my heart was somewhere else – a lesson for anyone chasing their goals, which I also write about daily on Instagram as honestmanagement) – Nevertheless, what a coincidence, that I walk into a cafe in Dubai and the roaster used to work for a place I almost started out at. In any case during our brief chat, I could tell that Chad is a no nonsense kind of coffee guy – focused on sourcing and roasting the best with an innovative edge. He recommended that I try an espresso of their Colombian coffee, which was about to finish

I must confess it was one of the best espresso I’ve had in a cafe for a while – well balanced between acidity and fruity undertones and smooth to drink.

I couldn’t agree more.😋

However, I definitely needed to buy their coffees – Chad suggested their Rwandan coffee for espresso and the Kenyan for filter, which he very kindly refused for me to pay.

I was also tempted to buy a slice of cake, but we had just had one at Tom&Serg around the corner – my daughter was slightly upset as she said “daddy, we could have had these nice cakes here…” next time God willing.

More about NightJar – they source micro and nano lots, so their specialty coffee offering is really special as you might taste something incredible one day that may not be available the next – so buy the bag whilst you can. Their interior is L shaped, cosy and intimate – they also offer food and their menu looks great, I mean stuff like pulled ox benedict, Nigeria love rice, NZ meatballs, veggie specials and more – yum! so next time, I plan to make a meal of it (coffee, lunch and dessert) God willing. They offer nitro coffee, which is a sort of cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen to give it a rich, creamy head, similar to nitro draft beer like Guinness – in fact at Nightjar, the brew heads for nitro coffee look like how beer is dispensed but being Dubai, there’s no beer here.

Before I sign off, I have mention that I really love their fun theme on their packaging.

Very innovative.

I plan to meet their owner, who hails from New Zealand and who coincidentally again, is known by one of my contacts in Dubai.

When the quarantine is out, I strongly advise any serious coffee nerd to visit Nightjar in Dubai – until then they are selling their coffees online – lucky Dubanites (is that a word?) visit them here right now to order https://nightjar.coffee

 

I was @ TomAndSerg, Dubai

tomandserg collage
tomandserg collage

It seems the coffee scene is vastly improving in Dubai. It was only about a year ago that I was excited when I visited Dubai and visited RAW Coffee – see my blog here. Now, just a few months later, two guys called Sergio (from Spain) and Tom (from Australia) team up and open up Tom&Serg – a post-modern Aussie style cafe, dedicated to offering artisan prepared coffee using the state of the art La Marzocco La Strada, hearty well prepared food in a no frills atmosphere – exposed brick, blackboard walls, open plan kitchen with noise to create a homely feel.

The Entrance
The Entrance

Most of us visiting from NY, Melbourne and London will instantly feel at home here. For me it is reminiscence of Workshop Coffee (Clerkenwell, London), cum St.Ali (Melbourne). In fact its a style I very much like, because it was not long ago that the it was very difficult to get artisan coffee and well prepared food under one roof. I remember my trips to London, where I had to eat in one place and then trek to find good coffee in another and vice versa, but that’s changing now. So, to Tom and Serg, Dubai and to my freshest post ever, as I just got back from Dubai yesterday (12 April 2014), that’s how excited I am.

Relax and Eat
Relax and Eat

I didn’t hesitate upon entering to let the waitress know that I’m here because of the coffee and persisted to let her know that when I owned Escape Caffe, my Magic was made with a triple shot of espresso in a 150ml glass. In any case, that’s what I ordered and then I asked who was in charge of coffee and she directed me to Jamie, who hails from Melbourne and has done a stint of jobs at Melbourne’s finest cafes such as Proud Mary, Auction Rooms, Sensory Lab (St Ali’s sister shop) and Seven Seeds, so in summary, a well-trained barista that knows what he’s talking and drinking about. My wife looked at me and was like “you know you want to, so go and talk to the chief barista”, so, I walked by for a chat to talk all things coffee, blend, taste profile, market preferences, etc. I was glad to know that they get their coffee from RAW, but the blend is made specifically for them under Jamie’s guidance. In summary, it hails from Central and South America with medium acidity, roasted just after second crack (where the oils begin to sip out) – ok, I’m getting a bit geeky here, so I’ll stop. In any case, ti goes well with milk, with chocolatey and caramel overtones with not in your face sweetness.

A Magic
A Magic

 

For me however, what blew my mind was the cold brew, offered to me by Jamie and his description as on point – it’s very unusual in that you need to take several sips to try and pin point the taste and so that’s what I did and I have to confess it wasn’t easy.

Cold Brew
Cold Brew

 

All I know is that the first couple of sips sent flavour profiles literally through my whole body. In fact it puzzled me so much that I ignored my lunchand then realising that I hate cold food, had to succumb and indulge in my burger and fries.

IMG_2575

I washed my palate with more water and went back to the coffee. After that I took a stroll around the shop, which is fairly big as there’s also an upstairs area, a black board describing the coffee.

So what coffee do you like
So what coffee do you like

a library area and another La Marzocco Strada, supported by another barista from Australia – this time from Brisbane – wow! two under one roof – baristi from Australia and La Marzocco Strada that is. As we literally got there 30 minutes before they close on a Friday – 4:30pm I rushed through the place and tried to take some original pics and on our way out, I met another lady, Michaela, from Melbourne, who used to live in London but never had a chance to try out some of the top cafes there. I reassured her that if she ever visited London again that she would be wowed by the quality of cafes there, who could rival those in Melbourne too, encouraging her that London’s acceleration to the top of the World coffee drinking cities was partly due to the influx of baristi from Melbourne itself – she was happy with that confirmation.

All in all, a great place to visit and from what I read (the owners were in the Esquire Middle East Magazine for their dress sense), there’s more to come from Tom and Serg, perhaps more shops, definitely more publicity and similar concepts. Please try Vienna, Austria, where I live.

Lots of seating space
Lots of seating space

For more info, see http://www.tomandserg.com

Open from 8am to 4pm (4:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays)

A Branded Bottle
A Branded Bottle

 

 

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