Being passionate about food, whether it’s shopping for ingredients, cooking barefoot in my kitchen, going to masterclasses to see the experts show you how it’s done, or sampling the finished product from street food to five (or even seven) star restaurants brings me so much pleasure on so many levels.
Food summons up memories of the past, a point in time, a business event, a holiday or a celebration of some sort, and lets be honest if you enjoy food then most meals can be celebrations.
Sharing my love of food and drink and of course a few gallon of coffee with you through this blog is another way in which I get pleasure, sharing my experiences, enjoying the experiences of others and constantly being inspired to try new things, new restaurants, new drinks and new coffee.
For some people though all of the above, isn’t enough and towards the end of last year I was introduced to a real passionate foodie who has converted his passion of food into a business. Yousef Barqawi is this man, someone whose face lights up when he talks about food and his restaurant. A former banker and now restauranteur, he is the owner of the recently opened Cafe and Bistro called Fraiche Cafe and Bistro in JLT. From the first menu tasting in his apartment through to a pre opening dinner, launch night, breakfast and lunch at Fraiche, I’ve literally fallen in ‘foodie love’ with Fraiche and the team.
Late last week I and another foodie had lunch at Fraiche where we dined on some tasty and fresh dishes which were as pleasing to the eye as they were on the palate. Starting off with favourite of mine we shared a Beetroot Carpaccio with the candied walnuts, and creamy goats cheese stealing the show we also shared (well I ate most of it) a plate of Crab Poutine consisting of crispy thrice home cooked fries smothered in a crab bisque and topped with blue-shell crab, it was simply stunning and I would return for this alone.
Moving onto main courses we had a fresh and crunchy Lentil Salad with crisp green apple and celery dressed with a maple syrup balsamic vinaigrette and Charmwood Smoked Cheddar sandwich with a home-made tomato chutney served on rye bread. I’m not a huge cheese fan, but this cheese is amazing, it’s creamy with a subtle smoky flavour and sits well alongside the chutney. We also had Twice Cooked Lamb Shoulder with butternut squash puree which was packed full of flavour and yet oh so tender, served with a triangle of puff pastry and sautéed broccoli, I would prefer some potatoes on my plate, but that’s the ‘meat and two veg’ Brit in me, and so would order a side of mashed potatoes or even some of those delicious Home-made french fries if I have the dish again.
For dessert we shared a decadent Flourless spicy Chocolate Cake which was delicately spiced with chilli and surrounded with circles of caramel with just a hint of chili sprinkled over the top, it was truly divine. Finally I ended with a double expresso along with some creative thinking with Ishita as we brainstormed some ideas on a new logo for my site, but that’s still work in progress and needs more work, or should I say creative input over a good cup of coffee and with a great slice of cake.
This isn’t the first time I’ve visited Fraiche and it won’t be the last, from a place to work with a laptop, breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends of business colleagues this is a great place to visit. Worth the trip to JLT ? Yes – Free Wifi, a bright and contemporary, yet urban bistro with terrace seating opening soon this is a great hidden gem capable of hosting food for one or groups, indeed fifteen of us recently went for the weekend breakfast serving up a combination of al la carte and self serve items with tea/coffee and is served until 3pm daily for a very reasonable 55/AED. Top Tip, the Eggs Benedict are a firm favourite of mine, as are the Pancakes with lashings of maple syrup.
Pictures speak a thousand words, and so this time I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. Here are some of the dishes I’ve enjoyed at Fraiche. Enjoy
You can find Fraiche in Swiss Tower, Cluster Y, JLT or on Facebook.
They are also on Snapp so get clicking when you visit and be rewarded.