“That neutral corner that is neither your work nor your home.” The Third Place
The Third Place cafe located in a standalone converted villa in Al Khalidiya.
Now, I am not or never claimed to be a coffee connoisseur, I don’t think you can profess to know anything about the clarity of beans or blends whether they are arabica and robusta, when your preferred drink is a latte and you drown the expresso in a mug full of steamed and frothy milk, but I do know where I like to visit that I consider do a good version of my aforementioned beverage of choice (read Coffee Confidential here to see what your coffee of choice says about you). Cafe culture is huge business here in the UAE and I’m always eager to try out new places, away from your usual international chains (which I frequent too much anyway, especially in the GCSE exams waiting phase of my life over the last month), as generally the food options are more varied and fresher than the same everyday offerings in your high-street favourites.
The Third Place is a new spot on the Abu Dhabi cafe map, situated in a great location in Al Khalidiya near the Corniche in a standalone converted villa. Now when I pulled up yesterday (more like roared as I was driving the battered and unsubtle Stang) to meet a friend for breakfast, my immediate reaction was that this place had real potential, as its villa vibe reminded me of my favourite UAE cafe, The Lime Tree in Dubai. Plenty of parking (can be a real issue here in the city when not at a mall) was another plus point as were the views across to the beach and sea. A rustic welcome sign beckons you in and a small quaint outside seating area greets you as you enter through the gates. The interior is decorated in a minimalist trendy style with an array of eclectic furniture (tables made of packing crates etc), brightly painted walls and lots of shelving with selection of books, framed quotes and art, as first impressions go it was good.
The minimalist and colourful interior
Still looking like it had potential at this stage, I was surprised how empty it was for 11am on a hot and humid Friday morning, I was only the fourth table taken (which took a while to get cleared/cleaned from the previous diners) and after a fifteen minute wait of trying to get a simple English Breakfast tea, I began to realise why there may be a lack of customers. Large wall based chalkboard menus offer simple limited choices but this could easily be extended and improved, but the service and sense of urgency was dreadful. Painfully slow and after an order taken twice and repeated still arrived incorrect, I was not impressed and with so much competition in the capital you really can’t afford a bad reputation.
Simple styling and a pretty outdoor terrace that will be an added attraction in the cooler months
On the plus side the coffee was good as were the complimentary mini pistachio infused shortbread cookies (you have to recognise the good, however small). The breakfast, when it came was ok, nothing special but to give the staff their due, their order mistake was recognised and my food was removed from the bill and for this reason I will go back and give it a second chance for lunch and try a salad and green smoothie, but should I have a similar experience again, it will definitely not be my Third Place of choice.
The simple and easy recognisable logo
A warm welcome? You decide (source:www.facebook.com/TheThirdPlaceuae/photos_stream)
Repeat business is a must for all cafes especially new ventures so I hope that this is just a blip and things improve, although the friend I was with reported a similar experience last time she went and the quality of the dishes was not good then either. The Third Place opened in the middle of April and you are an Abu Dhabi-an you can find out all the details, exact location, opening times etc by visiting their Facebook page here – I suggest you go and make up your own mind, after all its about personal taste.
Street views (source:www.facebook.com/TheThirdPlaceuae/photos_stream)
“It is a place where you can: do your work, read your book, make your art, feed your hunger…Or simply just drink your [good!] coffee – while feeling nothing short of comfortable.” The Third Place Cafe
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.