Circle Café is a simple, fresh, and delicious casual dining restaurant owned by the Radius Group. It started from a simple yet compelling proposition of NYC-style bagels and has evolved its menu to present appetizing options for all palates – from freshly tossed salads and handcrafted sandwiches to homemade desserts.
The founders, Rama and Mira, wanted to create a genuine café experience: a place where authentic food creates connections, where people eat, converse, relax, and work in a friendly atmosphere, thus the "Simple Easy Living" tagline. And that's definitely what Circle exudes with its homey and relaxed, yet very stylish and dainty interiors.
I fell in love with the dainty lights, white chairs, and those rose table accents. Simple yet classy and chic!
Circle introduced its extensive menu of homemade dishes to the media and bloggers at its new location in Bay Square, Business Bay, last Tuesday, April 28, as part of an ambitious expansion plan, and Mark and I were lucky to be part of the 'Circle'. :)
We were able to not only experience the 'Simple Easy Living' vibe, but we also got a taste of what #SimpleGoodFood is as we devour the dishes in their new menu.
We were first served with drinks and bagel chips when we were settled on our seats. I enjoyed the Watermelon Juice more than the Kale-Lime Juice. The Watermelon Juice was refreshing, Mark and I both had rounds of it, while the latter was a bit pungent and overpowering for our palates. I also didn't like the aftertaste that came with the latter.
The Bagel Chips with Tamara Truffle was served for appetizer. The labneh dip provides a hint of tang while the roasted sesame seeds not just added texture but also gave the bagel chips a distinct nutty flavor. We both enjoyed munching on this thin, crispy, and flavorful bagel chips. This definitely whetted our appetites.
For the salads, we were served with three: Circle Greek Salad, Circle Crab Salad, and Whole Wheat Salmon Pasta.
Tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives, ice berg lettuce, and feta cheese were all generously coated with the tangy olive oil dressing. The combination of salty, sweet, and savory goodness from the feta, cucumber, and tomatoes was what I loved the most in the Circle Greek Salad.
I also loved how the softness of the feta deviated from all the crunch from the veggies. This dish shouts out freshness! The vibrant colors of the veggies also made this dish such an eye candy.
The Circle Crab Salad is more like the Japanese kani salad, but a notch higher. I love kani salads so this one immediately became a favorite!
The shredded crab meat and crab sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, and creamy Yuzu dressing were a heaven in every bite. The freshness from the sweet crab meat and crab sticks were very evident. The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes and cucumber balanced out the tangy Yuzu dressing and gave a play of texture together with the crunchy lettuce.
With baked salmon, capers, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, dill leaves, and Italian dressing, the Whole Wheat Salmon Pasta got the characteristics of a healthy salad, but fills you up nonetheless!
However, it was the least of our favorites among the three salads. Mark and I both agreed that it kinda tasted bland. I also thought it was just 'whole wheat pasta with tomatoes' as the baked salmon was nearly evident. There were only two small chunks on our dish. :p
Brie, Mexican Veggie, and Crab sandwiches were what filled our tummies next. With the freshest ingredients sandwiched in toasted bagels, these handcrafted goodness were an instant hit!
The Crab has crab meat, tomato, iceberg lettuce, eggs, and Isabelle sauce. The Brie has a slice of apple, walnuts, fresh basil, pesto, and balsamic reduction sauce. The Mexican Veggie had fresh avocado, spicy tomato salsa, sweet corn, coriander, iceberg lettuce, and caramelized onions.
Flavors and textures were bursting in every bite. The bagel with toasted sesame seeds was what I liked the most. There's no denying how delectable these three were, but I must say that the Mexican Veggie is my personal favorite!
Three main dishes with sides were served next. The Corn Fed Baby Chicken was not very appealing but wait 'til you get to taste it! Coated with mustard crumbs and baked to perfection, with an herb-y taste and that kick from the mustard, the chicken was fork-tender and juicy and it was so good as is that the gravy that came with it was left untouched. It was perfect with the Polenta side.
The Polenta was divine! The combination of creamy, mushy, and slight chunkiness from the cornmeal and cream was perfect. Mark loved the Polenta so much that he wiped the bowl clean after I took a couple of spoonfuls! I think we both prefer polenta over mashed potatoes now. :D
This next dish was a downer. The grilled entrecôte was cooked medium well and it's a premium cut of beef so I was expecting it to be tender.
It turned out to be a bit dry and hard to chew. If there's one consolation though, there was no blood oozing out, there was no raw taste, and the meat was flavorful and was perfect with the blue cheese sauce. Another let-down was the Risotto. It was bland and I can still chew some uncooked grains.
The Circle Lamb Kofta and Vegetable Couscous redeemed Circle back. Mark and I love the Middle Eastern-flavor so this one satisfied our palates.
The lamb kofta has that distinct Middle-Eastern spice taste which I have already become accustomed to. I liked that the spiciness was tolerable for my palates. The yogurt dip also helped tone down the spiciness. The vegetable couscous was a revelation. My palates suggests that the same spices used to cook biryani rice was used here. I love chicken biryani so loving the vegetable couscous was not really hard for me. :D
The addition to the menu was definitely a lot that we barely had room for desserts. But tell me, how could you resist these?
The Chocolate Tart with Marshmallow has everything that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. The toasted marshmallow has that crunch from the outer crust which mellows down into a chewy core. Decadent dark chocolate ganache gently oozes out as you dig in and cut into the crunchy chocolate pastry. Oh I'm drooling now! :-p~
The Lemon Tart Meringue didn't pale into comparison. It was equally enticing! I love how the sour kick from the tangy lemon was balanced out by the sweet meringue and pastry.
While Mark indulged into the chocolaty goodness of the Chocolate Tart with Marshmallow, I just can't help but savor the goodness of the Lemon Tart Meringue!
Aside from the food, I liked how the founders and the staff were very hands-on to their guests. The founders, Mira and Rama, mingled with the diners and even served the dishes themselves.
They even had their family members attend to the diners, like this cute little boy, Ali, who was very enthusiastic in making sure to attend to our needs. :D
Melita, from Greece, was also very keen in enlightening Mark and I about the dishes that she's serving.
Circle Café branches are currently open at the Dubai World Trade Center, Studio City, Media City, Healthcare City, Business Bay, and Jumeirah Beach Plaza in Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, outlets are creating hearty food at the First Gulf Bank HQ and Al Raha Gardens Plaza in Khalifa City A.
CIRCLE CAFE, Business bay
Business Bay, Bay Square Building 7
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel No: +9714 552 1403
+9714 552 1416
Working Hours: 7:00am – 10:00pm everyday
Nearest Metro Station: Business Bay (Red Line)
We were guests at Circle Café and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all views and opinions are my own.