Art House Café Abu Dhabi, located next to the Etihad Modern & Antiques Galleries, is still considered a hidden gem for residents, despite being around for 10 years… What started out as a small venture, has developed into a special place for its regulars, and the community. Anyone who visits the café for the first time, instantly falls in love with it – for starters, it is unlike any other place in Abu Dhabi. Upon arrival, we notice 2 large horse heads, made entirely of recycled cans, which fits perfectly with the eco concept. There is ample parking space and taxis are constantly passing by, however there is no dedicated valet parking. Designed completely from recycled material and antiques, the café can be described as a kaleidoscope for the senses. Bursts of random colours are sprinkled all over the walls and ceiling, combined with mismatched recycled furniture made from plush toys, jerry cans, old gas compartments, trolleys and even patchwork. To complement the interiors, odd pieces of furniture are dotted along the café such as a book shelf made from old suitcases and even a vintage record player, which is reminiscent of the 1950’s American style diners. Spread along the walls are beautiful art pieces from young emerging artists, all for sale, while natural daylight seeps in from the glass doors, keeping a strong connection to nature.
Apart from a vivacious interior, the café also has an outdoor veranda, immersed with art pieces designed by younger children. Some cool features include a colourful wall of art made from individually painted tiles, and a miniature “play” on the love bridge where guests can purchase a padlock and lock their love on the “wall of love”.
Art House Café’s menu features a range of international dishes from breakfast, to main course and dessert. During our visit we enjoyed the Wagyu burger which was flavourful, prepared medium well and the bacon was perfectly crispy. The accompanying salad (lettuce and cherry tomatoes) however was nothing special and lacked a bit of zing and flavour. We also tried the Norwegian salmon, which was very tasty and cooked perfectly, however the accompanying brown rice was overly cooked and the intended pineapple and coconut flavour was lost in the process. The Thai curry sauce and steamed asparagus were sensational. We did not have the opportunity to try any dessert, however are already looking forward to our next visit, to dig into those divine Nutella crepes. The only downside currently, is the service. Although the staff are very friendly, unfortunately their menu knowledge was not up to standard and speed of service was quite slow at the time of our visit.
The café has become an active centre point for the community and supports local talent greatly – not only through painting displays on the walls, but also by hosting poetry evenings and empowerment talks for the youth. This is an excellent place to start one’s day with breakfast, catch up with friends for lunch, or simply enjoy an afternoon immersing in art and a good book.
The café currently encourages the community to arrive by bicycle where they will be rewarded with a 25% discount off their bill, or to enjoy reading a book which will earn them 10% off their bill. Another fun element to enjoy while visiting – is to stop by the neighbouring Etihad Antiques Gallery, featuring countless works of precious antique art, furniture, and sculptures spread along 2 floors. The gallery is also home to a family of Persian cats, who are always ready to welcome visitors with fluffy cuddles.
Review and photography by M.M exclusively for The Huntr