Tom and Serg – a Melbourne Cafe in Dubai

tomandserg-coffee wallLeft brain: go home. Think about it. Give it some time. Let them settle in, then go back and review on an established product.

Right brain: People need to know about this place!

Left brain: They already do. Other media are all over this place. You can’t provide anything they haven’t already.

Right brain: Yes I can. I can compare it to Melbourne. None of the other media are from Melbourne. They can’t understand how much Dubai has needed a place like this to make it more… more… more like Melbourne.

Left brain: You want Dubai to be like Melbourne? Ungrateful sod.

Right brain: No, I want a decent cup of coffee. In a place that understands that middle-aged has-beens with over-confident kids can be hip. And great food that isn’t on every other menu in the city, but captures trend and yet slides delicately away on it’s own tangent. A place that plays music that’s not on Virgin FM. Somewhere I don’t crave a glass of wine, because it’s giving on so many other levels, I forget about booze.

Left brain: Liar. You were just saying to your husband that they should open in the DIFC and sell Americanos and obscure wine varietals by the glass and have retro movie nights. Anyway, you didn’t have your camera.

Right brain: I had my iPhone. I took some good shots.

Left brain: You keep telling yourself that.

Right brain: You suck.

Left brain: Yes, I do. You couldn’t if you tried. All you do is the artistic stuff. If you didn’t have me, you wouldn’t even be able to taste all that wonderful food and wine you obsess about.

Right brain: You have no idea how old you make me look, do you?

tomandserg-cups

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Tom and Serg has opened in a quiet way with some very unsubtle hand-clapping by only the coolest of media. I saw two other prominent food bloggers while dining there yesterday, and watched two others instagramming their meals with my virtual eyeballs. If you haven’t heard about it yet, then lucky you follow this blog, because you might otherwise have been deemed as being a reader of last year’s newspaper.

tomandserg-condimentsLocation is suitably urban and unlikely – surrounded by hardware stores, luxury car depots, dodgy felafel shops and the dust and grime of the warehouse district. There’s no sign on the door. If you can’t find it, you’re not meant to be there. Luckily you can find a map here.

The menu is brief but likeable and broad. It’s unlikely anyone at all will struggle to find something to eat. The kitchen is also flexible and kindly made kids meals (not on the menu) devoid of anything that visibly looked like a vitamin or mineral, but tasted spectacularly good for a 20AED burger. The other main meals verge on health (e.g. cauliflower risotto or lemon and quinoa salad), or a total divergence from it (e.g. a 7-tier lamington or an incredible lemon meringue bomb with a foam sticky enough to use as wallpaper paste). Chips were addictive to say the least.

Drinks are also a highlight. Coffee is probably the best in the Emirate. Chai Lattes, for me, are a delightful memory parcel of the South Melbourne Market. Softies are suitably chic San Pellegrino varietals (although I missed the Chinotto). It’s true, I didn’t really crave a wine, but FYI, I’d never say no in the future….

Staff are either annoyingly vibrant, efficiently nonchalant, sweet and caring, or a delightful casserole of the three. A little like the personality of Melbourne itself.

So go to Tom and Serg. And then go to Melbourne, and you’ll see what I’m on about.

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Tom&Serg

Rating*: 8.5/10

Pros: fantastic design, bright open space, good cheap(ish) food, fab coffee, wifi, authentic.

Cons: location a little weird (but I quite like it), chirpy service on a Friday morning was a little hard  for my sore head to deal with.

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Sheikh Zayed Rd Sliproad, between Times Square and Al Manara in Al Quoz 3

ph: +971 4 338 8934

website: tomandserg.com

(Tom and Serg is also included in my top 20 restaurants of Dubai, part of the Dubai Gourmet Trail as coordinated by the Dubai Food Festival. My post here, and theirs on the Dubai Food Festival website)

 

*A guide to ratings: These take into account the price, quality, service and the facilities, and in effect are a value rating. A venue with mains at 30AED has just as much chance of getting a 10/10 as a fine dining establishment.

  • 0-2/10 = exceptionally overpriced or tremendously awful. Avoid at all costs.
  • 3-5/10 = overpriced in respect to quality. Lacklustre. Don’t eat there unless there are no other options.
  • 6-7/10 = reasonable value. Check other options in the area just in case, but not a bad choice over-all.
  • 8-9/10= worth seeking out. Tremendous food and ambience. One of if not the best restaurant in the area.
  • 10/10 = As good as it gets. Stop what you’re doing, book a table now.

21 Comments

  1. I was sitting at Vintage Chocolate Lounge at The Dubai Mall waiting for my painfully boring and pointless film to start (even Robert Redford can’t save this one from sinking) and I pick up the inventively titled “Good” only to read an interview with the bearded (and somewhat cheeky) Australian from Tom and Serg. And this guy was so confident about the quality of the pastries that I’m sure I’m going to absolutely hate them (me being me, heh, heh)…but on a more serious note, it seems that RAW now has a new competitor in town. Love the bird’s eye shot, and I hope that the coffee is like you say it is. (P.S. The right side of my brain always wins as well…)

    • Yes, Raw definitely does have a competitor, but in my opinion was already blown out by Brunetti’s at the Dubai Mall (incidentally, a Melbourne franchise). God knows why the larger venue closed – it was probably worried about catching something evil from the Cheesecake Factory next-door. Thankfully you can still get a damn good coffee in the Brunetti’s kiosk just to the right of the about-to-open Markette.
      I did like the desserts and Tom and Serg very much, and like everything in the venue, they were reasonably priced. Don’t know if they rise to the cream of Dubai’s desserts though – this is a hard task in the land of gold and sugar. But for ambiance, and what comes before and after dessert, Tom and Serg are definitely going to make most of us happy.
      Thanks for the comment, and for the lovely compliment – I’m not the only one who’s got that birds-eye shot on their blog. It’s a photogenic place.

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  3. I don’t like desserts as a rule but I really enjoyed the lemon meringue pie, can’t discuss coffee issues at length as I rarely drink the stuff but had a great chat with Jamie the Barista who felt the only place in Dubai who served a decent cup was Raw 🙂 great photo’s 🙂 x

  4. I wish I’d read this about the lack of sign above before I went there! Walked up an appetite anyway. Lovely pics – and good for both sides of the brain. Prices?

  5. I love the way you have written this post Sarah! I couldn’t stop laughing 🙂 TomandSerg is a great addition to Dubai’s scene!

  6. As far as I know their coffee is from Raw …. Not yet been as distant shores of Istanbul were calling just as they opened, but will pop in at some stage just to see, but am not a fan of Raw Coffee in general. Lets see if their barista skills make it taste great. Love your writing Sarah x

  7. Love this post Sara!

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  9. It’s hilarious the way you have written the post. You do have very conflicting right and left brains. Just read another review on this place by Tala. Must visit then:)

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  14. Muhammad Asif says:

    I like this I want job in it

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