A less formal option among Dubai’s hotel dining rooms (this one is in the Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City), Zeste is an all-day drop-in for coffee and light bites, though it’s not so laid back that you can ignore the smart casual dress code.
It might close at 9pm, but the flipside is that Zeste opens at 7am, when you might find yourself tucking into a mezze-like ‘Tepsi’ sharing platter of Middle Eastern morning classics or, of all the unlikely things to find in Dubai, a full English breakfast, complete with bacon and baked beans.
Otherwise, the menu keeps to the zesty theme with a range of zingy on-trend foods from around the world (kimchi benedict, beef bulgogi bao buns,), with an emphasis on healthy eating. All-day snacks include the likes of wild mushrooms with white truffle-scented hummus and polenta chips, kale, chilli pecorino and poached egg, smashed avocado with salted ricotta, puffed grains, lemon, kale and poached egg on rye sourdough, or smoked salmon with mushroom confit, baby vegetables, quail eggs and pesto.
Superfood bowls (tuna, chicken, salmon) are another speciality, including several vegetarian options. The Macro involves quinoa, kale, sweet potato, adzuki beans, sesame and pickled vegetables among its attractions while the Detox throws together organic broccoli, kale, sugar peas, feta, poached egg and croutons.
It’s not all so healthy, however. Poutine has pulled beef ribs and cheese piled on top of French fries, potato wedges come with pulled beef, baked beans, white Cheddar and barbecue sauce, while there are snacks of friend mac’n’cheese, crispy gnocchi tots, guacamole bon bons and onion ring strings.
The light and bright surroundings might not have the most character but there are lots of surfaces everywhere to rest a laptop on or scroll through your tablet over a cappuccino or cup of fresh juice.