Places To Eat: Spill the Bean – Dubai
Name: Spill the Bean
Description and Ambience: This family owned, quirky speciality coffee shop, with its mismatched chairs and tables, has an ambience that is funky, yet soothing. The décor choices, from a ceiling with exposed pipes, wire light shades, interesting floor tiles with organic designs in muted colours of dark green, mustard yellow, dusty red, and light grey and black, against a soft cream background, combine eclectic elements in a charming way. Touches of colour, like a bright red table top, dark green upholstered chairs, and purple and orange cushion covers, not only add warmth, but make the open, airy space very cosy.
A large table at the entrance to the coffee shop, and another inside, provide a lovely space for a big gathering, or a shared space if you are on your own. Alternatively, there is a narrow counter top inside the shop facing a large window with a view into the mall, and conveniently placed power sockets, where you can charge your computer or phone. Piles of magazines are invitingly arranged on various tables, or you could read the daily newspaper, or browse through one of the many books lining various bookshelves.
As a lover of books, I simply adore any space where I am surrounded by them, while being able to get a good cup of coffee and something to snack on. It is a space with a laid-back feel, perfect for a leisurely start to a weekend, or a peaceful place to work in. It is no wonder then, when I later learned that owner Ola Sinno is a designer, and not just a lover of good coffee, who created Spill the Bean to be a place where people can work and linger in an environment that is comfortable and conducive to creativity.
Their choice of music further enhances the laid-back atmosphere, and best of all, is played at just the right volume.
Location: It is tucked away in a quiet, bright corner on the first floor of Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road. The big glass windows of the mall, to the front and left of the coffee shop, allow it to be flooded with natural light, with a view of the stream of traffic flowing up and down Jumeirah Beach Road. One gets the sensation of being wrapped up in a warm cocoon of light, far removed from the daily demands of life. Its location, in what is essentially a quiet mall, means that there is ample free parking in the basement.
Price and Quality of Food:
I love their menu, as it provides a great selection of healthy choices, without being boring or predictable, and the possibility to indulge in breakfast all day long. Their “Tree Hugger Yums” section, which includes a No Sugar Date and Seeds Granola (on home-made vanilla yogurt and coconut, drizzled with date syrup); No Sugar Overnight Oatmeal (with flax seeds, nuts, raisins, dried fruits, honey, and choice of milk); and a No Sugar Nut and Spice Granola (on home-made vanilla almond yogurt, and drizzled with honey), is perhaps my favourite.
There are also gluten-free cakes (including a Banana, Dates & Walnuts Loaf; and a Banana, Almond and Coconut Cake), and other healthy delights such as a chocolate avocado pudding in a jar or a date milk pudding in a jar. Their display case will make your choice very difficult, as every single item looks delicious.
Their coffees are all organic, and sourced from the RAW Coffee Company, and my café latte was smooth and silky, without a sharp or bitter after taste, exactly as I like it. Apart from the usual, you can also have your coffee with soy or camel milk.
Other interesting drink items on the menu include a Sparkling Coffee (cold-pressed coffee with sparkling mineral water), and a Chocolatey Orange Cold Brew. Their most popular item is the Date Cold Brew, and with its delicious fruity flavours it makes for a very refreshing drink.
It is self-service, but the friendly, and efficient staff will bring your order to your table. From a conversation with one of the staff, I learned that they are treated like family and are fiercely loyal, while from the owner, whom I met later, I learned that she considers the staff their best asset, and is particularly proud of them. It is that relationship that spills over in how customers are treated, and in an extremely competitive and fickle market, it is perhaps the emphasis on these relationships that ultimately make a difference and ensure the longevity and success of a business in Dubai.
It is often the small touches that make a place special, and the glass of water I was brought, on the house, on my second visit, while working quietly in a corner after breakfast, is just such an example.
On my first visit I had a café latte and granola (AED 45), and on my second visit I had the date cold brew and a single date pancake, as they are huge (AED 37). On both occasions the food was tasty, and the coffee excellent.
Website: Find them on Facebook
Worth Noting: They run a book exchange, so if there is a book on the shelf you would like to read, you are welcome to take it home with you, and if you have any books at home just gathering dust, you can bring them in, and could even be rewarded with a cup of coffee on the house for it. There is the usual free Wi-Fi, but also a Community Notice Board, and they have a small, bright room, filled with toys and books, where children can entertain themselves, while their parents relax over a cup of coffee.
On A Personal Note: I am a creature of habit, and when I find a space that I feel comfortable in, and it checks all the right boxes for me, I become a very loyal customer. Not being a food blogger with refined tastes on a mission to try out the next new thing, I would much rather simply return, time and time again, to those places I can work and linger in, while feeling completely at home. Spill the Bean is such a place for me.
Visited: October 2015