whEAT, an Artisan Bakery and Bistro - Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is awash with American style coffee shops which have come off the production line. What we are missing is some fine cafe-style coffee shops, streetside. It is an undeveloped part of a dining culture that continues to grow at a fast pace. 

On a recent stay at Le Royal Meridien, we had breakfast at a place that is quite unique. whEAT describes itself as an Artisan Bakery and Bistro, more than a coffee shop but less than a full out restaurant. I love the clever play on words in the name! Emphasis on fresh, natural ingredients makes whEAT a very desirable option for our morning meal. 

It is a naturally lit and happy space, with bright red and white chairs. Chairs are very homely, making you feel you are in someone's kitchen. Staff are dressed in jeans an Converse style sneakers, adding to that feeling of being relaxed. Importantly, for hotel guests not wanting to feel they are in a  hotel for breakfast, the location of whEAT makes you feel somewhat removed from the hotel. We sat outside, streetside! Newspapers and magazines are in good supply, making for a perfect lazy morning. Wifi is also available to all guests. 

I ordered the “Pear to the Throne” Vanilla Poached Pear,  Brioche Toast & Greek Yoghurt at 25AED. What a way to start the day. The brioche is lightly toasted so you get that gorgeous toasty colour but its texture is still nice and soft. Blueberry jam and fresh blueberries rest on the highlight of the plate, poached pears. Instead of butter, it lies on a Greek yogurt. It is light and fresh!

Still feeling a bit hungry, I have the Scottish Salmon Rillettes on Brown bread with Watercress, Pickled Onion, Dill Pickle & Crème Fraiche at 45AED. No one told me how big it was. It is quite a sandwich. I don't even attempt to finish it, and I decide to send half up to my room for later. It is abundance that the sandwich celebrates. The picture illustrates that generosity I am talking about. Lovely touches like the pickled onion and radish beautifully placed on the salmon - wow. It is simply a fantastic sandwich. Finally,  the artichokes and sundried tomatoes in the side salad complete a dish that packs amazing flavours and value for money. 

While the hotel offers an excellent all day dining restaurant for guests, for those seeking something more intimate with a more focused menu, whEAT is perfect. Personally I am growing wary of buffets, especially with an 8 year old - we eat so much more than we ordinarily would. whEat also gives walk in guests a different experience to those ubiquitous coffee shops. Portions are large and prices are great. Next time, I have to try them for lunch as well!

The lowdown

Le Royal Meridien, Khalifa Street,
Abu Dhabi
971 2 695 0450


Brandon Stoltenkamp

Disclaimer: I consult at restaurants and hotels in an attempt to look at the entire product to take service levels to where they should be. I visited  Market Kitchen as  a guest of the hotel.