Imagine naming your shop after your email ID! The first thought races that the ID better be usable. And then came about Spontiphoria, opposite the erstwhile Safa Park at Wasl Square, Jumeirah, where I was invited to preview their pre-Ramadan menu.
While I was wrestling with the name and what perhaps it meant, I walked inside this unique concept store that is both a bakery and a boutique. I found the store very Parisian. Chalk board messages, quaint curios everywhere interspersed with very artistic looking food items.
Their bakery believes in making it all the exact same way as one would do at home. And you can tell from the rich and fresh flavours of the rose and lychee cake slice. Their display had a salivating line-up of cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, tray-bakes, and other desserts. I was walking around with my piping hot cup of coffee and enjoying some traditional Ramadan treats.
I met the vivacious and attentive hostess and owner of Spontiphoria, Sidiqa Sohail who named her store after her MSN user that she had since she was 13. The name is concoction of spontaneous and euphoria, both equal descriptives of her. We got talking and I asked her whether baking is something she studied in detail; to which she answered in the negative. She studied ‘conflict prevention and peace building’ at the University of Durham, UK!
The only conflict you could have is on deciding which cake to attack and what dress to take home.
Ooh it is a tough task to get me to Dubai Mall; and that too on a Friday. Truth be told, I don’t remember where I came from and where I need to go. As a man who prides his in-built GPS sense, there is a stereo-typical shame in admitting that I am foxed by the ‘exit’ signage. Besides, on a Friday, Dubai Mall is a test in negotiating skills more than I have used all week. I accepted to visit Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery in Dubai Mall rather gingerly. I didn’t fancy cup-cakes either.
And there I found myself driving to Dubai Mall with my wife and toddler in tow for a promised cosy and lazy breakfast. We managed to get to the store which is located twixt the fountain and Wafi Gourmet.
Bloomsbury’s – the Boutique Café and Artisan bakery is a home-grown and chef driven concept with all recipes created from scratch using the finest ingredients available seasonally. From cupcakes, confectioneries, the famous high tea, and afternoon tea, Bloomsbury’s serve a fine selection of tea from all over the world.
While I was waiting to be served, I was sniffing around their fancy tea test tubes containing some fine mix of teas – some refreshing and some with a vigorous flavor. However, I settled for a cup of strong coffee, since that is my favourite poison.
My son found the quaint café quite interesting, more so as he leafed through a book on London while the smiling hostess put a strawberry cupcake in front of him and a ‘red velvet’ in front of us. The clever boy that he is, he didn’t wait any time in celebrating his cheat-day by digging into the smooth icing on the cupcake. I slowly advanced towards the ‘red velvet’ with some dramatic music in my head – cupcakes give you a sugar rush with the icing that will last you a rugby match – and when I spooned in the first swirl of the icing, I was blown over! Soft, creamy, clearly fresh cream cheese and with the sweetness fine-tuned to perfection! OK, then Bloomsbury’s – you are winning me over!
I walked over to the display to run a look at the motley collection of cupcakes that flaunt over 30 different flavours. The friendly store manager Mayank pointed out that the café has a unique rating system for all their products. That way, only the tops ‘stars’ are served to Bloomsbury’s patrons. Suddenly, I realized the pressure of being a cupcake!
I noticed this very artistic, golden hued chocolate fudge cake. It is Bloomsbury’s big ticket item that has seen unprecedented popularity thanks to its shape, size, texture and hue. Have a special occasion in mind? Book this good-looking baby. And there’s more, Bloomsbury’s also creates bespoke cakes / cupcakes for special days like birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers et al.
I sat down for my breakfast that consisted of oven-fresh flavoured croissant and coffee. Wife and I cooed over the zaa’tar croissant and the cheese variant. They were flaky, perfectly baked with the heat permeating to the deepest inner folds of flour. This is croissant could have you go silent for some time.
Set your Bloomsbury’s date at the Dubai Mall, near Wafi Gourmet with the café open from 10AM till midnight on weekdays and extending an hour on weekends.
In Abu Dhabi, find them at Al Wahda Mall, Mushrif Mall and Y Tower Building. In case you fancy a drive up to Ras Al Khaimah, look for Bloomsbury’s at the newly opened RAK Mall.
Fresh ingredients, aesthetic and artistic, and made hot off the oven, daily, Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery is that perfect place to sit with a book or watch shoppers walk past with a hot, buttered croissant or decadent cupcake and coffee.