Thereâ€™s a common misconception that healthy food canâ€™t be comfort food. When you think of comfort food your mind automatically wanders to crispy fried chicken and potatoes in all shapes and sizes, creamy pastas infused with garlic and fresh herbs, sandwiches and burgers oozing with cheese and all the goodness that comes with the extravagance of calories. Yep, the mind has started wandering already. But when I think of comfort food, my mind doesnâ€™t go to the last burger I had (and regret) in Dubai; it makes a beeline for a cafÃ©, recommended by friends, that changed my misconception of the relationship between comfort food and healthy food. Healthy food can be comforting.
Lâ€™Eto CafÃ© is where my friend Sadiq and I had lunch before I caught a flight back to Karachi. It was definitely stuff a foodieâ€™s dreams are made of because the buffet menu was colourful, soulful and delightfully flavourful. Just thinking about it makes me full. There was a choice selection of one protein and two salads and believe me, it was a tough choice to make so Sadiq and I decided to split our selection to try as many different things as possible.
The protein selection had an option of almost variant of meat; there was a salmon teriyaki, roasted rosemary turkey, chicken and sweet potato patties, lamb koftas and miso glazed chicken breast with crispy sea-weedÂ Sadiq opted for the glazed and sesame studded fillet of salmon while I went for the turkey with cranberry sauce. For our salads we chose two each.
I donâ€™t even remember the names, just that my beetroot and kale salad was the perfect balance of tarty and sweet and Sadiqâ€™s beetroot and raspberry hummus (I remembered that right) tasted like it had descended straight from the heavens. I also took a portion of wild rice with roasted pumpkin, which to be honest was a little disappointing. I picked out the pumpkin but left the rice because it tasted like something you burn as incense. The wild rice tasted like potpourri, or at least my expectations of what potpourri would taste like. Pleasant it was not. Sadiqâ€™s second salad, a bean concoction, he inhaled so rapidly that I didnâ€™t even get a whiff of it. I have to believe him when he said it was delicious.
And that was our healthy, proportioned and well-balanced meal.
We had been dreaming of topping it off with dessert but hereâ€™s the thing. For the last year or so Iâ€™ve been on a food trip whereby I eat a salad, skip the main course and then go straight for dessert, or â€˜the killâ€™ as youâ€™d call it. Unfortunately, my slices of roasted turkey and salad were so filling that I could not indulge in the chocolate, caramel and toffee delights that were screaming for attention from the dessert display. â€˜Next time,â€™ Sadiq and I silently reassured the toasted almond croissants, the fruit tarts and the sinfully multi-layered caramel and chocolate brownies that painted the prettiest picture ever,
â€œWeâ€™re not having lunch here next time,â€ I told Sadiq. â€œWe need to return for dessert and coffee.â€
You will read a Part 2 of this review whenever I go to Dubai and head out to L-Eto just for a tasting of the desserts. Till then, check it out if youâ€™re in any one of the global destinations that has a L-Eto CafÃ©, especially London. You wonâ€™t regret it.