Dubai cafe
Wind tower, old-fashioned air con

Basta Art Café, a cool Dubai cafe

On our very first day in town, we discovered a cool Dubai cafe. Cool in every sense: Basta Art Café is located in the courtyard of an old wind tower. Lucky for us, it was just across the street from our hotel in the Old Bastakiya quarter, close to Dubai Creek.

It seemed to be an expat hangout, so not that local really, but very child-friendly. There was even a cafe cat. We popped by almost every day, trying new things most of the time (‘cept Alex who kept ordering pancakes with strawberries). The Arabic breakfast is wonderful, with tea, white cheese, greens, tomatoes, Arabic bread, honey and a delicious, slightly salty yogurt. In fact, I would like some right now! Just as delicious any time of day, is their drinks selection, with Moroccan mint tea and fabulous juices. Here’s our favourite:

Funny-looking, but superbly delicious lime and mint juice; tastes like a non-alcoholic mojito

Shakespeare & Co

On our last day, we happened to pass Shakespeare & Co in The Village on Jumeirah Road. Thinking it was a branch of the Parisian book shop, I decided to stop by for a quick look. Instead, it turned out to be a restaurant/patisserie/flower shop, fabulously decorated in a turn-of-the-century, very opulent style. We only had time for ice creams on the large airy terrace.

Around us, by the potted trees and the fountain, others were lounging in the comfortable cushioned wicker sofas, smoking sheesha. Ahh, next time. Sans kids.