When I first moved to Dubai I was an absolute pain of a human. I would insist on taking every single South African product back with me to Dubai. This included rice, biscuits, even cream soda, you name it I packed it in my bag. After a while I began to realize that I was being absolutely ridiculous. Given there are certain things that we still don’t find here, I don’t see the need to cart my Bakers biscuits up every time we travel.
Thankfully we live in a world where technology and globalization have broadened our horizons and have created international markets for our local South African Businesses. My groceries aside, one of the most exciting things to have happened was the opening of Walnut grove in Dubai. I was so excited about this , because to be honest, their rainbow cake is flippin magical! Before the great expansion of Sandton City as we know it now, there were very few restaurants like Walnut Grove in Sandton. I actually don’t even like calling it a “restaurant” because it’s so much more than that. Walnut grove is an experience, everything from the décor to the food welcomes you in, it’s like home.
Walnut Grove is a family business that started in 1975, the founder Yianni traveled from Greece to bring his foodie flair to South African shores. The love for food is a family trait and soon after he gave the business over to his children. I had the pleasure of meeting with his son Fotis at their new Dubai restaurant to discuss the legacy and new ventures of the Walnut Grove franchise.
The restaurant itself is breathtakingly beautiful, no doubt that it’s a passion project for Elle, Yianni’s daughter. Everything in Dubai is bigger and bolder, and Walnut Grove Dubai lived up to that expectation. The interiors are sophisticated and contemporary, but it still has the signature rustic vibe synonymous with Walnut Grove. The restaurant boasts luxurious wooden interiors, with chic touches of rose gold and antique finishes. It’s simplistic but oh so beautiful! One of the main features of the restaurant is the marvelous cake display in the center of the store, the star of the show, the rainbow cake of course. The interiors are dramatic but at the same time so understated, I would literally live in it if I could. I love how the Personality of the restaurant comes through in every element that it is composed of.
Their menu is vast and has something for everyone. They serve breakfast, lunch and Dinner and they welcome you for tea and coffee anytime as well!. There’s a variety of wholesome dishes including the avocado 3 ways and Arabic eggs, which we had, as well as healthier alternatives that include low carb and dairy free options. When my waitress Gale gave me the run down of all the dairy free alternatives they had, I realized that I would be spending a lot of time at Walnut Grove.
Avocado and toast is literally my favorite, I can have it everyday. Their version, Avocado 3 ways takes the concept to another level. It is served with their signature walnut seeded health bread which is TO DIE FOR, the entire time I could only think about all the amazing things that I could do with that bread, honey and fig would be the first. The avo was served with marinated chickpeas, a poached egg and a cream cheese and feta ‘carpaccio’. I devoured the entire plate. No regrets.
The Arabic eggs is their version of a shakshouka, which is a firm favorite here in the middle east. The sauce was bursting with tangy tomato flavor and perfectly topped with shavings of fresh parmesan cheese. I love that I could eat it straight out of the pan and no one was judging me. No meal at Walnut Grove is complete without their rainbow cake, which is just like the one back home. a brilliant meal perfectly rounded up with a Nutella Cappucino.
The owners and staff take pride in their restaurant and the food they serve. They pay extra attention to the little things that accentuate your dining experience. The food is absolutely gorgeous and of the highest quality, as you would expect from them. Our meals were plated and presented to us so stunningly and with so much love and care. Our waitress Gale was an absolute gem and she made sure all our needs were taken care of.
I love that this little piece of home has now found themselves in Dubai. The family has a beautiful approach to their business and strong work ethics, which comes through in the food and service. I have no doubt that the Walnut Grove brand will attract a lot of attention here in Dubai, with a menu like theirs, how could it not.
They are situated in City Walk phase 2, opposite level kids. They’re open from breakfast until dinner. Breakfast is served until 11.30 am. Make sure to pay them a visit and say Hi if you’re from South Africa!
Thank you to Fotis and Savina for having me, it was an absolute pleasure to dine with you!
Where there is Passion, there will be Success. I wish them the best!