Why This Media City Restaurant Is Worth The Lunchtime Queue
Less of a hidden gem and more of a free-for-all, joga is well worth the wait.
I knew there was a reason I kept seeing the same faces queuing at joga everyday. Every lunch break, I’d walk past the snaking line and think: “surely, it can’t be worth the wait?” We have precious little free time as it is in Dubai, and I didn’t fancy spending a third of my lunch hour standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people I didn’t know playing Candy Crush.
Of course, curiosity got the better of me. One afternoon, I decided to step down from my high horse, pull out my phone and join the queue. And, boy, am I glad I did. Not only is this quirky – borderline hipster – dining hotspot retro and rustic in style (read: unvarnished wooden tables, bare concrete floors and drinks in jam jars), it also serves really good food. I mean really good.
The customer-favourite Cajun Chicken Avocado sandwich is chunky, meaty and moist, served between two slabs of semi-toasted brown bread, with just the right amount of chilli kick. The Kale Caesar salad is crunchy and fresh, dished up with a delicious raw cashew dressing (something I never thought I’d say), while joga’s selection of wraps – from falafel to beef taco – are right on the money. The menu isn’t big – but, much like the restaurants word-of-mouth reputation building, it’s been done right.
Starting in the UAE in 2003 as a juice bar (it still serves fresh juices, smoothies and coffee), joga added food to their offering a few years ago, much to the collective delight of their customers. They claim the menu is healthy, but I’m pretty sure super-healthy foods can’t taste this good, so I’m pleading the fifth on that front.
As you may have gathered, after my first visit, I went back. Again and again. I became a face in a queue. Truthfully, I went so many times that I became sick of it and joga and I are currently on a break. But that hasn’t feigned my enthusiasm, nor has it changed the fact that this eatery is still the best in Media City. They stick to what they know, and they do it right; that’s exactly how it should be.