Near+Far’s ‘Coolest Spots in Dubai‘ series chronicles what, in many ways, is the anti ‘Dubai’ – the antithesis to flashy bars and glossy malls. Here, you’ll get under the skin of the city, uncovering the under-the-radar, effortlessly stylish, soulful, homegrown and cultural hangouts the city’s creatives and locals frequent. Here, we visit Nette, the serene, hyper-trendy cafe and hang out at Matcha Club – Dubai’s premium padel destination hidden amongst the dusty lanes and warehouses of Al Quoz…
Nette, Matcha Club Dubai
Why visit Nette at The Matcha Club, Dubai
Looking at photos of Matcha Club Dubai, it would be easy to think you’re looking at the French Riviera – thanks to burnt orange courts and thick foliage. But this incongruous bubble lies in the heart of Dubai’s Al Quoz – the once industrial neighbourhood now making a name for its culture, arts and creativity – not to mention some of the best coffee shops in Dubai. People come for the padel courts and the yoga classes at the chic studio, but largely, people come to Nette – the all-day, indoor-outdoor eatery nestled under a canopy of greenery and with a soothing green and blue colour scheme with clay-court pops of orange.
On a blue sky day, the orange court and green palm trees – there are few places more tropical and relaxing, and it’s the perfect spot to meet for coffee, lunch, or grab your laptop and while away the day working – without being bothered or made to feel time-pressed. Well-dressed visitors, either in casual gear or Lululemon, congregate in the comfy outdoor courtyard, centred around a large mango tree, or in the bright and airy cafe- which has floor-to-ceiling windows. Naturally, the matcha is excellent, but the food is sublime – merging comfort-food classics with Japanese accents to deliver a menu that features everything from acai bowls and shrimp salads to sandos and wagyu burgers. Come again and again for breakfast, coffee, co-working and even casual dinners – this is a truly spectacular neighbour and destination haunt.
What’s the vibe?
Relaxed and friendly, yet elevated and chic. Stepping in, you’ll feel transported out of Al Quoz to a tropical hangout, with good-looking groups on the padel courts, friends nattering over matcha and smoothies post-match – or post-yoga – and the city’s creative crowd hiding away with their laptops. The indoor-outdoor feeling merges into one, so even sitting inside (in summer) feels fresh, sunlit and outdoorsy, and the seating area overlooks the padel courts and foliage – with not a dusty warehouse, road or car in sight. Staff are wonderful, truly, and will be as attentive as you need – whether that’s coffee on tap or leaving you be to complete a project or meeting. For anyone visiting post-padel or yoga, there’s a fantastic changing room equipped with showers and products and a chic aesthetic – fully fitting in the vibe of the space.
Nette is located at The Matcha Club Dubai, a popular spot for padel and yoga with an affluent, cool crowd. Its location is perfect for cross-city meet-ups – as this reviewer (a north Dubai dweller) finds herself returning time and time again for meet with southern as the perfect ‘in-between spot’. There’s RTA parking outside, plus plenty of Al Quoz lanes to pop down if you can’t find a space, and other top hangouts lie Alserkal Avenue, UAE artisan chocolatiers Mirzam Chocolate Makers and The Courtyard are all just a short drive away.
The food and drink
True to the club’s name, and the overall vibe and aesthetic, Nette serves healthy and wholesome dishes with an injection of Japanese flair, and the breakfast, lunch, dinner and beverages menu is totally sublime. For breakfast, there are unique creations like the Japanese breakfast skillet with miso dressing, strawberry matcha acai bowl, matcha overnight oats and Japanese avo toast (plus indulgent miso Benedicts and egg Sandos), with a yuzu and roasted sesame twist, washed down with organic ceremonial grade matcha (iced, hot, cold brew), coffee to delight the fussiest drinker and healthy juices and smoothies. Lunchtime follows the same, with light options like a smoked salmon salad with yuzu prawns, Asian prawn, avocado and orange salad and Japanese miso eggplant, plus, in a delightful curveball, a decadent wagyu burger with fries and miso braised beef French dip sandwich. Desserts are a must – even to just take away – with Japanese twists on classics like matcha pain perdu, yuzu cheesecake, and Japanese creme brulee buttermilk pancakes.