Coffee is something that we take very seriously. It sustains us through long workdays, revives us when we need a boost, and relaxes us when weekends roll around. So, it goes without saying, we treat it with reverence and the utmost respect.
A visit to NAF in Arkan Plaza was an opportunity to sample a couple of the brews available, and also to learn more firsthand from owner Ahmed Hussam Nafee about the science behind making a perfect cup.
His journey to Italy some 18 years ago to secure the distributor license for leading brand Lavazza was spurred by the lack of authentic freshly roasted and ground coffee in the market. Thanks to his passion and determination, we now have a superb range of exceptional coffees of single original and delicately balanced Lavazza blends to meet our cravings.
What is offered: Coffee, at its best, with a well-curated selection of sandwiches, croissants, salads and decadent cakes. (Word has it that the chocolate cake is to die for.)
What We Sampled
This was serious business. Forget about our usual lashings of frothy milk or heaps of sugar (this time around, at least). We wanted to let the coffee sing with its layers of flavors and special notes. So, sipping delicately, our first espresso of choice was a Brazilian single origin.
Being morning, we were craving a brew with depth and enough punch to kick-start our day. And the robust bursts of the Brasile Tierra blend did just that. Selected Arabica beans from three different Brazilian locales, each with their own distinct characteristics, resulted in smooth notes of dark chocolate, sugar cane and hazelnuts.
Enjoyable straight up, we could also envision it as a base for our more indulgent milky choices, and were sure that the flavors would still shine through. Munching on a buttery croissant, we couldn’t resist a little extra caffeine in the form of the house signature Nafee Turkish coffee, served in a simple dainty glass mug to allow us to enjoy the natural layering of the brew as we sipped. Fueled up for the day, we had to stop there.
Other Options Available
The full selection would take some serious exploration, but we will definitely be back to sample some of the single-origin coffees, as well as the aromatic Tierra Selection and lighter Tierra Colombia blends. And a couple of cold slow-drip brews as well, to go.
We wouldn’t forgo trying the tempting, creative salads and generous sandwiches. You can’t beat the appeal of fresh home-baked bread, can you?
Beverages: Apart from the huge range of frappes and innovative hot coffees, NAF offers tea and fresh juices.
Décor and Ambiance
Chic and understated, with an impressive state-of-the-art roasting machine, titanium-bladed grinding equipment and coffee-making tools. Grey, beige, natural wood and coarse linen fabric dominate, bringing a subtle coziness to the ambiance. We also loved the addition of the chair neatly upholstered in coffee bean sacking, it added a quirky and personal touch.
Nicely positioned in one of the best spots in Arkan, with open views over a spacious flowery terrace, NAF enjoys a gentle, relaxing breeze throughout its outdoor seating area. The interior seating is equally as pleasant, with well-spaced seating and spotless tables bearing hand sanitizer.
Social distancing and hygiene standards: Impressive. We felt totally at ease and staff seemed very aware of the protocols in place.
NAF delivers packaged ground coffee to locations within Sheikh Zayed and 6th Oct, an increasing popular option as customers are starting to want an elevated coffee experience at home as well. Welcome to the world of Chemex, V60 and Aeropress!
NAF will also happily arrange for curbside pickup of your morning coffee outside Arkan Plaza, starting from 6 am. Now, that is what we call service!
Another Hot Tip
Coffee addicts and newbies can attend special courses at NAF to learn more about the roasting and grinding techniques and processes, the cultivation and history of coffee around the globe, the art of blending, as well as sampling the blends through ‘cupping’.
Clientele mix: Urban professionals, media and cinema personalities, a sophisticated crowd who knows what it likes, and where to find it.
Price range: Moderate.
Opening hours: 6 am to 11 pm. If you go early enough you can enjoy the aroma of the day’s coffee being roasted.
Address: Arkan Plaza, front terrace garden area beneath HSBC.
Tel: 0114 414 8301