Located at The Walk JBR, Saladicious Deli is an extension of the flagship restaurant Saladicious, which opened on Jumeirah Road seven years ago. In its second branch, Saladicious Deli builds on its philosophy of serving up healthy homemade gourmet meals and shares the products and produce they incorporate into their dishes with their clientele.
Walking into the bright and breathy interiors I am greeted by friendly faces and invited to peruse the organic produce and delicacies displayed in the wooden shelves lining the walls. Saladicious Deli offers a fine selection of olive and truffle oils, balsamic vinegars, orange blossom and rose waters, organic teas, jams and honeys, pasta sauces as well as rice, spelt and hand-crafted pasta from countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Lebanon.
Continuing on, I examine the fresh vegetables and fruits on display, all of which are home-grown on the restaurant owners’ local farm, guaranteeing that foods are organic, pesticide-free and full of flavor. This farm-to-table approach ensures the quality Saladicious strives for, appealing to both health-conscious and eco-friendly customers. Also on display, are black and white sesame bagels, plain and multi-cereal breads, oregano and Parmesan baguettes, and brioches – all of which are homemade and available for purchase.
The interiors of the restaurant are quaint and contemporary with wooden tables surrounded by a combination of Perspex chairs and seats upholstered in graphic sketch prints, a whimsical nuance. The combination of warm peach-toned brick walls and parquet laminate flooring is balanced by stained concrete resin flooring and uncovered concrete walls, adding an industrial feel to the light and airy space.
Saladicious Deli’s glass facade offers visual continuity onto The Walk, the al-fresco seating and the beach. A refrigerated counter displaying baked goods, desserts, pastas, lasagnas and side salads separates the downstairs seating area from the open kitchen where a group of chefs can be seen cooking up the latest meals.
Banquette seating lines the checker painted walls of the second level, which contains the bar and a boho-chic lounge-style seating area in a variety of colors and textures, great for a casual outing with friends. The relaxing ambience and free Wi-Fi service makes the restaurant a perfect location for working and enjoying a light meal.
Renowned for its versatile menu, Saladicious Deli specializes in light nutritious salads, soups and sandwiches in addition to its gourmet dishes of steaks, pastas, risottos and paellas. All the recipes are created by a team of Venezuelan chefs that fuse together Mediterranean flavors with Middle Eastern, Indian, Spanish and Japanese influences.
The chefs at Saladicious adapt the flavors of their dishes with the tastes of their clientele ensuring they have a pleasurable and satisfying experience. Adding a Venezuelan twist to their meals, it is not uncommon to find fruits and caramelized nuts infused into both sweet and savory dishes.
Inviting diners to contribute to their own experience, clients are encouraged to choose which ingredients they would like to include in their salads which range from the Caprese Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad to the Salmon Carpaccio and the Crab Salad.
Customers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the Deli’s sandwiches, with a selection of 31 different kinds, ranging from comforting classics such as the BLT and PB&J to the more varied Salmon and Mango Bruschetta. Clients are free to choose which of the freshly baked breads they prefer for their sandwiches, and which serving of the six side orders of salads, slaws and pastas they would like to indulge on.
The Deli also serves an all day breakfast menu with a variety of choices from scrambled and poached eggs, omelets, crepes, bagels, pancakes and so much more. The breakfast menu also features a "Trust the Chef" dish for the more daring client, adding an element of surprise and allowing the chefs to think on their feet to whip up an inventive dish. After Ramadan, customers can expect the chefs to rev up the abbreviated menu to include more signature dishes.
The proprietors and chefs at Saladicious Deli also share recipes with their clients, encouraging them to cook meals from their menu and get creative in their own kitchens. The restaurant also boasts a takeout and canapé and catering service.
Sitting at the large dining table in the center of the restaurant I am excited to try out the fresh salads the deli is celebrated for. I go for the Temptation Salad, the restaurant’s signature dish, one that is representative of Venezuelan cuisine. I watch curiously as the chefs work together to prepare the salad, an inherent camaraderie felt between them. The dish is ready in a matter of minutes.
The Temptation Salad consists of an assortment of leafy greens, mandarins, strawberries, potatoes and caramelized walnuts topped with generous servings of grilled Brie. The sweetness of the fruits are balanced by the leafy greens and potatoes, and lightened further by the mild flavor of the soft, creamy Brie cheese. Caramelized walnuts add richness to the salad, complementing the lively taste of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and the sweetness of the almond and apricot tinged syrup.
Next, I sample the wide selection of side orders, feasting on a plethora of cold pasta, salads and coleslaws. I have small helpings each of a combination chicken, apple and potato salad, an all bean salad, red and white cabbage coleslaw, an Italian inspired couscous salad with pesto, pine seeds, olives and sun dried tomatoes, a corn salad with a Philippino twist, a tuna salad with colorful capsicum and light mayonnaise dressing, and a pesto pasta salad balanced with pine and cashew nuts.
Moving onto the dessert menu, I am tempted to taste the infamous Nutella Pie, and I am encouraged to try the cheesecake both with a Venezuelan twist from secret ingredients the chef does not consent to divulge. The desserts arrive shortly, and I begin with the cheesecake served with two choices of homemade blueberry and strawberry marmalades. The cheesecake is smooth and light, flavored further by the sweet and tangy marmalades.
I finish my meal with the greatest of guilty pleasures, a heavenly taste of the Nutella Pie, which was served with a cookie crust and a creamy Nutella topping, and decoratively glazed with dark chocolate syrup. The chef jokingly highlighted the Nutella Pie’s power over their clients, pointing out the instantaneous rush of elation, evident on my smiling face!
I leave Saladicious Deli, knowing I will come back again to savor all the comforts of a home cooked meal that is fresh, light, healthy and delicious, in a pleasant and relaxing ambience.
Saladicious Deli is located at The Walk at JBR, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 423 0855, 800-SALAD (72523). For more information visit www.saladicious.com/deli
– Nadine Fattouh