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This New Café in Abu Dhabi is Fusing Food, Flowers, and Community

A new concept arrives in Abu Dhabi. Flowers merge with food and community into one multipurpose space

Nisreen Bajis

There is something almost romantic about cafés – quiet music, a book in hand, an outburst of laughter from a corner, or wistful glances on the way out the door. That is the energy that Nisreen Bajis sought to capture when she created Mysk – and what better way to add romance than with flowers? The innovative concept café, which opened earlier this year in February, fuses food, flowers, and community to bring a distinctively enjoyable experience to Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. “Mysk is a journey in human connection through the sharing of great food, exceptional coffee, and wild and off-beat floral arrangements,” says Bajis, a Palestinian lawyer turned restaurateur determined to redefine the culinary and communal experience in the city.

Photo: Courtesy of Mysk

The café’s menu is a reflection of the modern culinary zeitgeist and is bursting with flavors from around the world, an ode to the diverse nature of Abu Dhabi. From breakfast favorites including French toast and crispy corn fritters, to delectable offerings like the Vietnamese chicken bao or the pulled beef shawarma tacos, each dish is inspired by either a Levantine, Mediterranean, or an Asian ingredient. Everything offered is produced in-house by a team of expert chefs, bakers, and pâtissiers. Meanwhile, a stainless steel counter features accompanying bites to the morning’s coffee – raspberry cruffins, Boston cream donuts, and Mysk’s signature cardamom Swedish buns. Throughout the Holy Month, an array of Ramadan treats were on offer at the café, from zaatar tahini caramel treats and date mamoul cigars to the classic umm ali and the South Asian favorite, Punjabi samosa.

Photo: Courtesy of Mysk

Inside Mysk, visitors’ attention is caught by the bright orange flower counter, overflowing with eclectic and untamed arrangements. While the flowers capture curiosity, the interiors of the café are equally alluring. As Bajis states, “The energy created by our high exposed ceilings, whitewashed walls, and cozy lounge area adorned by original Afghan rugs emanates with the promise of a good meal and a great encounter.” Artworks hung on walls include a bespoke piece by Palestinian-Italian artist Hazem Harb, who explores the relationships between place and time. From the communal dining area to the founder’s commitment towards building a space for human connection, Mysk is a dynamic addition to Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning café culture. Bajis smiles, “Mysk is an egalitarian space where everyone is welcome.”

Originally published in the June 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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