To get the best out of Hapi, I recommend you do the following before visiting.
- Read Tom Rath’s bestseller, Eat, Move, Sleep
- Watch the master of movement, Ido Portal’s videos on YouTube.
- Then watch Matty Matheson also on YouTube.
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to understand what Hapi is about a little more. For the very few of you that haven’t followed the instructions, let me explain it to you.
A warehouse in the achingly hip Alserkal Avenue, in Al Quoz, is home to Hapi.
Hapi has a parkour playground – because if you find yourself accidentally hanging off a cliff by your fingertips, you’ll want to be able to pull yourself up.
Hapi has studios upstairs for yoga– because you need somewhere to practice your downward facing dogs, so you don’t look like a fool on Instagram.
And finally, Hapi has a place to eat – because nothing in Dubai is complete without an F&B space.
Hapi is a labour of love for Paul Frangie, who has wanted to make people Hapi for years and years – This has been a project that has been simmering and stewing away like a magic potion for the longest time. The recipe, it appears, is complete. Hapi is ultimately a mind-set, a movement for movement. It is a centre for human energy, a space for internal improvement and a place that serves burgers.
However, make no mistake – I was there for the food.
Hapi’s restaurant is minimalistic with no frills and no instructions on how to use it. Much like a new iPhone, there is an expectation that you know intuitively what to do with it, straight out the box. Line up, place your order, find a seat and then collect your food when it’s ready. In the industry, we call that a Fast Casual service model. For me, it wasn’t an issue, because I am an expert at restaurants and intuitively know how they work. Ha.
However, there is one glaring error that I am sure will be resolved soon. The only menu available is on a clipboard at the front of the counter. I never realised how much a menu reduces anxiety and stress until you aren’t allowed one. Standing in that queue, waiting to order – without any insight or knowledge of what is to come – was grossly uncomfortable. It was terrifying – either provide more menus or have some specially trained comfort dogs to come and sit with you to help calm your nerves afterward. Menus or comfort dogs – it is a simple choice.
At the front of the queue, you are finally given access to the menu, like it’s the original Declaration of Independence. However, your time with it is fleeting – there is pressure to order, and you can feel the fear and discomfort from the people behind you. I rushed through the menu – and jokes aside – it’s an excellent menu.
It is simple, with no fancy descriptions or unnecessary hipster speak. Organic bone broth, (the new Paleo Superfood), grass fed rib eye, hot smoked salmon, charcoal chicken and on Fridays they do a BBQ burger and hot dog. The sides are simple and clean – beetroot, herb salad, grilled vegetables. Need carbs? They serve mashed potato, sweet potato wedges, and coconut rice as well. They also do breakfast and have a good coffee and ice cream range too.
We ordered the grass-fed burger and the hot dog, with a Mexican Coke (a cola) and an iced tea. We took our receipt and found a seat. The Serb asked what was so special about the Mexican cola. I helpfully explained that it was from Mexico. In truth, it is something about being made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup and helps promotes healthy hipster beard growth. Or something like that. The Serb shrugged and said the bottle was pretty.
The restaurant seats about 40 people and was full when we were there. To the credit of Paul and his kitchen team, the food was ready quickly. I took my ticket and went to get our order, with the excitement of a kid on a Mexican cane sugar rush.
The food can best be described as sophisticated dude food. Served on industrial sheet trays lined with wax paper, there is no fancy presentation. The hot dog was a good size, the sausage cut into pieces and loaded into the bread. It was a well-flavoured sausage with an excellent red sauce and covered with shredded iceberg lettuce. My only gripe would be that they could warm the bread a little. #firstworldproblems
The burger was equally as good – thankfully, there was no attempt to re-invent it or over complicate it. The patty had a good thickness and was cooked to the correct temperature, and it had great texture and flavour. It was so good the Serb almost forgot to leave me a bite. It came with several large chunks of oven baked sweet potato and a splodge of red sauce – a home-made ketchup equivalent.
Paul has understood that there is a demographic in Dubai that appreciates the importance of healthy mind, body, and spirit and he’s only gone and built a place for them to hang out in. More power to him. If you’re going for the full experience, I suggest you do the parkour before eating a hot dog and drinking a Mexican Coke. The other way round could be regrettable.
I suggest you find an excuse to stop by for some decent food with reasonable pricing. In fact, scratch that – there’s no need for an excuse.
(Image Credit:- Timeout Dubai.)