Close, But No Cronut.


I love doughnuts, and shamelessly so. There’s nothing ethnic, hole-in-the-wall, or quirky about them – but they’re sweet, deep-fried and squishy enough to be utterly lovable. The Boston Crème doughnut from Dunkin has been my fritter of choice since I can first remember sinking my teeth into a tender custardy cushion glistening with melted chocolate. The cinnamon-flecked Coffee Roll ties for second place with the cream-filled Bavarian, the latter being perfect for that blatant binge which leaves your lips snowy white with the kiss of powdered sugar. The original glazed from Krispy Kreme comes in at third place, only when picked piping hot and fresh off of the doughnut conveyor belt (something that KK shops in Dubai once had, until they caved into the box-and-go format).

Cronuts are the next big doughnut fad, invented and trademarked by Dominique Ansel in New York when he conceived a doughnut-shaped fritter with the flaky layered insides of a croissant. If that wasn’t naughty enough, those insides also oozed out a heavenly light Tahitian vanilla cream. The whole deep-fried flaky cream-oozing operation sounds really over-the-top, but my sense is that the execution was refined and delicate enough where it’s just not the same as stuffing your face with one of those warped hybrids from Pizza Hut (remember the crown crust cheese burger pizza invasion? Shudder.) Please read Cronut 101 and the art of enjoying a cronut to fully appreciate my point.

And even if it wasn’t refined and delicate, I’ll admit that the doughnut-loving damsel in me would still have to have a taste. But sadly, New York isn’t next door.

Now before you continue reading this post, I beseech you to view a cross-sectional photograph of the Cronut on Serious Eats. If like me, you haven’t tried the real deal, you will at least be wiser about what to expect if Dubai attempts to do a copycat version. Which of course, it already has.

A sweet angel on a recent food tour tipped me off about a café in Uptown Mirdif that sells cronuts. With its exposed ceilings and walls painted in a soothing sunbathed tones, Yellow Mellow attempts to display a sort of personal character which evades most mass-market coffee chains. It is exactly the sort of place I can see myself hiding away, curled up with a book and coffee on one of their psychadelically upholstered chairs when my email inbox becomes too hairy-scary to deal with.

Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

Mellow Yellow serves two kinds of cronuts, one glazed with chocolate and piped with coffee cream on the insides, while the other combines a cinnamon glaze and mango cream filling. I picked the former, which emerged as this pudgy scone type structure with the appropriately tantalizing chocolate drip-over down the edges.

The UNcronut- Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

The insides were the critical test of this cronut copycat. And while I’ve never had Ansel’s original version, I’m disappointed to say that this cronut…failed. It was far from the flaky, angelically delicate fritter that I had psyched myself up to expect. Instead of flakes, I got a spongy mass of dry-ish mediocre cake.

The UNcronut- Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

The only redeeming factor in this un-croissant cronut was the coffee cream and melted chocolate, only because those melty substances almost have the power to redeem even the most cardboard-like of culinary creations. Almost.

The UNcronut- Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

All is not lost though. Mellow Yellow’s core baked competence is actually their ‘choose-your-own’ cupcakes. I usually steer away from cupcakes because we’ve had a glut of subpar, over-iced and unspectacular ones flood the local market. But a fill-your-own cupcake deserves at least one chance.

Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

My chosen combination: A vanilla cupcake whose core was piped with a white chocolate ganache and swirled with raspberry icing. Had Mellow Yellow not run out of the childishly playful vanilla pop rock candy, those would have found a place on my cupcake too.

White Chocolate Ganache being filled in cupcake - Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai Raspberry White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcake - Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai The result? A bearable cupcake. Small enough where you can consume it in three to four mid-sized bites, each bite moistened with a melted white chocolate filling that tasted more sour cream-ish than white-chocolaty…potentially because I tasted it at home after the cupcake had been left out for about 2 hours?

Raspberry White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcake - Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

The icing was not one of those over-sugared clumps that you need to chip away from the cupcake, but a lighter creamier one with the grain of real raspberries and the mild sour tinge of softened cream cheese. Yellow Mellow definitely wins cupcake points for taking the trouble to core out a cupcake and pipe its insides with gooey fill-in’s. And cream cheese rather than buttercream icing always stands a better chance in my dessert books.

Raspberry White Chocolate Vanilla Cupcake - Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

If not for:

(a)  the hefty price tag of AED 15.00 for my self-inflicted cupcake,

(b)  an icing that laughably costs a dirham more than the cupcake itself (AED 7.00 vs. AED 6.00 respectively. darn those raspberries.), and

(c)  the fact that I’d crave a banana before I’d ever crave a cupcake,

I’d go so far as to say that were I to ever find myself in a situation where the world would fall apart without a cupcake at its helm, then the drive to Mirdif might be in order.

Also, true its name, I’d beseech Mellow Yellow to offer a lemon cupcake, a lemon curd filling, lemon icing and candied bits of lemon rind on their DIY cupcake menu. I strongly believe that having lemon in a cupcake – not all of the above ingredients in the same collective cupcake being, but a selection of any two – has the power to convert even the most apathetic of cupcake atheists.

Mellow Yellow Cafe - Mirdif Dubai

Mellow Yellow
Uptown Mirdiff (in the semi-circle facing the main road)
Phone: 04-2591500
Facebook page:

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

7 thoughts on “Close, But No Cronut.

  1. Keren Bobker says:

    You aren’t the only one who is so over cupcakes! Maple Leaf Deli on the Beach Road has started offering Kronuts (their spelling) and the one I tasted earlier this week wasn’t bad. Hot from the fryer and dusted with cinammon and powdered sugar. Perhaps a tad on the greasy side, but had fluffy layers in the inside. I think they also offer a version with dulce de leche but that seemed a little too decadent even for me!

    1. Arva says:

      Great info Keren, gotta make my way out to Maple Leaf even though I dread JBR traffic like the plague…

    2. Devina Divecha says:

      Not much traffic on the beach road actually, and Maple Leaf is in a quiet area (this is before Burj Al Arab coming from your side of town, not to be confused with the sports-car laden area of JBR). I haven’t had their cronuts yet but I am definitely a regular customer (which is all I can say within my limits ;)).

  2. FooDiva says:

    I would heard of this cafe so am glad you’ve saved me the trek! I am so into the cronut fad – a chef at ADNEC made these and like you I have not tasted the original but oh my they have replaced doughnuts and cup cakes as my new sweet treat :)

    1. Arva says:

      You lucky queen you! We need the ADNEC chef to sell these flaky babies in Dubai…

  3. Noor.S says:

    Visited Mellow Yellow today. Amazzzzing light fluffy cupcakes. I actually had 2. The frosting is actually made out of cream cheese which I think is a good change from the usual heavy butter cream frosting that makes me feel sick everytime. Cronuts were not the original but not a bad approach to a healthy baked version. Amazing fresh cream. Disagree with naming it Cronut though. All in all, a great experience … would definitely come back !

    1. Arva says:

      Agree on most counts Noor. Decent cupcakes, disappointing cronuts…glad you went there for a taste trial!

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