Emma Sawko hadn’t planned on getting into the restaurant business. Fate had other plans. A regular at New York City’s juice bars and health-focused eateries, she moved to Dubai in 2010. A dearth of vegan, organic and plant-based restaurants in the UAE back then led to the launch of her first establishment, Comptoir102. “People told me it wouldn’t work, that I needed to put some sodas on the menu and that I couldn’t offer sugar-free dishes. I was adamant – either I do it the way I want, or I don’t do it,” explains Emma. Comptoir102’s success, buoyed by a growing interest in plant-based eating, encouraged her to create Wild & the Moon.
This successful chain crafts dishes and drinks from gluten-free, natural, plant-based and locally-sourced ingredients as far as possible. “All our nut mylks are homemade. There’s nothing artificial in any of our food,” says Emma. “We slow cook to avoid the loss of nutrients caused by preparing food at high temperatures.” Emma says many of the recipes were her mother’s and grandmother’s, and include home remedies that are great for alleviating headaches or aiding in digestion.
Wild & the Moon’s interiors reflect its clean eating philosophy. The white walls are offset by plenty of greenery from potted plants, which soothe the dining area. Shelves are lined with cookbooks and the brand’s own products such as dehydrated kale chips, raw granola and superfoods, adding to the laidback, homely vibe.
The signature Golden Latte is soothing with its blend of turmeric, in-house chai spice mix and nutritious almond mylk. For a filling meal, opt for the vegan Bolognese. Instead of using traditional spaghetti, this dish features an alternative made from the edible root of the konjac plant, and a deconstructed ‘ragu’ prepared from tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery and eggplant with select condiments and spices. It is rounded off with a sprinkling of vegan Parmesan. You could try one of the super bowls – the Earth bowl is one you won’t regret! – which are packed with healthy fats, vegan proteins and antioxidants. For dessert, Emma’s favourite – a blueberry scone with vanilla cashew cream – is a worthy choice. Made from blueberries, coconut and almond mylk, this is a simple yet comforting treat that brings forth pleasant childhood memories.
In short, if you want clean, healthy unadulterated food, bursting with flavour and freshness, head to Wild & the Moon.