The Uncommon: Sharjah's stunning mirrored desert pop-up cafe opens

Owner Fawagee Almana says it’s been designed to reflect and highlight the natural beauty of the UAE

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There’s nothing common about new desert dining destination The Uncommon.

The space, which popped up seemingly overnight by the Mahafiz-Al Fayah road in Sharjah, is still in its soft opening phase, but that hasn't stopped pictures of it from going viral.

The reason why the cafe is taking social media by storm has a lot to do with its unique design. The exterior of the space is done up with mirrors, reflecting the desert background it is set within. In front of it, there are several tables and chairs set up for those wanting to relax, grab a cuppa and take pictures.

A blue sky ice latte at The Uncommon coffee shop on Mahafiz-Al Fayah road in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National

The inspiration for the space came from The Invisible House, a mirror-clad house that was designed to reflect its surroundings in California, says Fawagee Almana, 25, owner of The Uncommon.

“I had heard about the concept before and thought it would work very well in a place such as Mleiha,” she says. “I’ve always had an interest in speciality coffee. It’s been a dream of mine to open my own place. And winter is my favourite season. So why not open something in the middle of the desert?”

In keeping with the ethos, the venue has been designed so people can interact with and enjoy the mirrors. The only entrance and exit is at the back, so that “operations don’t interfere with the beauty of the place”.

“I wanted the mirrors to reflect and highlight the natural beauty of the country. I didn’t want anything average. It was about going big or going home.”

For those heading to the venue, there’s a wide variety of speciality coffee from lattes to V60. Expect some unusual drinks on the menu as well, including a blue sky, a blue coffee-based drink, and a red velvet latte for those with a sweet tooth. Also on the menu are baked goods and other small bites.

There are plans to expand on the menu in the future, too, says Almana.

“We’re good for now. We’re still in our soft opening phase, the grand opening will be at the end of the month,” says Almana, who was surprised that the place went viral so quickly.

As with all desert pop-ups in the UAE, such as One Degree on the Dubai-Sharjah border, The Uncommon will only stay in that specific location during the winter.

“But this not the end of The Uncommon,” says Almana. “This is just the beginning.”

The Uncommon is open daily; 4pm to 1am; Sharjah; Instagram: @theuncommon.ae

Updated: January 10, 2022, 12:47 PM
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