With a sense of nostalgia and well-known to almost every Maldivian, Seagull Café has been in operation for over two decades and the thatched roofs and sandy garden are things synonymous with the café ever since its beginnings. With its long history, its focus is still unwavering; keeping up with the times, serving fresh healthy food, having a welcoming environment for all our guests.
The cafe was initially operated under the name of Gabbiano in the early 1990s. Seagull Group acquired it in 1994 and since then, it is one of the main go-to points for locals looking for a good time. And in recent years, I couldn’t help but notice as a local, that the café, has gained a reputation among several tourists looking for culinary delights due to its proximity to some of the main tourist attractions of the city.
Having recently celebrated its 25-year-anniversary, I still managed to recognise remnants of the café’s beginnings as soon as I stepped inside. It was something that truly gave the café a sense of calm and a welcoming vibe. It made my visit even more intriguing for me.
The very beginnings, easily spottable throughout the café showed me the importance of maintaining its origins and nostalgia for the figures behind the café. From the prominent old tree rising from the middle of the café and up to its rafters, to the sandy outdoor area, I was impressed with the sacrifices made by the café to maintain its original aesthetics.
Aiming to provide a relaxed and comfy environment for visitors to meet their friends and have casual conversations over good coffee and food, Seagull Café is renowned for the ambient atmosphere it provides. Well organised and spacious areas with comfortable seats in the charming fresh air environment are one of the most striking points of the café.
Speaking to the manager of the café, Themantha Konara, it was evident that the café had a huge number of loyal customers. I was informed that the menus and the setting of the café had been purposefully designed to appeal to these customers who have formed a love for the café and its food over the years.
“There are two key things I need to ensure in our business. They are quality and service. It is also important to maintain a clean and customer-friendly environment. In order to deliver best I always need to keep my staff happy and their morale at the top,” said Konara.
People from all ages were present at the café during my visit and it dawned on me that the care staff showed to the customers was something that came naturally to them. Konara also stressed that the café took the requests and suggestions of its customers extremely seriously and that the introduction of the new menu on its 25-year-anniversary was a testament to this.
In order to accommodate the different requests of the guests, the café always keeps a keen lookout for new and fresh upcoming trends of the industry and even has specialities for separate days of the week and speciality weeks. If you ask any local, where you can get the best ice cream in the city, Seagull Café is sure to be one of the first names that will come to their lips. I was told that the secret behind this amazing ice cream is because the café takes particular care in sourcing the raw materials for its ice cream. All of the raw materials are sourced from Italy while the production process is carried out in the café itself, resulting in a final product that is extremely fresh and appealing.
With the introduction of the new menu of the consisting of healthy dishes focused on the trends of today, Seagull Café has shown just how seriously it takes health factors. Initially, what started as a cherished meeting point for friends, family and loved ones to relax in the presence of tasty food, has kept up with the trends of the day and turned into a place for health-conscious people to frequent as well.
The coffee at Seagull Café is also a must try for visitors, and if you want to test the skills of the kitchen hierarchy of the café; salads, smoothie bowls and vegan bowls introduced with the new menu and the salads were the go-to speciality options recommended by Konara during my brief chat with him. With over 30 staff, the café has a diverse and experienced team in the kitchen from different nationalities. The head chef of the café has been with the establishment for almost seven years.
As one of the few outlets in the country that ensures that most of its raw materials are grown in the country with its very own island specialised for cultivation and production of the raw materials such as lettuce and herbs, Seagull Café has also made a commitment to completely outgrow the use of single-use plastics and transformed itself into an environmentally conscious café.
A visit to the Seagull Café, as one of the charming places in the country, should not be overlooked when on a tour of the capital Malé City. The appealing atmosphere, the good food and the inert attention to the origins of the café, make the outlet an intriguing point of the city. And as the years keep passing, it is fair to assume that the café will only get better with time and maintain its special place in the hearts of locals.