Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dubai Restaurant Review: Madeleine Cafe, Dubai Mall

In a nutshell: Great location near the Dubai Fountain, good sandwiches but lukewarm 'hot' food plus service was hit and miss

Madeleine Cafe is laid out exactly like a French cafe would be, except this cafe looks over the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain. Views of the fountain display from here are perfect since you can see the entire spectacle - much better than from Souk Al Bahar where the view can be limited. The outside terrace is bigger than the inside area, which is great in the winter but must drastically reduce their revenue in the summer when the outside won't be used. I liked the look of the menu which offers salads, sandwiches, wholemeal savoury crepes and hot dishes. I also liked the prices - Dhs 36 for a sandwich and Dhs 62 for my duck (confit de canard) which I thought were very reasonable. We found some of the staff efficient and friendly, but others were far less so and certain members of the team seemed to have forgotten how to smile.

We were served a basket of toasted French bread. I always think it's a bad sign when you're served toasted bread since it is almost a certainty the toasting has been used to disguise the fact the bread is stale...and that was just the case here. While it was hot it was fine but once it went cold you could taste that it was completely stale. Not acceptable in a French cafe!

My Mum's chicken sandwich was very nicely presented with the baguette cut into small sections to make it easier to eat - a great idea. Sadly her chips were a little cold so it wasn't surprising then that my confit de canard was all a little cold. Maybe because they used cold plates (although you couldn't put a sandwich and salad on a hot plate) or perhaps it had been plated up and then sat in the kitchen waiting to be brought to us for a while. Using a plastic food cover might help to retain the heat during transfer from kitchen to table - they need to figure something out anyway.

I had specifically requested no garlic or black pepper and when the waiter put down my plate he reiterated that there was no garlic or black pepper. However, he hadn't bothered to actually look at it since the beans were covered in pepper! I called him over and asked him to bring me a dish of beans without pepper and there was no apology, more of a resigned sort of 'whatever' shrug. The duck and roast potatoes were fine (although the duck skin had not been crispened up) but I've had a better confit de canard in Shakespeare's Cafe.

For a cake and coffee watching the water display, this is a great place to go. Even for a sandwich, my Mum said it was really tasty. Don't go here for a main meal though or if you have been warned.


  1. Is this anything to do with Bistro Madeleine at the Intercon I wonder - or just a similar name. My experience of eating there has been very good - especially a fabulous croque monsieur. It would be good to combine something like that with the view of the fountains.

  2. Thanks, Sally. Not sure if they're affiliated but I will have to try the Intercon one now!

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  6. I would love to be in that restaurant eating my lunch while watching fast cars racing around the city.

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