Coffee on the Champs Élysées (or the closest thing to it in Dubai)

On a lazy Friday we decided to avoid the bubbly brunches at the big hotels and instead we went to Café Madeleine at the Dubai Mall for some of our favourite Parisian activities; drinking coffee and people watching. 


Let’s get the mission summary out of the way up front.  The people watching (in the Fashion Avenue) and the coffee were the best in town!  Although I did have to sit through a long and tedious description of what café crème was in order to be allowed to order it.  It was like a warning – Beware this coffee is good.

Having said all of that I was a little off-put by the fact that the bottled water was “Hildon” from the UK.  I guess it’s possible that they had difficulty sourcing French water like Vittel, Volvic, Evian, Perrier, Badoit…

The Space  Café Madeleine looks like a French café should – plain and simple.  The terrace appears to be popular, and for good reason, as it overlooks the water show at Burj Khalifa.

The Food  For starters I ordered the goat cheese salad and Roula had the Lyonnaise salad.  The goat cheese was breaded in panko, fried to a crispy golden brown and served with a lovely rocket salad.  This dish was a hit!  Unfortunately Roula’s dish was not.  The Lyonnaise sounded great on the menu; frissee and baby spinach with sausage and poached egg – decadent.  We would never have guessed that the sausage pieces and the egg would be served COLD!  Who serves a refrigerated poached egg?  It’s ridiculous.  We spent the entire appetizer period wondering if it was a mistake.  I finally had to ask the staff to confirm whether the egg and sausage were supposed to be cold or if there had been a mistake in the kitchen.  There was some confusion among the staff at first, but it turns out the mistake is in the recipe which calls for them to be cold.

We tried to put that behind us as we prepared ourselves for the main course.  I had an open-faced tuna salad sandwich au gratin and Roula had smoked turkey and cheese crepe.  We were a little apprehensive about the crepe because it came with a fried egg on top, but were pleased to find the whole dish steaming hot.  In fact the combination of smoked turkey, cheese, béchamel, crepe, and fried egg was the lovely, decadent, gooey pleasure you would expect it to be.  After sharing some of this crepe I will need to put in an extra session with my trainer Kosta to work off the fat.  That’s not to say it was perfect, but it was very good and worth ordering a second time.  The tuna sandwich was well executed, with added basil making the whole dish aromatic.

The portions are generous so perhaps skip the appetizers and go straight for the mains.  Overall, great value for the money in food, ambiance and people watching.

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