Le Pain Quotidien @ Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

September 24, 2015

Founded in Brussels nearly 25 years ago, the Le Pain Quotidien brand of bakery-restaurants has spread across the globe, from New York to London, Mexico City to Mumbai to Moscow, Istanbul to Tokyo to Sydney. Its outpost in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates is a fiercely popular lunchtime spot; if you succeed in securing a table, you'll be fast rewarded as a friendly server comes around with complimentary bread & a sampling of spreads, from speculoos cookie butter to sun-dried tomato paste. 

With a menu this extensive, there are bound to be both hits & misses - we'd ecstatically endorse the thick, steaming-hot lentil soup & the creamy, chilled chia seed porridge with oranges, yoghurt & honey, as well as the tartine topped with grilled shrimp, guacamole & parmesan. The Angler Brunch surfaces as a satisfyingly hearty platter of smoked salmon & soft-boiled egg with with croissant, baguette & granola parfait, while the scrambled organic eggs come spiced with harissa, capsicum & tomatoes. Pumpkin soup proves encouragingly well-tuned in both taste & texture, while salmon is paired with quinoa risotto that's pretty punchy in flavour. We'd probably skip the lacklustre beef bourguignon though, & we'd certainly shun the sourish hummus.

Surprisingly, most of the desserts we sampled were disappointing - the mixed berries tart, chocolate eclair, oatmeal-banana cake & cream mille-feuille all tasted either past their prime or poorly stored. The only one we liked was the plum-quinoa tart. Coffee is available, but for something more interesting, go for the hot saffron tea.

Le Pain Quotidien
Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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