Pascal Tepper French Bakery

Parisian baker opens a French restaurant in Dubai Media City 10 Reviews

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Dubai loves a big name, especially in the context of a restaurant. Slap a Michelin-star chef on the beginning or the end of an eatery’s title and people will take notice. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing – just a Dubai thing. I raise this point because the city has recently been bequeathed with its first celebrity-endorsed bakery: Pascal Tepper in Dubai Media City.

Pascal is a rather handy Parisian baker, and the fact that he’s setting up shop in the heart of Media City is great news for the countless urban, edgy media types clamouring for a fresh, alternative breakfast, lunch or (to a lesser extent) dinner fix. I’m one such media type (though maybe less urban and edgy), and I’ve long lamented the dearth of good lunchtime spots in an area that is in desperate need of a few more.

A sandwich or salad prepared by a team coached by Pascal Tepper was an enticing prospect and, a few days after its opening, I ambled over to take a look. The first thing that struck me was the dead space that greets diners as they enter – an expansive dark-wood floor occupied by little other than dusty footprints. The cleanliness of customers’ footwear is by no means the responsibility of the management, but the layout of the restaurant made it difficult to get a sense of what Pascal Tepper is trying to be – a place to drop in for a takeaway sandwich, or a venue for a sit-down lunch? It turns out that it’s trying to be both. The open kitchen, baking ovens, display counter and till are set across the room from the entrance, while the two seating areas are positioned to the left and right. No one came to greet me at the door, so I was unsure what I should do – order from the counter, or take a seat and order from there? As it turned out, I did both: I approached the counter, sourced a menu and was then told I could take a seat. The plentiful staff looked as confused as the diners, and I was filled with a sense of foreboding.

Mindful of the time (my lunch break is an hour long), I found a table and waited. And waited. Ten minutes passed and I resigned myself to the fact that things were only going to get worse, so I decided to grab a sandwich and visit another time. Before I could, a waitress spotted me and scurried over to take my order – a salade Nordique and a poulet curry tartine. She left me and I waited some more.

After another 20 minutes, the atmosphere of the restaurant was flammable. It appeared I wasn’t the only one waiting an inordinate amount of time to be served, and I knew it was time to cut my losses when the table next to me finally received their order, which turned out to be wrong. What made me angry, however, was a group of Europeans standing at the door watching the prevailing chaos. I’m guessing they were the franchise owners, who, rather than jumping into the kitchen to help out, preferred to take notes, nod sternly with crossed arms and mutter to one another about the improvements that needed to be made (ie everything). I felt like a test subject in a perverse culinary experiment, when in fact I was a paying customer. Well, I would have been if I’d eaten – my lunch hour was all but over. I apologised to the waitress, cancelled my order and returned to the office hungry.

The story doesn’t end there. A restaurant review is never much good if the reviewer doesn’t actually eat during his visit, so I returned to find out what my salade Nordique and poulet curry tartine would have tasted like had I had the time and patience to wait well into the afternoon. I should really have visited again at lunchtime, though I was too scarred by my first experience and opted for an evening visit instead –at least this way I could be sure I’d get something to eat.

The restaurant couldn’t have been more different to my first experience. It was quiet (I was the only customer), cold (the air conditioning was set to arctic), and the service was sweet and attentive (I reiterate: I was the only customer). My Nordique salad, featuring pink rolls of smoked salmon, glistening capers, cherry tomatoes and fresh mixed lettuce, with the occasional mint sprig, was, on the whole, pretty good. It was simple, straightforward and in no way groundbreaking, but pretty tasty nonetheless. Worth waiting an hour for? Not on your life.

My poulet curry tartine (béchamel sauce, chicken pieces and gruyère cheese), however, was poor. Very poor. The chicken was rubbery and the sauce, which should have been an exciting medley of flavour, fell completely flat. More insulting, however, was the Dhs35 price tag.

By way of dessert I contented myself with the creamy blackberry smoothie: two scoops of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, milk and a dash of lime juice. But no blackberries – interesting – though I doubt even blackberries would have saved the smoothie from being a senseless saturation of sweetness.

I had two very different dining experiences at Pascal Tepper, neither of which I’ll be in a hurry to repeat. I concede that both visits were during the ‘soft opening’ stage, but regardless, a restaurant should still be able to serve a salad in less than 30 minutes. I’m sure the food and service will improve, but it’ll take longer to recover from the first three weeks of ineptitude.

The bill (for one)
1x Salade Nordique
Dhs48
1x Poulet curry tartine Dhs35
1x Blackberry smoothie Dhs20
Total (excluding service) Dhs103

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Dubai Media City, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 454 2408
  • Travel: Al Sufouh Road
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Business lunch

User reviews:

Posted by: Fahad J on 23 Apr ' 13 at 15:53
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I was there for an office lunch with a team of about 18 people which is large enough by any standards. Interestingly we had two servers who took orders from both halves of the table sitting across from each other. The one half of the table sitting across from the other got served 20 minutes earlier than the other half since the server from the other half submitted the orders late. It was quite embarassing looking at another half of colleagues who are hungry and the other cant do much. The food was good, no doubt. They did try and compensate us with some stale desserts, but thats okay, atleast they tried.

Posted by: Charles on 06 May ' 12 at 12:13
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

This has the potential to be a great place to eat but unfortunately is run like a pig pen. There is no organization and the service is just terrible. Without a doubt it was my worst dining experience in Dubai and I have dined out many times. This is my first review and I just wanted to give the warning to others as it was that bad.

Posted by: Sharmishtha on 26 Feb ' 12 at 18:15
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

I've gone back to Pascal's twice after the first terrible experience, only for the macaroons and almost hit myself for doing so. The first two times I've been served by the slowest server on the planet who apparently cannot use a calculator and has always given me lesser change than he should have. The macaroons, though over-priced are stellar. However, thanks to the aforementioned server, what I asked for and was told was a salted caramel macaroon turned out to be raspberry. The third time, I politely asked to be served by another lady, but the service was still as shabby. Like really, you cannot get away with that in Dubai when you have so much of better competition. Also, since I work in DMC, I think being seen at PTB is more of a status thing. You'd get better coffee next door at Seattle's Best and at least they'd serve it before you remind them. Thrice.

Posted by: Kirsty M on 08 Feb ' 12 at 10:36
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The service, although very polite, was SO slow, the gentleman beside my table who ordered his food at the same time as me, managed to eat and pay for his meal before mine even turned up!! The Exotic Salad was good (although I would advise dressing on the side), they didn't have any mint lemon to drink unfortunately and I wasn't offered an alternative. I will go back, but will make sure I have a few hours to spare. A large number of takeaways were being delivered (so the food can't be that bad as referred to by other reviews) so will try their delivery service to see if the speed on that is any better...who knows!!

Posted by: marie anne tesser on 20 Dec ' 11 at 20:23
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I do not want to go back. Too pricey for bread and pastries and poor service.

Posted by: Gary on 20 Dec ' 11 at 12:27
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Its not really french, except for the 'bonjour' greeting at the door, and the french menus.
The chicken in Puff Pastry is the bomb. Its nothing complex, but it is simple and tasty.
They make a beautiful Blackberry smoothie as well.
And the pastries are really nice.

Overall, it is nice food and good service.

Posted by: rachel degourd on 23 Nov ' 11 at 11:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Nothing like to give a french look to media city, nothing like to try giving fresh french pastry, but are those pastries really fresh? Imported and baked on the premesiss.
Service is orrible, i wish to know who trained this staff and tell him to go back to school before year end. No attention at all, no aknowledge of the guest, no confidence. If you pay peanuts you get monkyes, the real deal is in the management the big monkey it self.

Posted by: Cameron on 09 May ' 11 at 17:14
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I could not disagree more with the reviewer. For one, publishing such a review about a soft opening, and stating that at the end of the story, is rather unfair - people have already skimmed the story before you divulge that fact!
I work in Media City and Pascal Tepper's Bakery has brought a level of sophistication and quality of food not yet seen in Media City. The lightness of the pastries, the very attentive lunch time service and great Friday morning breakfasts have been nothing but exemplary. I can understand that there are good days and bad days in any establishment, but I have not had that experience once in the many times I have been there. Recommended for a great business lunch.

Posted by: French gourmet on 09 May ' 11 at 06:12
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The breads are good, Danish average at best and stale for the mini croissants and the prices are just crazy for very basic cakes. I went there around 6pm it looked like closed and the poor girls were at loss to slice my bread. I am in no hurry to return.

Posted by: NMN Dubai on 06 May ' 11 at 10:39
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I have eaten here many times, just for a cake and coffee in the mornings or afternoon, never for lunch. I have been with guests who ordered lunch and were left a little underwhelmed.
However, I am impressed with the quality of the cakes and pastries, as well as the drinks on offer.
I personally like this place a lot, despite the poor decor (mind you, the Armani Hotel isn't particularly fantastic either), with authentic sweets

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