Will the Montreal chain fill Dubai’s café gap? Reviews

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Dubai has worked hard to alleviate itself of culinary gaps. Gone are the days when expats could bemoan the impossibility of satiating a sushi craving, Italy-standard bowls of pasta are no longer in short supply, and no one in this town is left wanting a good Peking duck. Oddly, though, the last decade hasn’t really seen much development in the café scene. There are a number of little shops and mega chains that offer coffee, but few quaint little spots that serve decent pastries and food on the side. There’s More, there’s Lime Tree, there’s a handful of others, but outside of these few institutions, there’s not much that inspires. Every time a new café opens I am both hopeful and distrusting. I have been burned too many times by café menus full of promise that ultimately proved substandard.

So, there’s a new café in town. The Montreal Bread Company, or MBCO for short. I heard third-hand that the venue served the best cheesecake in Dubai. I looked the menu up online. It held (I tremble as I write) promise. There were three-cheese omelettes with truffle oil, there were pizzas baked on focaccia bread, there were lobster and shrimp quesadillas. These all sounded, well, delicious. And, even though the café was miles from my home or work, I trekked out to the Arabian Ranches – a neighbourhood that needs a café like no other – hoping it would prove a boon to Dubai’s far-off communities.

The café has both a blazingly bright, austere interior, and a more relaxed, cushioned al fresco area. My date and I slid into one of the outdoor couches and took to the difficult task of choosing what to eat. Things were off to a good start with a chicken and red pepper pizza. The crust was crumbly and delicate. Some might say this isn’t how pizza crust should be, that what we ate wasn’t pizza. This may be the case but, whatever it was, it was wonderful. The courses that followed (or, more accurately, arrived at the same time) failed to dazzle to the same extent. I couldn’t resist the truffle-cheese omelette.

Oddly, though, despite the fact it was supposedly made up of several ingredients, all with strong, distinct flavours, the dish was completely bland. I wondered how it was possible the omelette would not offer even a hint of cheese or truffle? My date’s tuna club sandwich was also duller than it should have been. The cuts of rare, seared tuna were aided somewhat by a sesame crust, but otherwise the fish was tasteless, and the addition of overly moist roasted mushrooms and spinach didn’t really bring the flavours out as expected. It wasn’t a bad sandwich overall, just not an interesting one either.

Desserts, while not mind blowing, were satisfying, and mostly stuck to formula. My date and I were both pleased that neither her crème brûlée nor my warm tart tatin was overly sweet. Both, however, were lacking in pizzazz, and the crème brûlée suffered from not being fresh. The consistency was a bit dense, and tasted too eggy, and the top wasn’t overly warm or crisp, as is ideal. The tart tatin was nicer, but could have used some ice cream to complete it.

To be fair, MBCO isn’t a bad spot. It doesn’t really outwardly offend, but neither does it stand out. It makes a perfectly acceptable stopping point if you’re in the vicinity of the Arabian Ranches, but it has not, as (gasp) hoped, filled the necessary niche in the market. MBCO’s a nice chain, but we’re going to have to continue holding out for the perfect café.

The bill (for two)
1x Pizza Dhs42
1x Tuna sandwich Dhs55
1x Omelet Dhs25
1x Tarte tartin Dhs19
1x Crème brulee Dhs25
1x Pineapple & mint smoothie Dhs25
1X Virgin bellini Dhs18
Total Dhs165

By Daisy Carrington
Time Out Dubai,

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


  • Location: Arabian Ranches, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 430 9774
  • Travel: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road
  • Website

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MBCO On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Salma on 03 Aug ' 10 at 20:56
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Now, its very rare to find a restaurant that gives good food and good service that does not hurt your budget. Having said that, I would like to highlight an exceptional service and food that me and my husband had in Mbco. The food was great tasting fresh and the generous portion of the food was awesome! (The humongous "Lamb Burger" was fantastic!) But what made this dining experience even more remarkable was the service that the staff and the Manager gave to us. From welcoming us until we left the place, we were treated like "King and Queen" inside the restaurant! And it was noty only for us, but I observed that most of the guest are happy being visited and checked back by the staff and the manager. For a busy restaurant and seeing few staff running the floor, the Manager was even the one cleaning the tables and serving food, which is really surprising and commendable.

Kudos to this team!!! We are looking forward to have another great experience in this restaurant. Surely we will reccomend this to our friends, colleagues and family!

Posted by: Mariam on 08 Jul ' 10 at 09:36
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Me & my friends enjoyed the lunch. We love the foods, the variety on the menus means that you are never bored , and the service was great! The servers know the foods they are offering up.

Great food & great service.

Wonderful experience. Would definitely recommend this to everyone.

Posted by: Paul on 25 Jun ' 10 at 09:06
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

Honestly I will never go to this horrible restaurant ever again...... 1-Service is less than even being BAD. 2-Staff is RUDE and IGNORANT. 3-SLOW and the food comes like after 50 minutes. 4-They don't even know the difference between ( Half Done and Well Done ) meat !!!

Posted by: Mustafa on 21 Jun ' 10 at 02:33
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

I will never dine in this restaurant all of my life.I invited 7 people yesterday for lunch at MBco in Dubai Mall, first of all I asked the assistant manager for table of 7, he offered me a big table of 4 and small one for 2. I told him they are not matched in size and have different levels. He insisted that he can not move the tables although they are near to each other. Then I told him that if he did not attend my request I would leave the restaurant. So, the Egyptian manager came to sort the problem.
Secondly, The food took around 45 minutes although the restaurant was not full. To make the matters worse, the food they brought was not as we asked for; we ordered well done steak and they brought completely otherwise.
When I reported this to the assistant manager, he did not take any action as well as his Egyptian manager.
All and all, poor service and bad food

Posted by: Mags on 05 Jul ' 09 at 06:29
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I love this place - the manager is almost always there, and seems to take people's reactions to the food very personally (that is a good thing).

The food, I have found, can be hit and miss. I prefer to stick to the basics such as the chicked and brie wrap - absolutely delicious, and served with a beautiful aioli which really completes it. Is it worth the money (about 40 something AED)? I would say yes, on occasion. The more exotic sandwiches, such as the seared tuna one are, I think, a bit too 'specialist' to carry off. Overall though, I really haven't found a better sandwich yet in Dubai. I do still crave a good old 5AED sausage bap or something similarly homely, which I have yet to find here - hint hint MBCO!

The muffins are one to steer clear of - very dry, and I gave up half way through (probably a good thing!). The other desserts though, look and taste lovely.

I do get slightly irritated that every time I go, I seem to be held up by a mother questioning the origin of every single ingredient on every item for her precious young - it seems to me that the place has become a bit of a Mummy-Hangout. Shame for anyone without kids, but the great service staff do try to keep the queue moving as much as possible despite such 'long' orders.

All in all, I like this place. The manager keeps a tight reign on the junior chefs, as should be the case, resulting in well turned out food.

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