The MiD team stepped into the Victorian-inspired Shakespeare & Co café restaurant, situated in an obscure corner of the Arabian Ranches Community Centre. Although hard to spot, our team concludes that it is definitely a café worth finding. Like the set of a modern Shakespearean play, the decor juxtaposes traditional pink lace with modern cutlery and a hint of Arab aesthetics.
Being a pleasant evening, we were escorted to the open area of the café to enjoy the fresh air, lively crowd, comfortable couches and fans. We started our night with the joint’s most popular flavours of bubbly shishas: double apple and grape mint. After being served promptly, we moved on to the appetisers—cobb salad, chicken satay, smoked salmon salad, and crispy calamari. While the salads were fresh and flavoursome, the calamari was less crunchy than expected. The appetisers were served in large portions with a complimentary basket of homemade bread and special herb butter—a meal on its own. Our favourite order was a frothy drink made of lemon, kiwi, apple and mint named Mintilicious that came in before the food.
Finally we ended our night with Chocolate Pave Cake, Paris Brest and Millefeuille for dessert. The Chocolate Pave Cake is a sophisticated feast for the eyes, with a tiny piece of gold foil dotting each slice. The Paris Brest is a circular pastry, designed to crumble as you cut into its multi-layered form. The Millefeuille is a treat for non-dieters. It’s a rich rectangular pastry where each layer has its own texture. We were served an assortment of handmade Belgian chocolates, all individually wrapped in paper that reflects Shakespeare & Co’s signature old world charm. To cut the cloyingly sweet aftertaste, we indulged in the café’s extensive aperitif menu. Among the beverages we asked for, the Moroccan tea went well with the Millefeuille without overwhelming its taste. While the espresso and Turkish coffee, true to their nature, were overpoweringly bitter, it made for the ideal beverage in cutting the sweetness of the desserts to create a perfect blend. Warning! The Turkish coffee is so close to the authentic Turkish ahwa, it should only be ordered by those who can handle concentrated caffeine and its bitter aftertaste!
The jewel in the crown capping the entire experience was when our attentive server brought out the Rising Flower. This flowering tea is a spectacle in its own right— presented in a glass pot with a floating flower that slowly blooms as the water heats over a tea light candle below.
Our review team concludes that the entire experience was wholesome and enjoyable. Every dish was rightly priced and well prepared. The beverages, pastries and shishas are definitely the highlight, not to mention the conscientious wait staff. Shakespeare & Co in Arabian Ranches is popular with the residents of the gated community, as well as neighbouring Motor City, Victory Heights, Sports City and Jumeirah Village, as a place to meet over afternoon tea or unwind after work.
Reviewed by MiD team