Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dubai Restaurant Review: PF Chang, Mirdiff City Centre

In a nutshell: great food, service and price!

I had heard great things about the new Mall of the Emirates branch of PF Chang and when Simon and I came upon it in Mirdiff City Centre we decided it would be worth a taste. We were not disappointed! I liked the decor of dark wood, Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, walls painted with scenes of Chinese life and large stone statues - from a life-size horse at the door to an emperor and his hencemen inside. The restaurant is very big and it was almost full, which we rightly took to be a good sign.

We were seated by a friendly hostess and our waiter came to take our drink order immediately. During the meal, Simon had almost finished his rice and the waiter came to ask if he'd like more...very observant and attentive. We were surprised to see an American manager but PF Chang is an American chain and they clearly decided that brand expertise was required to successfully launch the brand here - good strategy. The staff have all clearly been well trained although I found it strange that the manager didn't talk to any guests at all. We also saw the chef come out of the kitchen - a Western woman who we presumed must have also come over from the US.

The menu is extensive, but not so huge as to be overwhelming. I was thrilled to see that they offer BROWN RICE (no additional charge) - finally a restaurant that realises the health benefits of wholegrain rice. As the restaurant is in a mall, there's no pork but you can find everything else including chicken, duck (no duck pancakes though), beef, lamb, fish and various seafood. We started our meal with steamed shrimp dumplings, just to share as we had been warned by my parents that the portions are very generous. Really delicious, although sharing was a good idea since I couldn't have managed an entire plate of them alone. The accompanying ginger soy sauce gave that little extra kick to the tastebuds.

Not wanting to go for a commonplace option, I ordered chicken in ginger with broccoli. Simon went for sweet & sour chicken...not very adventurous and he didn't like it as much as my dish. There was nothing wrong with the sweet & sour, but once he tried mine he realised that he could have had a much more interesting meal. My chicken in ginger was fantastic, the ginger added great flavour without being too strong, the sauce was definitely freshly made (not like my Chop Chop experience) and the broccoli was cooked al dente so I felt that I had eaten a really healthy meal. If you have a starter then I would recommend sharing a main course; we had shared our starter but still couldn't manage to finish both mains.

There was no way we could even consider a dessert, especially as their cakes are suitable for 4 people to share! A cheap way to have dessert anyway. To help people choose their dessert, they've made replicas out of plastic and when you order dessert they bring you over a tray showing what they all look like. I'd never seen that before but thought it was a great idea and less wasteful than having real examples laid out. Maybe next time I'll avoid the starter and save some room for dessert. For the entire meal, including drinks, we spent just AED 150 and we left feeling that our money had been very well spent.


  1. One thing I realised later is that Chang's only offers expensive imported bottled Italian water. It really drives me crazy when restaurants do that. There are excellent local waters here that don't need to be flown thousands of miles to get here and therefore cost a fraction of the amount. There is no excuse not to offer them!

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