Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dubai Restaurant Review: California Pizza Kitchen, Dubai Mall

In a nutshell: friendly service and good food but not on a par with other places we've been

As the largest mall in the world outside North America, it is understandable that navigating Dubai Mall is not the easiest or quickest thing to do. Luckily they have information points at regular intervals so you can see how to get to where you want to be. We had never been to the ground floor but I'd seen on the mall's website that there was a large number of restaurants on that level and after a rather long walk, we finally reached our destination. Our initial thought was to do a lap of honour around the whole floor to see all the restaurants but we hadn't taken into account the distance this would involve and after getting half way round we decided we were too hungry to go any further and opted for the best new place we'd seen up to that point: the California Pizza Kitchen.

A pizza restaurant may sound a strange choice for someone who doesn't eat wheat but the menu was varied and included various Far Eastern appetisers as well as grilled mains, not just pizza and pasta. We really fancied starting with the Vietnamese spring rolls (I think they actually called them Singaporean) but were informed that they were all pre-made and included raw spring onion and garlic - neither of which I eat. Instead we went for the lettuce wraps, although we were warned that the flavour would be different to usual since they would cook it without any sauce - it turned out all their sauces were pre-made and included garlic. I was very impressed with how my request for no garlic was handled, it was just a shame that a lot of their food is prepared in advance. The lettuce wraps were very good but as with so many places, we were given a pile of filling (chicken, prawn, water chestnut and mushroom) and not enough wraps (just 4 lettuce leaves) so we had to request more. If you order this dish be warned that you will get 8 wraps out of it so it is definitely one to share! I really enjoyed it but had to agree with Simon that the ones at PF Chang's were better, that was perhaps my fault though due to the garlic ban.

For our mains, Simon felt he should try their namesake and went for the Hawaiian pizza which he said was really tasty with a nice soft base. Simon's mum, who is staying with us just now, opted for pasta with rosemary chicken and didn't leave a scrap on the plate - so another successful dish. My steak was cooked perfectly and tasted great; I've found recently in restaurants that the steak has had a really strong flavour as though it had been previously frozen but that was not the case here. The accompaniment of grilled asparagus was delicious and I'll remember to buy the big European asparagus to grill with steak next time I cook it. Sadly, the roast potatoes had been tossed in garlic, although as it turned out I didn't need them anyway as the asparagus was more than enough to go with the steak. They had been so attentive about the garlic with the starter so I don't know what happened with the potatoes.

All the staff we spoke to were very friendly and our waitress was really attentive. The only person who wasn't was the supervisor (we presumed since she was in a shirt, not the uniform) who we asked for our bill as our waitress was busy - 10 minutes later she still hadn't brought the bill. It turns out, she informed our waitress and left her to get it even though she was getting food out for other diners. Working in sections is one thing, but there has to be a little flexibility! I would eat here again but it didn't blow me away because so much of the food is pre-made which makes it a bit limiting for me. If you don't have any food intolerances then this would get a 4/5 but for anyone who would need to ask for something to be kept out of their food, this just doesn't quite hit the mark.

1 comment:

  1. Had a sad experience at CPK (Dubai Mall) - Host was friendly; however, server appeared least bothered with the customers needs - left unattended and ignored for a long time - Hygiene was questionable!!!as we found a crawling bug in our food and Manager was least concerned and did nothing about it except for giving excuses.... Not Recommended at all especially if you have guest visiting from other countries