It’s here. It’s huge. It’s open. Granted, there’s no record-breaking neon guitar stuck to the roof, but after months of speculative opening dates and subsequent delays, Hard Rock Café has finally reopened in Festival City.

Of course, Hard Rock isn’t just a restaurant, or a café, for that matter; it’s an assault on the senses that starts at the Hard Rock shop through which we were channelled en route to the restaurant. Those with short-term memories are then reminded that they can purchase Hard Rock-emblazoned memorabilia from the shop by friendly (too friendly?) bar staff. Within the space of five minutes my date and I had already been reminded of the shop twice and offered the mixed drinks menu once, despite having already ordered our drinks.

Happily, we were saved by the Village People. Not the actual Village People, mind, rather their rendition of ‘YMCA’, which had every last staff member leaping onto tables to contort themselves to the chorus.

With all this singing and dancing going on, we couldn’t help but wonder how and when our burgers would arrive. ‘Soon,’ assured our bouncy waiter, who jingled with pin-badges and reeled out quips faster than
a stand-up comic. It was fun, if a little forced, but certainly added an extra element to the meal.

True to the assurances of our wise-cracking waiter, our jumbo combo platter soon arrived, bringing with it an array of deep-fried treats, including potato skins, chicken wings, spring rolls, onion rings, tupelo-style chicken (boneless chicken wings) and enough blue cheese sauce to induce a coronary. It was about halfway through the platter that I realised everything tasted pretty much the same, with each dish differentiated only by texture. Regardless, we greedily finished the whole plate, a feat that was rewarded by a high-five from the waiter.

The burgers were big, juicy and overflowing with filling, but the patties in both the SOB Burger (1,410 calories, according to the Hard Rock NYC’s online menu) and the Hickory Burger (1,648 calories) were worryingly pink, despite us asking for them to be served medium. It also appeared that neither burger was designed to stay together, resulting in our plates, hands and (I’m ashamed to say) faces being covered in the contents. We weren’t expecting haute-cuisine, so we were relatively satisfied, yet there was still something missing.

But remember, you don’t go to Hard Rock to have a gourmet meal – you go to have your ears, eyes and palates rudely assaulted with music, bright lights and artery-clogging diner food. Take this as you will.

The bill (for two)
1x Jumbo combo Dhs69
1x SOB burger Dhs57
1x Hickory burger Dhs57
Total (including service) Dhs183