Soda Box

Pullman Hotel snack bar is best described as a sci-fi sweet shop

I wasn’t looking forward to my meal at Sodabox. Not because I’d heard it was a bad restaurant, but because the only time I was able to visit was at 8.30pm in the evening – a time when I should be tucking into a sensible, square meal. You only need to take one look at Sodabox to realise that it’s not a place to go for a sensible square meal – it’s a sweet shop straight out of The Jetsons. I tried my best to put myself in the right mindset and accept that I was going to spend the evening consuming inhuman amounts of ice cream and dessert, and probably wasn’t going to sleep a wink that night. The things I do for the job…

Sodabox looks great: big copper-coloured bauble lamps hang from the ceiling in threes, matching the copper-coloured couches and booths. A few smaller tables are attended by contemporary red swivel chairs, while the cream walls are decorated with bold pop-art prints. There’s even a selection of coffee-table books on display in a jaunty book case.

I took my seat in a booth and nervously opened the menu, bracing myself for the sugar rush. To my tremendous relief, Sodabox does offer a handful of savoury snacks, including Caesar salads, club sandwiches and even smoked salmon: maybe I wouldn’t have to undo years of dental work in one sitting. I opted for a club sandwich and the slightly more adventurous ‘Very Important Berries’ (strawberry ice cream fused with strawberry sorbet and lemonade).

As I waited, I cast my gaze over to the books on display and soon began to question the logic behind the selection, which included a biography of UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (relevant, since we’re in the UAE); a falconry photo book (fair enough, falconry is cherished Bedouin pastime); a guidebook to Morocco (well, I suppose Morocco is relevant to Dubai – it sports some semblance of Arabic culture); another photo book, but this time on famous bridges around the world (slightly random); and (my favourite) The Captain Underpants Collection.

My bemusement was interrupted by the arrival of my club sandwich and a dangerously colourful concoction, which I assumed must be the Very Important Berries. The name may have been as nonsensical as Sodabox’s collection of literature but, more to the point, it didn’t taste very good at all. It was meant to be a ‘fusion’ of strawberry ice cream and sorbet, but instead it was a lumpy mess that couldn’t even be sucked through a straw.

I soon gave up on this disappointing concoction and moved on to my sandwich, which wasn’t bad, though the three-tiered triangles came apart rather too readily, making it difficult to eat. What’s more, the ingredients weren’t warm enough for my liking, which could also be said of the side of fries. But the main event at Sodabox is not the main course, it’s dessert, and I wouldn’t be doing the place justice if I’d judged it on the strength of the club sandwich and one very bad drink (in hindsight, I should have gone for a more traditional smoothie or shake).

A big deal is made about the ice cream at Sodabox, which is said to be created on-site. I ordered a scoop of chocolate and cookies ice cream with chocolate sprinkles, which offered a delicious sugary hit. I was clearly on to a winner with desserts and, while I was severely tempted to keep eating, I was unfortunately too full to sample the ludicrously decadent ‘Chocolate Heaven’ – a warm chocolate brownie topped with Belgian chocolate, chocolate chips and ice cream, finished with butterscotch sauce, caramelised cashew nuts, whipped cream and brownie biscuits. I did, however, manage to try a scoop of ‘Very Berry Cheesecake’ ice cream, which was pretty good, though the frozen berry swirls were rather too sweet.

As I waited for the bill, I concluded that Sodabox is a great place to escape the mêlée of the mall for a relaxed ice-cream fix or even a coffee. And then I left for home, with a bellyful of chips, chocolate and cheesecake, and no chance of sleeping a wink that night.

The bill (for one)
1x Traditional triple-decker club sandwich
Dhs50
1x Chocolate and cookies ice cream Dhs12
1x Very berry cheesecake ice cream Dhs12
1x Very Important Berries drink Dhs26
Total (excluding service) Dhs100

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