There is a tendency in Dubai to mistake the opening of the first branch of an international chain with that of an actual event. As a result, some poor souls are treating the Dubai Mall’s newly opened food court – triumphed as the largest in Dubai – as the spectacle of the year. Drop in on a weekend and you’re likely to see a line that spreads around the corner at Taco Bell, and they’re not even offering Kylie tickets.
What is truly amazing about the Dubai Mall’s food court is how global their range of fast food options is. Whatever your cravings for mediocre food, they’ve got ‘em, from the greasy noodles at Assia in Wok to the bland curries at Karam Express. What is sadly missing from the Mall’s offerings, however, is a decent, sit-down restaurant. There are some signs that the Mall has pencilled in a few decent eats for the future (mainly in the form of dozens of giant placards bearing the hopeful phrase, ‘coming soon’). Old staples like the Organic Food & Café and the Armani Caffe promise to give the Mall that little extra bit of class. But it seems like there’s nothing comparable to Mall of the Emirates Almaz by Momo on the horizon.
There is one foodish area in which the Dubai Mall promises to add something to the Dubai landscape, and that is with its promised offerings of gourmet shops – something in short supply in this town. The city’s first Waitrose already offers up some hard-to-find luxury goods, and the imminently planned Balduci’s, Whittard of Chelsea and Mariage Freres, among others, seem likely to fill in any leftover gaps.
On the horizon
Openings we can look forward to at the Dubai Mall.
Rainforest Café: A simulated rain forest setting – complete with cascading waterfalls – promises to make for a fun and kid-friendly atmosphere.
Bob’s Easy Diner and Roadster Diner: Finally, Johnny Rockets has some competition. Two American-style diners are opening up in the mall, though neither originates from the States (they are Lebanese exports). Still, good burgers and pancakes don’t have passports.
Mariage Frères: The French tea company has been in operation since 1854. Now, they’re bringing their gourmet brews to Dubai.
The Montreal Bread Company: Finally, a chain to serve Dubai’s Canadian contingent. Expect salads, pastas and other light café fare, and maybe some organic goodies thrown in for good measure.