The Cheesecake Factory lands in Dubai

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I had heard of The Cheesecake Factory years ago – in my mind, it was this mythical land where an innumerable number of cheesey cakes were produced for consumption by the hungry masses.

When I went to the USA last year, I had my first taste of cheesecake from this not-so-mythical place, which not only gave me a great experience, but upon perusing the menu, made me realize that they have so much more than JUST cheesecake.

So when I, like many other cheesecake lovers, found out that a branch of the firm would be opening in the UAE, I was extremely excited. And when the invite to attend the opening landed in my inbox, I got even more bouncy with joy.

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The opening took place on Wednesday, August 15 2012, at its currently one-and-only international location in The Dubai Mall. Located right opposite the Aquarium, I think they’ve got an excellent spot to draw in the crowds.

Having visited a branch in the USA before, I can say they’ve followed the general theme of interiors of a dull gold/yellow splattered everywhere. It makes for a cozy atmosphere, but if you’re eager to take photos in there…use a flash!

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After the opening, we were treated to samplers of various food items from their menu, along with … cheesecakes, of course!

To view all the pictures I took from the night, click here.

Thanks to Sandy from Ginger and Scotch, who wrote down all the items we sampled that night:

  • Crab wonton: I liked this one; crispy and had an excellent sauce at the side
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  • Beef burgers with, cole slaw, and pickle: I loved how soft the bread was. The pickle added to the taste, and the meat was tender and lavished with a bbq-y sauce. Not my favourite from the night though.
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  • Chicken Madeira with mushrooms and/or Herb crusted salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus: I had a bite of both; they were average in my opinion.
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  • Chinese salad with plum dressing (in takeout container): Really, really, REALLY GOOD salad. There was chicken in the one I tried, and the vegetables used were fresh and crispy.
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  • Tex mex egg roll: Really good stuff. I loved the taste of this alone without any sauce. Flavours were good.
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  • Salisbury steak: had a bite of this one; but unfortunately I only tasted it when it had gone a bit cold, so perhaps I’m not the best judge.
  • Mini crabcakes: Really good crabcakes! Crisp on the outside, but so tender on the inside.
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  • Bang Bang chicken: we were told this was a best-selling dish and I  can certainly see why. The flavours were really good, and the peanuty sauce was excellent. There seemed to be a slight kick in the taste, although I’m not sure where it came from. This added to the overall dish…good stuff.
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  • Chicken samosa: Nice samosa. Doesn’t stand out in my memory but it was okay.
  • An avocado roll I think. It was okay; didn’t stand out for me unfortunately.
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  • Pizza: I had this last and I can’t remember whether it had a specific name (someone tell me what it was!) but I really liked it. It was fresh, the vegetables felt fresh and it had this authentic feel to it.
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Among the cheesecakes offered, we tried:

  • Lemon raspberry white truffle cheesecake: probably my favourite cheesecake from the night, I loved the sorbet taste I got from the raspberry and lemon combined with white chocolate.
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  • Oreo Dream Extreme cheesecake: This one was good, albeit a bit heavy.
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  • The original cheesecake: the original was absolutely awesome. Loved the classic taste mixed with strawberry.
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  • The Chocolate Bar cheesecake made with Hershey’s: I love chocolate but wow, was this one heavy even for me. Loaded with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, this one’s only for the real, die-hard choc fans. It’s very sweet, so not for those who can’t handle too much sugar.
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We didn’t get to have a look at the official menu for Dubai, but were told there are over 300 items on the menu including the desserts, starters, mains and more. Once I get my hands on the menu, will update this post to give you an idea of how the dishes are priced.

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Whatever the pricing is like, I must point out the portions for each are quite generous, and even with the sampler sizes (except for the cheesecakes which were presented in their full-blown glory), we were stuffed!

I cannot finish this post without a hat-tip to the staff. Enthusiastic, friendly and a diverse mix of nationalities, I was very impressed with their knowledge and ability to banter with the customers. I only hope this keeps up after opening night, because it always helps to have restaurant staff whom you feel you can talk to.

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I think it’s definitely a great plan for Al Shaya to open The Cheesecake Factory smack in time for Eid. There’s a lot of seating space and a prime location to help it on its way. Oh, there’s even another branch scheduled to open by October of this year at Mall of the Emirates, so two cheesecake-y locations for us to enjoy!

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I think the night had its high points and average points. Which is a good sign. I’m hoping the restaurant continues to provide excellent service with good food even past the first few weeks of opening rush. I definitely look forward to going back and trying out more from the menu.

Practical tips: Park in the Grand Parking of Dubai Mall and then walk towards the Dubai Aquarium. It’s right in front of the blue-scale area. Go with an empty stomach, and for heaven’s sake, don’t count the calories!

To view all the pictures I took from the night, click here.

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11 thoughts on “The Cheesecake Factory lands in Dubai

  1. Lovely photos, Devina. You really captured the festive food & ambiance of the place. The map is a nice touch, too. ;-) I agree, I think they timed it well to open right before Eid.

  2. drooling in front of my laptop. I wont count my calories but would consider the cost. what would be the price range?

  3. Thanks Holly! Yeah I always add a map at the end of my posts – if you click on the link below it will show you all the restaurants I’ve ever reviewed all over the word, with links back to the blog posts.

  4. Abigail – it’s great that you reminded me. I was meant to get the pricing from the PR company. Will chase that up.

  5. I have to say, I honestly thought this place was way too overrated in Dubai. The food/desserts are moderately good, but insanely overhyped. We waited for an hour and a half to get our table (heard some people had to wait upto 4 hours!), and at the end of our meal – we left thinking it wasn’t worth the wait. Maybe it’s just me, but I would probably wait for the hype to go down before I decide to go back there and give it another shot. Just a thought!

  6. @themiddlepai Thanks for stopping by the blog :) I went another time recently and waited for an hour to get a table… I do agree, I’d like to wait a bit until lines get less clogged before attempting to waste an hour in the mall!

  7. Good review, lovely pics and think the shout out to the staff is always appreciated. I still have no clue why there are queues for this though!

    • Hey Sally! Thanks for your comment :) I’ve no idea why there are queues either, especially considering the restaurant has a lot of space. Guess the novelty hasn’t worn off yet!

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