There’s been some excited chatter on my Facebook timeline this week about the new IHOP at Mall of the Emirates (not a new product from Apple – it’s a restaurant and stands for International House of Pancakes).
Yes, for anyone who spent the summer in a cave, IHOP has actually opened in Dubai. There’s been some debate over whether the whole experience will be the same as in America (“Hello Maammsirrr”), but the verdict seems to be that it’s well worth a visit. Forty more are planned around the Middle East, apparently.
I have to confess I’m really looking forward to going: breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day, and I’ve found it nigh on impossible to find a great ‘greasy spoon’ in Dubai.
For a start, pork is restricted, so without a pork licence, restaurants can only offer turkey or beef bacon. Same goes for sausages of course. Whilst I do enjoy a beef burger every now and then, when it comes to beef bacon, I’d rather stick the fork up my nose.
A nearby restaurant we sometimes go to for a ‘silver spoon’ breakfast is permitted to offer pork bacon and sausages (on the side), but for some reason, they ration out the beans and mushrooms in little pots – just like the kind your children would use for a doll’s tea party – then charge more than £10.
Having put up with this for the past four years, I was, quite literally, rubbing my hands with glee on our first morning in America this summer as we set out to The Original Pancake House, another popular breakfast restaurant.
My taste buds were dancing on the table with anticipation as the waitress took our order with panache, understood every word of it and returned with bottomless glasses of unsweetened iced tea.
She then brought rashers of crispy bacon, fluffy saucer-sized pancakes, sunny-side-up eggs, the biggest omelette I’ve ever seen (five eggs at least), corn beef hash and buttered toast with delicious jam bursting with flavour.
There’s really no doubt about it – Americans are Olympic-level breakfasters and if Dubai’s new IHOP can recreate the American breakfast experience, my taste buds will be hopping up and down all the way there.
Postscript: Dubai’s IHOP features many of the same items as the US restaurants, but no pork (Halal-certified turkey hams, veal sausages and beef bacon instead)
Edit: The Cheesecake Factory has opened too, with two-hour waits over Eid!