PF CHANG'S AT THE BEACH - DUBAI

01.38.00

On the same day as I went to IHOP, I had my big dinner at PF Chang’s at The Beach branch. PF Chang’s is another restaurant brand chain that’s quite popular in Dubai and already had several branches spread around Dubai, and obviously quite a number of following there. The name PF Chang’s itself is curated from the name of the two owners: Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang (so it’s PF and a tiwst of Chiang’s). I went there like around 5 PM and the restaurant was  already quite packed, and as I finished my dinner, the restaurant was almost full house.

The Dubai Beach area somehow looks like a CBD area, or the shophouses complex that you normally see in the Resort World Sentosa in Singapore (you should know if you’ve been there) and a little like Jakarta’s Central Park complex, even though they’re completely NOT CBD as it’s located just around the beach corner. I found myself liking the design of the restaurant, both exterior and interior, there’s just this strong minimalist feel to it, but in the same time just classy, yet homey, somehow a little Western, and altogether very comfortable. It’s weird that even though PF Chang’s is highly known for their Asian infused cuisine, I praise the idea of not looking like one (ok this sounds wrong), but what I am trying to say is that just because you serve Asian fusion food, you don’t need to appear very Asian and sometimes those red colors and all those details are so in your face, it eventually lost the charm, and I really love their location here in Jumeirah beach, and when you come here around the golden hour, you can hang around at their al-fresco area, and get the awesome sunset view from the restaurant.

Not to mention, I LOVE the music that they’re playing here, it’s this chilling lounge music played in small volume, and still allow you to have that worthy conversation with your loved ones while having your dinner, which should always be the good thing, and little gestures like this that is probably unrealized by some, actually goes along the way.
The range of the menu here was pretty big, but after a quick browse, it’s actually the good old classics being modernized, and their signatures. I mentioned I had a big dinner here, and when I say big, I mean 9 courses and 2 desserts, so that’s 11 dishes in total LOL! Before I actually talk about the food, I want to really-really tell you guys how much I love the service here! The waiter that served us, Rahul, was very helpful in helping us deciding what to order, all with his menu knowledge that was very & his casual, yet very friendly service that impressed me, it was something that I have to remember and point out in this blog. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot in Jakarta.

CHANG’S LETTUCE WRAP – 44 Dirham
The presentation of this dish could actually be prettier (I pictured a mounted presentation?), but somehow still acceptable. It’s actually an interactive menu where in order to have it right, you gotta do the assigned steps. This happens to be one of the best sellers here so I guess this one is worth trying. This dish came in three large iceberg lettuce, stir-fry minced chicken cooked in Chang’s special seasoning, and fried rice noodle. I can tell that the iceberg lettuce was very fresh, even just by looking at how solid and firm the appearance was, and indeed it was a good base to all the supporting elements! Had no problem with the minced chicken as I think it’s seasoned just right on spot, and somehow had this wok flavor to it, but unfortunately the fried rice-noodle, which supposed to have the role in adding the play of texture, failed to achieve the level of crispiness that I expected. The wrap should be paired with their homemade sauce, but as I applied and had it, I didn’t notice a big of a difference.
DYNAMITE SHRIMP – 47 Dirham
This was something that I saw being ordered by literally, every single table in this restaurant, so I must be insane if I didn’t have this. This was my personal favorite of the dinner as it was so damn good, and when you look at it, it’s actually a very simple dish: just deep fried battered shrimp cooked in the dynamite sauce, and presented in a gorgeous martini glass, but this was the case when a simple dish was cooked in perfection that it turned out so good! I like how the batter wasn’t dry crispy and still left a little room for moisture. This one is a bloody must order!
This precious little thing right here contributes to 27% of the restaurant’s International revenue.
CHANG’S CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
I was craving for something warm and soupy since I haven’t had it (in my life) for a while and knowing this was another best seller, I guess this one was worth trying. The soup came in a huge bowl with generous condiments and share-able for three guests, I don’t know, but as soon as it’s served on my table, I just wanna had this right away (hashtag major craving). Flavor wise, I personally it’s already pretty good and tasty, but if I can put this in my own words, you know those moments when you’re about to have that complete foodgasm and for some reasons, you’re just almost there and confused. The spiciness and the saltiness of the soup was just flying around in my palate and didn’t want to reach that “spot” in my palate, but however, I think it’s still very acceptable and I think it’s still good, but if it could be a little spicier and tangier, this would be fantastic.
PEANUT LIME CHICKEN SALAD – 46 Dirham
The thing that really stood out about this dish has got to be the peanut lime sauce, as well as the case of any other salads that depends on the dressing. The peanut lime sauce dressing was very refreshing and slightly tasted like the good old sesame, and most importantly compliment the fresh ingredients well. I just expected the sauce to be a little more generous to enhance the flavor.
WOK-CHARRED BEEF
Another case of a simple dish made to perfection was this one! Even though this menu was a little “been there done that”, or more like “everyone’s doing it”, I never go tired of having that ultra tender beef cooked in wok style, rich seasoning and sometimes a little salty is still okay because you know you’re gonna have it with rice, and this was the exact example. Good good job!
CANTONESE LEMON CHICKEN
Presentation wise, it was one of the most interesting looking dish on the dinner, but unfortunately, the flavor wasn’t align with the beautiful presentation, as I think it’s lacking of flavor, and the chicken should be more battered and deep fried longer until they reach that “katsu” like texture where it’s crispy outside (but the meat was quite tender tho). The lemon sauce dressing turned off the whole dish, it’s too watery and sweet for my liking, they could’ve gone thicker and tangier.
RED CHILI BUTTERY SHRIMP
Red hot chili presentation sometimes could lead to a mouthwatering appearance. This was actually a noodle dish, adn as much I usually dislike having soggy and overcooked noodle, I found the texture worked well here, it’s just that it matches the concept of this dish and the whole flavor and the rich peppery seasoning, the seasoning mainly consist of chili oil and pepper, but it wasn’t hot and spicy, in fact it’s altogether the good balance of savory with sweet and a little tangy. I really enjoyed this one and if not because of getting stuffed with the food I’ve had before, I could finish this all by myself.
VIP DUCK – 85 Dirham
Out of the other signature dishes, this VIP duck of theirs was the one that’s indeed very signature and very VIP, something that I actually never had before. The cooking method was actually pretty interesting as they steamed the duck first, then grilled them to perfection. Their VIP duck was another interactive dish where you’re recommended to have it with the pita bread and some other condiments, such as their peanut sauce glazed cucumber pickle that I personally found the game changer to this dish, even if you don’t like cucumber, I think you still need to have it in your wrap as it suddenly changed the whole flavor, you get that slight sweetness to the dish combined with the sweet-savory duck. Love it.
CHANG’S ASIAN SHORT RIBS – 125 Dirham
This dish consist of two chunky short ribs cooked in certain temperature resulting the medium  (or medium well) texture. Didn’t expect the coating of the short ribs to be cripsy but it was... and it’s such a pleasant surprise, as I found the meat just slightly dry in the center, it’s actually still very acceptable and actually not a big deal LOL (I am just a bitch who points out everything XD). The sauce was given very generously, but it’s so generous that it kind of adding the “sweet” flavor to the dish to a level where it’s kind of too much, as the marinating of the short ribs itself was already sweet, if they could tone down the sauce then it would be perfect.
CHOCO BUCHI – 35 Dirham
This has the potential to be good. I was torn around this or Ms. Choo’s version is better, I honestly liked the bread and puffy texture, but somehow I feel like the Nutella filling might fit the Ms. Choo’s version with thinner skin. The Nutella filling was given generously here, but unfortunately I think the sesame was slightly overcooked hence it’s bitter when you bit this. It might be Dubai price, but if you put this in Jakarta, it won’t sell!
BANANA SPRING ROLL – 40 Dirham
I must say that they were creative with this, and indeed it had that Asian values to it as this was very inspired with Vietnamese spring rolls, but turned to dessert. Unlike most of the desserts that I’ve tried here in Dubai, it was actually the better ones in terms of sweetness (geez they love sweet sweet stuffs here). The bananas were soft, creamy and smooth and wrapped in perfectly cooked and crispy skin. The ice cream topping was generous (I am guessing they’re using Haagen Dazs), and when I say generous I mean double the size of the normal serving in Jakarta, and since I am an avid fan of caramel, an extra and generous caramel sauce dressing won’t ever hurt.
I love how they made the banana spring rolls without appearing cheap, well they clearly have better quality, presentation skill and put more thought to it, as for Indonesians, we sure know that we have “gorengan” or deep fried banana that’s usually sold at street stalls. Again, I think the cons to this dessert was the pricing. The habit to stop comparing the currency could be essential when you’re actually travelling, but I know sometimes you just can’t help it! It’s IDR 160k in IDRs and yes it’s bloddy expensive. People will convert to the main courses instead.


Must say I had quite an enjoyable dinner. Most of the food I ordered was nice and some just need a little fix, but hey that’s normal. I don’t know if I can see PF Chang’s working in Jakarta. If you read my Texas Roadhouse review, yes I believe they can work well here, jut because they offer good western comfort food such as steaks, burgers and the market here is bigger than the Asian fusion restaurants, and I believe TRH will be easily acceptable, while PF Chang’s lacking that unique x-factor, sometimes you need just more than good food, and if they finally open here in Jakarta, I imagined them to open in the SCBD area such as Mega Kuningan or probably SCBD Sudirman, and its main competitors would be either Ms. Choo, or my all time favorite, E&O.

Jesus I just realized I ate so much in Dubai!

DUBAI RESTAURANT REVIEWS: IHOP, SHAKE SHACK, TEXAS ROADHOUSE

PF Chang's China Bistro
The Beach JBR
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
04 419 0671
Average spending for two: 250 Dirham for two
Dresscode: smart casual
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Map for PF Chang's

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