If you dream of dining with George Clooney, then head to Taste of Fame in Dubai’s Sunset Mall. The waxwork-themed restaurant is something of a novelty in the UAE and you’re guaranteed to spot at least 13 celebs there every evening. As you walk up the red carpet, a pensive figure sits behind the receptionist desk and, upon closer inspection, it turns out that it’s Albert Einstein who’s waiting to meet and greet you.
Once inside, my dining companion and I were shown to a table in the middle of the restaurant with a view of the Incredible Hulk and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson.
The menu, as commonly found in Dubai’s mall restaurants, offered every cuisine under the sun, from Japanese and Middle Eastern to Italian and American. From starters, the edamame and spicy calamari went down well, although the tiny sliver of lemon and overly sweet dipping sauce let the seafood down.
For mains, at just Dh80, the Wagyu beef burger with French fries and pickles sounded too good to pass up. When it arrived, how- ever, the paltry patty was completely hidden by the bun and a tad dry. It was a pretty basic burger, which cried out for seasoning and home-made fries instead of the perfectly uniform shop-bought oven chips it was served with. A side of coleslaw or garnish would have also gone a long way on the taste and presentation front.
My guest had a craving for pad thai-style noodles with prawns, but we were told they were off the menu, so instead opted for nasi goreng. The Indonesian-style fried rice with prawns and chicken skewers, topped with an egg, was filling and bursting with flavour.
As the restaurant began to fill up, regulars clearly knew what to order and we looked on enviously as bubbling thin-crust pizzas were served straight from the lava-stone oven.
When we had initially asked our waiter what the house specials and best-sellers were, he pondered for a while before proudly saying: “Our cakes.” The proof was indeed in the pudding and the doorstopper slab of red velvet cake we were served left us speechless. The small bakery, in full view of the restaurant, is clearly churning out fresh first-rate dolce delights on a daily basis. An Oreo slab proved equally good and surprisingly light, given its key components. With dinner complete, it was time to take a final wander around the venue to take some obligatory pics. Justin Beiber’s figure completely stumped us, as he appeared to be pre-teen and distinctly red-headed. Some figures were hits, such as a very lifelike Amitabh Bachchan, and others definite misses, such as those of Will Smith and Halle Berry – or was it Posh Spice? When we visited, all the silicone statues happened to be dressed in kanduras for Ramadan and Eid, which made them slightly harder to identify.
Either way, the staff was incredibly accommodating of the many people who popped in just for a new Facebook profile picture.
Despite Sunset Mall being hauntingly quiet, with no shops open that night, the restaurant had a clear following and was packed with Emirati families. The friendly atmosphere was one of the restaurant’s strongest points, with people humming along to music videos by Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys.
At the end of the day, Taste of Fame is a fun stop-off if you’re looking for a quirky, family-friendly eatery. The food won’t leave you blown away, but your encounter with Clooney just might.
• A three-course meal for two at Taste of Fame costs Dh345. Visit www.thetasteoffame.com or call 04 338 8552 to book a table. All restaurant reviews are conducted incognito and paid for by The National