We visited Parker’s a number of months ago but it has taken us an age to actually sit down and write up our review.
Parker’s launched itself upon the unsuspecting Dubai dining scene late last year and instantly became a cultural phenomenon. From the team behind Salt, the concept is a simple one. Follow @ByParkers on SnapChat, locate one of the precious golden keys hidden somewhere on the streets of Dubai and there you have it… an exciting new dining concept is born.
The adventure of getting one of the elusive keys is all part of the fun and once guests obtain one, its good for all future visits to Parker’s and allows you to bring as many guests as you like. You cannot dine at Parker’s without a key and the craze has become so popular, that people sell them for hundreds of dirhams – though this obviously takes away all of the fun and makes the dining experience far less rewarding.
With key in hand, we excitedly headed to Al Khazan Park, distinguishable by its large blue and white water tower and located on the opposite side of the street from City Walk in Dubai’s Al Safa area. Parker’s is situated in a scruffy corner of the park and the dining area is exactly what you would expect from a pop-up. Wooden tables and chairs are scattered outside of a small building, where the food is ordered and collected from. At night the area takes on a far more atmospheric experience with the trees hung with dozens of fairy lights, looking as though fire flies have gathered in the night sky.
The menu at Parker’s is an experimental and ever-evolving affair. Appetisers include a beetroot and quinoa salad, the famous pretzel chicken sticks (taking influence from Salt’s famous chicken cheeto burger) in which chicken is coated in crushed pretzels and a smoked mustard sauce. For us though, it was all about the deep fried mac and cheese balls which are crisp on the outside and seductively gooey within.
Drinks are limited to Fiji water (our favourite kind of water), soft drinks and another quirky addition – the black lemonade. Labelled as ‘soil’, the beverage is black in colour and made from activated charcoal, which is apparently excellent for the immune system! Soil are an Abu Dhabi based company who mix edible charcoal with freshly pressed lemon juice to create this special blend, amongst a variety of other organic products.
Being the latest foodie craze, Parker’s have some interesting elements to their main courses, with the most obvious being the choco x coffee slider. A wagyu beef patty infused with coffee and white cheddar cheese, accompanied by beetroot and a chocolate coffee sauce! Now this combination may sound way to “out there” for some tastes, but please believe us when we say that this is a must try and the combination of sweet and savoury flavours works wonders on the palette.
Sliders are the name of the game at Parker’s, with crunchy chicken, Sriracha shrimp and smoked shawarma varieties also available. For vegetarians we recommend the quinoa iteration, which uses the super food to startling effect.
Overall the food is excellent but is not necessarily great value for money. For the price that you are paying, the portions are a little on the small side.
The desserts are what seem to be the main draw for most diners to Parker’s. From the “Back To School’ a delectable chocolate and peanut cake in which chocolate pencils are sharpened to provide an edible garnish.
During our visit the Lotus dessert was unfortunately unavailable, but looking at this Instagram image we are likely to return again just for this.
We loved the innovation of dining at Parker’s and other than the portion size, were very impressed with the food on offer. Now that we are in the height of summer (with daily temperatures approaching fifty degrees) the team at Parker’s have wisely moved out of the park and into the confines of the world’s largest mall – The Dubai Mall.
Don’t worry though, the hunt for keys is still on, check by the waterfall or under the umbrellas in the mall and you may be lucky enough to find Mr. Parker himself and one of those elusive keys. It’s certainly worth the hunt!
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