I was at the launch of the very first Pancake House in the UAE at Burjuman in October last year, and have since found my favorite spot in the city for the fluffiest, dreamy-delicious pancakes (yes, they really do live up to their name!).
The Filipino chain has since opened shop in the eclectic food-court of The Dubai Mall with a restaurant space of their own. I was at the mall a week ago, straight out of work with my work-mates. Having had an extremely busy day and famished from skipping lunch, I suggested we try out the new branch… we were in that peckish zone where we wanted something decadent, yet not as full-on as mainstream lunch or dinner.
My Filipino colleague was all game, especially when I told her about their iconic ‘Halo Halo’. Translating to ‘mixed, mixed’, this popular Filipino dessert can be compared to a Sundae. It is served in a tall glass with shaved ice, scoops of ice-cream, sweet yam, egg custard, red beans, and more. The recipe ‘mix’ varies by region and chef.
I think I drew up the ‘Halo Halo’ image pretty decadently, because as soon as we sat down to make an order, she decided to have her Halo Halo first, before the starters or main-course! My other friend and I wanted pancakes for dessert, so the three of us started our meal with dessert!
As the Halo Halo pictured above is enormous and can easily feed a group of three, my Halo Halo loving friend ordered the smaller glass. I think her delighted expression says it all… she loved it, and said it was a richer version of what she’s had before with more dessert and less ice.
I decided to try out The Pancake House’s Banana & Walnut Pancakes. Topped with a cloud of whipped butter and drizzled with banana syrup, chopped banana and walnuts, this dish would make for an absolutely delicious breakfast. What I loved best about these ultra soft, fluffy pancakes was the fact that each pancake was also stuffed with mashed banana. This plate was stacked with three banana-stuffed pancakes, and boy does it satiate a hungry tummy!
My colleague tried their Blueberry Pancakes, and like mine, they were stuffed with a blueberry mix, topped with whipped butter and drizzled with blueberry syrup. The blueberry version is lighter than banana, and you get 4 pancakes on the plate.
The staff tell us their secret to great pancakes is a) the pancake flour is made of a secret mix that is sent down from the parent company in the Philippines, b) the pancake mix is only whipped together and smothered onto the hot pan once an order has been ringed in.
The Pancake House has a deceptive name. Apart from serving the best pancakes in town, their menu covers many Filipino favorites.
Love Spring Rolls? I am not a fan, but really enjoyed the Filipino equivalent called ‘Lumpiang Toge’. These crisp golden-brown deep-fried parcels are stuffed with bean sprouts, cabbage, carrot, rice noodles, minced chicken and shrimp and is served with a special vinegar dip. Great choice for starters.
Craving noodles? I’d highly recommend the ‘Palabok Bihon’ at The Pancake House. This dish uses fine, translucent and absolutely soft rice noodles that is served with ground chicken tinapa flakes, boiled egg and scallion, and topped with a rich shrimp sauce.
Apart from their pancakes, my favorite dish at The Pancake House is their selection of tacos. They’ve given the humble Mexican taco a major twist by serving it in a crunchy, deep-fried shell. Choose from fish, beef and Chicken Adobo. My personal favorite is the fish.
Talking about fish, the salmon dish at The Pancake House is absolutely divine. I love my salmon pink and slightly under-done with a crisp skin. You’d be surprised how many fine-dining institutions get this wrong. Who would have thought a casual diner can deliver salmon this good? Trust me, it tastes better than it looks.
The next time you happen to be at The Dubai Mall, do give The Pancake House’s latest branch a try. I bet you’ll be thanking me for the recommendation, and you won’t have to queue up for a table in this ultra-busy foodcourt either. Bon apetit!