We are talking cheesecakes; deep, rich and decorated and present in many tempting forms.
For a start, be prepared to wait for a table at peak times – since its arrival in the UAE, this American chain has become a favourite across the cultural demographic.
The branches at Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates never seem to be void of customers, and the equally sizeable outlet at The Beach, just over from JBR, is no exception.
The Cheesecake Factory, even around 3pm on a Sunday, is already awash with busy booths and chatting customers.
Faced with a 15-minute wait and the weather cooling nicely, we opt for one of the balcony tables with good views of the emerging Dubai Eye and the water sports in between Blue Water Island and the seafront.
Although there’s a great vibrancy to the interior, as summer begins to dial down the heat this is a case of serendipity.
Fresh from the beach, we’re thirsty so it’s a little frustrating to find The Cheesecake Factory offering only pricy imported water rather than a ‘local’ domestic H20 option.
It’s a minor grumble as the menu offers a wealth of opportunities, starting with small plates and snacks veering from Greek Salad and Crispy Crab Bites to Mini Corn Dogs, Pizzettas and Pretzel Crusted Chicken.
And drinks involve a little imagination too; from a Passion Fruit Mohito and Berry Spritzer to a Lemon Mint Cooler and Frozen Ice Mango, there are some enticing, flavour-packed refreshments on offer, as well as creamy milkshakes that include one blended with Oreo biscuits (not the only thing embracing Oreo here).
Although Cheesecake Factory first timers, we’ve arrived primed with info about portion sizes – they rally don’t stint.
So, with one eye on those cheesecakes witnessed on the way in, salads seem to be the way forward.
While the Super Antioxidant Salad and Kale & Quinoa Salad sound a tad too well behaved, the California Guacamole Salad and Vegan Cobb are both healthy and packed with flavour.
In the case of the former a mildly spicy avocado dressing tops off a wholesome mix of mixed greens, tomato, corn onion, black beans, radish, feta cheese and cilantro, avocado and crispy tortillas to add further texture.
It’s a filling blend without the guilt, as is the Vegan Cobb Salad with its harmony of lettuce topped with grilled asparagus, roasted beets, green beans and avocado, cucumber, tomato, quinoa, almonds, sunflower seeds and garbanzo beans, tossed in a house vinaigrette.
Not wishing to be entirely righteous, the Factory Burger turns out to be a halfway house between a full-blown beef blowout and a big snack.
Falling under a ‘glamburgers’ section that includes a heavy-sounding Macaroni & Cheese Burger, our choice is charbroiled beef with cheddar, tomato and grilled onions, all served in a chewy sourdough bread which gives it a decadent sandwich feel.
In fact, there are more than 250 items on the menu.
That certainly supplies plenty of excuses – and opportunity – to return; several times, in fact, without ever having the same dish twice.
Then there are the sandwiches – Pit Beef Dip catches our attention – and eggs & omelettes; the Chorizo And Avocado option is on our wishlist.
But, so too, is the delicacy after which this vibrant restaurant chain - founded nearly 40 years ago in Beverly Hills - is named…
They say you eat with your eyes – probably not the best idea in reality – and this section offers the best chance to check out what you are getting.
Having long been something of a cheesecake fanatic, underlined by a trip to Lindy’s in New York for arguably the highlight of my cheesecake-devouring career, my expectations of The Cheesecake Factory are high.
But, alas, yet to be put to the test…
Having filled up on salad and burgers – with a plan to chow down on a cheesecake – we are left to ponder that chiller cabinet and what will be next time.
Crying out to be indulged are the Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Mousse varieties, the Mango Key Lime and Ultimate Red Velvet Cake options, and the Caramel Pecan Turtle and Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake cheesecakes.
Watch this space...
A CHEESECAKE serving starts at 28AED, with most typically costing 34AED.
THE Factory Burger, with fries, is priced 58AED
CALIFORNIA Guacamole Salad costs 50AED
VEGAN Cobb Salad is priced 58AED
VISIT www.thecheesecakefactory.com for locations, timings and menu