We arrive at PF Chang’s on a Friday afternoon ravenous and intrigued (exactly how it should be). I’d been hearing all over town about their famous Dynamite dishes but hadn’t had the opportunity to try one myself until now.
Unfortunately, when we get there, it’s packed to the rafters so we’re given a buzzer and the instruction to wander about a bit until it goes off. The lovely hostesses tell us it’ll take ten to twenty minutes (as my stomach growls) but it actually takes less than five. We race back to the table, sit and have a look around. As we’re near to the back, we love that we don’t have the overwhelming feeling that we’re in a mall-based restaurant. The décor is well done, Asian-inspired (of course) and certainly enhances the experience.
We sit and watch as waiters whizz about with giant plates of delicious looking dishes. Oh, and almost every tray has some kind of Dynamite variation on it, being served nicely in a cocktail glass.
So we turn our attentions to the menu but find it hard to narrow it down to just a few dishes. It takes at least ten minutes and two visits from the waiter before we decide. The Dynamite Shrimp is a given but we also go for the spring rolls, Chang’s spicy chicken, spicy eggplant and the vegetable lo mein noodles. We realise after the friendly yet harried waiter leaves that it’s possible we over-ordered but our stomachs at that moment are full of anticipation.
We don’t have to wait long until our own Dynamite dish comes flying out of the kitchen, along with the spring rolls. We dive straight in and we’re glad we took everyone’s advice. Sure, it’s just battered shrimp with a creamy yet tangy aioli sauce and a sprinkling of veg tossed in but it just works so well. However, we’re not as enamoured by the spring rolls, as although they are perfectly crunchy on the outside, the ingredients within leave you with a slightly bitter and unappealing aftertaste (no matter how much sweet chilli sauce you douse it in).
Once we’re done, our mains arrive and the plates are cleared. At this point, we’re decidedly impressed with the efficient service seeing as the place is large and packed. But we have mixed reactions to our mains. The spicy eggplant is full of flavour and the noodles are exactly what I wanted them to be, while the chicken dish, which turns out to be pieces of fried chicken in a sauce, is a bit too sweet and lacking in spice for my dining companion’s liking.
We still manage to eat a fair bit from our incredibly generous portions – which is no understatement – and have to take the dishes home with us as there’s so much left (they’re given to us in cute, classic Chinese take-out style boxes). There’s no way we have room for dessert either, which is a shame, but leaves us a good reason to go back.
It’s easy to see why PF Chang’s has done so well all over the world. If you’re starving and in the mood for something a little greasy but classier than the fast food joints then look no further.
But it’s not the type of place you’d go for five-star Chinese cuisine. Go at the right time bearing this in mind, make sure you order the Dynamite Shrimp, and you’ll never be disappointed.
The bill (for two) 1 x 7 Up BD1 1 x small still water BD0.950 1 x spring rolls BD1.950 1 x Dynamite shrimp BD4.5 1 x Chang’s chix BD5.950 1 x Lo Mein BD4.950 1 x spicy eggplant BD3.750 Total BD23.500
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com