Big Chefs Studio is the second Dubai outpost of the Big Chefs restaurant chain that originated in Turkey and which is operated locally by the Jumeirah Group. Dare I say it’s like a Turkish Cheesecake Factory?
The menu is extensive. (Sound familiar?) They literally have something for everyone, with a range of juices, mocktails, salads, starters, pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, mains, and dessert (including three cheesecakes!)
The interior is decorated like a stylish and comfortable living room. One wall is lined with a statement bookshelf and book ladder. Next to this is a wood-burning stove (for decoration only) and a neatly arranged tower of firewood. The room is lit with mismatched pendant lights, and dotted around are a variety of dining tables and chairs with different upholstery. You feel like you could sit there for hours. (You might need a while to read the menu!)
We sampled the Chef’s Tapas sharing platter, which came with mini kibbehs, vine leaves, samosas, mini meatballs, fried goat cheese, fried sausage, chicken skewer and fries.
My favourite item on the platter (for novelty value, not necessarily taste) was the deep-fried slice of salami. A single thin slice of salami covered with dough like a disc and fried. Reminds me of a roulette chip.
One of my favourite dishes was the beğendi, a traditional Turkish dish of lamb served on a bed of eggplant puree. This version is served with meatballs.
The dessert selection isn’t massive, but there were a few items that took my fancy – two of which were in fact cheesecakes. I sampled the pumpkin cheesecake, a baked cheesecake that’s less dense and less sweet than what you get at The Cheesecake Factory. The look is deceiving though as you think it’s jam-packed with apricots but instead you find soft pieces of pumpkin inside. I liked it, but some guests in my party thought it was odd to find pumpkin in a dessert. The second “cheesecake” – the cheesecake brûlée with dried fig marmalade and vanilla ice cream – is on my must-try list for next time.
However, the dish I’ve been dreaming about ever since my visit is the third “cheesecake” on the menu. This is the künefe, the Turkish version of the famous Levantine dessert which layers a thin vermicelli dough with butter, syrup and a stretchy, melted mozzarella cheese. The Big Chefs version is a single serving and made with blueberries and pistachios.
This photo doesn’t quite do the künefe justice, but you get the idea!
Here’s our lovely waitress with two molten chocolate lava cakes. By this time we’re full up, but have a guess if we managed to eat those or not.
Verdict: A great place to meet up with friends. Once you get settled, you might want to stay a while.
Note to self: Two words: blueberry künefe
Big Chefs Studio
Al Wasl Road
Chow for now!