Prior to this blog, I was a freelance writer at one of the Dubai-based, lifestyle magazines and Reform was one of the first places I was tasked to visit. Being a firm favourite of mine already, due to its exceptional roasts, I sampled their full-English breakfast and my God it was so, so good.
With my parents in town and after a heavy night on the tiles, I couldn’t think of a better place to soothe our hangovers with some greasy-goodness.
One of my biggest frustrations in Dubai is that it’s extremely rare to find a place that maintains a high level of quality year-upon-year. Budgets get tighter, cuts need to be made and usually this reflects in poorer products being used, poorer staff being hired and continues until the public say, “ENOUGH!”. Reform on the other hand has broken this mould – I’ve been going since I moved here in 2011 and have never had a bad experience and never questioned the quality of their produce.
We arrived at around 10am and the place was packed as usual – we were led to the bar area where we had to sit due to the dining room being full, completely our fault for not making a reservation so no harm done.
I proudly proclaimed that nobody needed to see the menu and to just to order the Full English. I still remember the thick, deliciously-meaty bacon, the tasty, herby sausages, the generosity on the plate – it really couldn’t come quick enough in my eyes.
The first items to arrive were the coffees; I’m a huge fan of a nice strong coffee and this place has always served a decent brew in an acceptable-sized cup. Today however, I was served something that closely resembled (in taste and looks) dishwater, it was absolutely terrible – and to make things worse, IT WAS SERVED IN A PAPER CUP! Now, don’t get me wrong if I’m on the go, I don’t mind popping into Caribou for a quick coffee to take away, but when I’m paying double the price, I don’t expect it to be served this way “because we’re low on mugs!”. How can you be low on mugs?! Deary me.
I was hoping that when the breakfast arrived my disappointment would subside – it didn’t. What was once thick and beautiful was now a soggy, fatty, cheap, poor example of bacon. The sausage – although still herby, was clearly a downgrade on the thick, succulent one before and even the scrambled eggs were like something you’d expect to scoop from a hotel breakfast buffet. They couldn’t even get the toast right. Limp & pathetic I had to send it back to be re-grilled.
We didn’t stick around – we finished it off, paid and left, ashamed of the calorie to enjoyment ratio of what we just had.
I’m used to disappointment from being on the Dubai dining scene, but this hurt. It’s a place I always send my friends when they ask me where does good English grub and now I need to re-evaluate.
FOOD: 4/15 – What was once a high-quality, super Full English is now a sloppy mess.
SERVICE: 8/15 – Pretty average. No cohesion from the staff with toast order and bill coming twice from different members.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3/5 – Had what you’d want from a breakfast menu, juices, teas and coffees – but get some more bloody mugs ordered – mugs.
AMBIANCE: 4/5 – Busy, family-friendly place. Feels like you’re back in the UK.
DESIGN: 3/5 – Nice, homely pub, although I’ll never not notice the horrific sticker work of the logo on the windows.
VALUE: 2/5 – Even with the 50% Entertainer discount it was still overpriced for the cheapness of all the produce.