An American Chain Making Unforgivable Mistakes

I don’t think there is anything more disappointing than when a good restaurant goes bad. When you come to expect a certain level of service and food from somewhere and then one day it all just disappears. Uno in Dubai Mall is one of those restaurants.

I remember many, many years ago when Uno first opened in City Centre, I remember exactly what my brother and I would order every time we went and I know that is was the best part about making the trek to Deira. I also remember when Dubai Mall opened and Uno was one of the first restaurants that opened there and the food was good, the service was good and the restaurant had people in it.

This week however, something changed. We were hungry while doing some Christmas shopping and decided on Uno, I feel like we should have thought this through a bit more considering it was dinner time, the mall was packed and there were only two tables seated…but we didn’t. We were seated quickly of course and given our menus, the first thing I noticed was that they had taken the pizza skins off the appetizers – the one thing I went to Uno for! So I was more than a little upset by that but we moved on and all chose what we wanted to eat so menus were closed and we waited.

We waited a little more.

Then we had to ask for a someone to take our order, and it still took someone a while to come over. First I ordered a starter for us to share, the Chicago Tasting Plate which comes with buffalo wings, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and fries. I was asked if I wanted the chicken spicy and I was confused, did she mean the wings and the tenders? Because if so no. Was there an option to have spicy tenders because still no. I asked her what she meant and she just repeated herself. So I asked again with a little more clarity to my question. Still she just repeated herself, wearing thin my short temper. I then asked very specifically if she meant all the chicken because there were two options, to which she interrupted me mid sentence to ask very curtly did we want sauce on the wings or not, to which the answer was yes.

We then ordered mains and drinks which went quite smoothly and so we awaited our food. It wasn’t too long before the starter turned up – buffalo wings sans sauce – and while it tasted good (it was a plate of deep fried stuff it isn’t hard to mess up) it didn’t look overly appealing, there was zero presentation it was all just piled on there. But that didn’t stop us digging in.

We then received out main courses. My dad had ordered the apparently “hand made” California Burger, I am not sure if Uno’s definition of hand made differs from the norm but the burger did not look or taste hand made, it was over processed tasteless meat that had been way too over cooked and tasted as if it had been frozen. It was so horrible that he ended up having maybe three bites at the most and just ate the rest of what was on his plate. My Chicken Spinoccoli was okay, a little bland and needed a good amount of seasoning, there wasn’t even any saltiness coming through from the feta. The two pizzas that were ordered were good, other than when my brother found mushrooms in his when he had made a specific point of asking for there to be none.

At one point the manager popped her head over the back of the booth behind myself and my dad and asked how the food was, when the comments about the burger were made she just stood there awkwardly and remained hovering for a few minutes completely ignoring our comments before wandering off. Once we had all finished our meals, feeling less than satisfied we tried to get the bill – I say tried because despite there only being two other tables in the restaurant there wasn’t a member of staff in sight, when we did see someone we had to call out excuse me at least 6 times before the host at the entrance heard and had to gesture to the waitress someone was trying to get her attention. When she did come over she was very rude and had an attitude from hell, anyone would think we had asked her to get us something obscene and not just a simple bill. She cleared the table of all the plates but my dads and returned with the bill.

It was the wrong bill. Not even a similar one. So we asked for the manager, it was all just too much, so she popped her head up the back of the booth again and my dad explained the issues with the food, the service and now the wrong bill, and her reasoning for the wrong bill – the waitress doesn’t work these tables here area is on the other side of the room so she printed one of those – I still need someone to explain that logic to me. Then after five minutes of her begging us to come back again when we had clearly said the likelihood of that happening was minimal she got us our correct bill. She had been kind enough to give us a 15% discount but then proceeded to try bribe us to come back by saying if we agreed she’d give us another 15% off we told her no and she insisted over and over which just left us all irritated, disappointed and still a little bit hungry.

I can’t say I will be revisiting Uno again anytime soon.

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