It will make you gasp with excitement when you see that the coffee shop from the 90's hit TV show, Friends, is reinvented in Dubai. Here's another fun fact: The recurring cameo character Gunther, madly and shyly in love with Rachel, was there for the opening.
You can find the coffee shop on the cobble stoned Jumeirah road where palm trees are aligned down the center for a Hollywood Boulevard feel. But as exciting as it may sound, it was a disappointing visit and unsurprising that the shop lacked a crowd.
It is called Central Perk, a play on words of New York City's famous Central Park, and the main hangout for the beloved Friends characters. Yet, the only accurate imitation is the logo.
The shop is clad with a cheap looking orange couch and a tacky flower painting above it. The couch is bland, not centered on the wall and placed in a corner, proving to be a weak attempt at a proper reinvention.
There is no warm vibe that beats in the coffee shop as it does in the show, especially since it is not warmly lit. The tacky and unreal, dispersed set-up doesn't give it a cozy feel as seen on TV. There is also an outside set-up of fake grass, white patio furniture and lampposts. This was a very out of TV show set-up as it does not pertain to the show's coffee shop as well as the New York City atmosphere.
Aside from the disappointment in the set-up, I tried to give the service a chance to prove itself otherwise. The coffee was not served in the large coffee cups that we saw on the show and there was nothing special about the hot chocolate and the coffee as it was plain with no unique flavor or creativity. They had sweets, fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes and light foods such as sandwiches and starters. I chose to order the apple pie and it arrived almost frozen in its aluminium case, only edible for one bite.
The idea is a good business initiative and ode to Friends, however, the execution is a complete failure.