With IHOP’s multiple locations in Kuwait, there is now a full-scale, all-day breakfast place serving up a bevy of international favorites. Originally known as the International House of Pancakes, it seems fitting then, to be sitting at the first of its kind in Kuwait, where even the name rings of a bold self-fulfilling prophecy.
A US institution that has been churning out variations of buttermilk flapjacks since 1958, IHOP has grown into a pancake powerhouse, by bringing a local, family diner type appeal to the broader US, one neighborhood at a time (that’s roughly 1500 neighborhoods at present, mind you). Having long since added additional menu items for both lunch and dinner options, they now represent all-day dining at its finest, with myriad options, across several specialties. At this new location, they offer 311 seats of dining divided seemingly evenly, between the indoor part of the restaurant itself, and the outdoor-like seating found behind it, in a relaxing courtyard area. For my money, the courtyard area is more relaxing, with its calming quiet atmosphere, and slowed down pace; it simply does not feel like you are in the mall.
The thing that I personally found most pleasing about the food is how much they were able to keep the same flavor and consistency as their restaurants in the States. With so many menu items serving variations of meats it would be easy to get this part wrong. However, via their use of beef bacon, turkey ham, and veal sausage-the latter of which was an exceptional standout- they definitely got it right. So, best sellers like the Big Steak Omelet, or the Beef Bacon Temptation Omelet, taste almost exactly as they do back home and not like a replacement type item.
When asked how they were able to achieve this, they noted “we used the flavor profile as the barometer by which to measure the success of the food” as opposed to cost or other metrics typically associated with brands abroad, “so when there was a chance to, we would source local, but not if it were to sacrifice the flavor or experience.” In context, for those of you familiar with the brand, it is this writer’s humble opinion that this will be evident at first bite. It also pops up again via fresh squeezed juices, and other add-ons geared for the local market.
The international component to the brand pops up time and again though menu items as diverse as Fajita omelet and crepes for breakfast, or quesadillas and Mediterranean Chicken at dinner that can satisfy different culinary cravings at the same table. The kids’ menu also makes IHOP a pleasant family destination; It’s nice to know then that while your child is having a “Funny Face Pancake” (a chocolate chip pancake dusted with powdered sugar and a whipped topping smile), the parents can still have a steak.
The only way to fully cover the breadth of the menu is to break it down by time of day, which admittedly, seems a bit superfluous given that they make all of these items available all the time. But alas…with more than 7 distinctly different variations on pancakes alone (some of which include classics like buttermilk or blueberry, to the more adventurous CINN-A-STACK or Chocolate options) as well as virtually endless opportunities to add them as a side in both regular and short-stack variations, this part of the menu could keep you busy for months. Of all the ones I personally tried, the CINN-A-STACK was simply—gorgeous. Also rich in flavor, I think I would love nothing more than having one of these as a dessert, with any variation of an Espresso drink or Bottomless Coffee, whilst bouncing between stores at the mall. They also have Waffles, French toast (go stuffed with cream cheese on these for a real treat), and 7 different types of crepes- both savory and sweet. Beyond that, all the normal omelet options and classics like eggs benedict, and steak and eggs, will have you dizzy with delight, by the time you get through the menu.
For lunch they have soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers all accompanied by delicious sides to make for a light yet filling lunch. Their combo options here as well give the less ambitious diner a chance for a lighter meal via smaller portions, paired together, of soup, salad, sandwich, and fruit combinations. As for the burger, the beef bacon and egg cheeseburger is a strong, albeit biased, way to go. Something about an egg, subtly cooked, which oozes yolk down the sides of a savory burger, that has an extra melted cheese-like quality of moist deliciousness to it. Again though, yolks aren’t for everyone. For those who are looking for leaner options, they have “Simple and Fit” versions of almost all plates that are available at your request. Whether it is the burger sans bun, less cheese overall, or lite dressing, they are working to provide you options that you can feel good about as well.
For your dinner options, or Hearty Meals- as they are listed at on the menu, you again have your pick of some unexpected items. In addition to several appetizer options, and several salads, they also have fish and shrimp plates. The aforementioned steak comes in the form of both T-bone, as well as a sirloin steak tip dish that was both tender and flavorful. Personally, after years of eating the country-fried steak they offer I would be happy enough to just have that. While they additionally offer more than 7 different types of desserts, of which the Cappuccino cake seems a special standout, as a personal fan of anything that smacks of “breakfast for dinner,” you really could not go wrong with just getting any of their pancake plates to cap the meal off with a bit of sweetness. One other point of note is that they offer a children’s menu in all three of these day-parts as well, giving them just as much versatility of choice.
As they currently have plans of continued growth in the GCC region (and in Kuwait specifically), don’t be surprised to find their international take on all-day breakfast in a neighborhood near you soon. But more importantly, the all-day breakfast also means that they offer all-day lunch, and all-day dinner-basically not bound by the traditional menu requirements as dictated by the ever-ticking clock. Which makes them a viable solution to whatever you are craving for, when you are craving it, and especially when your group’s collective cravings don’t match. Bon appetit!
IHOP is located on the first floor, The Mall – The Avenues (2228 3112), 1st Avenue – The Avenues (2228 3874), Divonne in Abu Hasaniya (2220 6125) and JabriyaLand in Block 1 in Jabriya (2221 4862 /66)