Living in the UAE it’s very likely that you’ve seen a lot of people kicking up quite a fuss recently on a range of social media platforms about finding a hidden key. Don’t worry, your close friends haven’t been locked out of their apartment nor have they developed an unhealthy obsession with DJ Khaled - it merely seems that they’ve got caught up into the hype surrounding Dubai Mall’s latest restaurant, Parker’s.
Those familiar with the Dubai food scene will likely remember when Parker’s first came to fruition as a pop-up concept last year, where, having been founded on the success of Salt on Kite Beach, it began to serve a variety of food ranging from pretzel chicken strips to fried mac & cheese to plenty of hungry customers. Not pleased with being only a bit-part player, Parker’s has finally found its permanent home at The Dubai Mall, adding yet another slider-serving dining option to the mall’s already bloated line-up.
What separates Parker’s from the ever-growing crowd is its unique gimmick that you need a key to be able to sample the outlet’s food. It’s a kitsch selling point, but also an admittedly good one, with golden keys being hidden around the city by the mysterious keeper of the park, Mr. Parker. No key means no entry. No entry means no food. No food means no likes on your latest Instagram post.
It’s the sort of marketing strategy that Willy Wonka would applaud, with Parker’s dropping hints on Snapchat and Instagram (both 'byparkers' as to the secret whereabouts of the keys. Recent posts have even seen Parker’s offering keys to anyone who can solve riddles they have posted.
It may all sound a bit convoluted, but once you’ve got a key, that’s it. You’re in. You get to join an exclusive clientele who were lucky enough to stumble upon entry. Well done. On the other hand, don’t fret if you’re useless at treasure hunting, as those lucky enough to enter can also gift their grateful friends a key for a chance to dine at Parker’s.
Because of this ability to share the experience it seems like only a matter of time before the restaurant opens its doors to all the poor key-less heathens out there who have a craving for the outfit’s latest offering of painfully fashionable food. This isn’t just food you eat. This is food you take a picture of before you eat. Happy key-hunting, everyone.