Here’s where you’ll find the best of the bunch.
Now that brunch is officially both a noun and a verb in Dubai, we felt it was our civic duty to sample some…
For a little bit of everything: The Secret Garden brunch, Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah
The lowdown: The Secret Garden brunch separates from the fold by being un-brunchy – meaning it’s not overcrowded, the music (jazzy remixes of Italian numbers) won’t make you scream over each other and the variety of food, from rosemary crusted rib eye joint to red snapper ceviche to beef brisket to the deepest of dark chocolate ganache is wonderful.
The extras: As you take your seat, a waiter (or two) will choreograph a beautiful wooden centre piece on your table made up of cheeses, pickles, a glass bowl of crunchy leaves and super slices of meats e.g. salami with pillowy breads thrown in for that Italian measure.
Why go: The triple cooked chips aren’t something you typically see in a buffet set up so that is a novelty in itself. And we can guarantee these will unknowingly be stacked on your plate to capacity. If you’re going to pick any condiment to scoop a chip in, the butter and truffle sauce is just divine and is the taste equivalent of walking on air –the saffron with aioli is a close second.
The details: Every Friday starting from 13:00-16:00. Dhs390 inclusive of soft drinks and Dhs490 with house beverages and Dhs500 for sparkling beverages. Visit: waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
For a Saturday brunch: Aji, Club Vista Mare Palm Jumeirah
The lowdown: Now that Saturday brunch is as much a thing as Friday brunch, Aji have created a compact Saturday menu of firm favourites from their a la carte menu including salmon ceviche with lemongrass and mango, matsu maki sushi (that’s cream cheese, shrimp, teriyaki and lime to me and you) and tenderloin steak with Peruvian potatoes (breaded on the outside). All is unlimited except the mains and the dessert, but that’s fine because you can seriously fill up the ceviche and sushi.
The extras: You’ll be serenaded (more like swinging) to live music by a duo – ours were from Columbia/Portugal on the day – who far out sing the corny lobby sound you get in some hotels.
Why go: While the interiors are Latin American hot (think colour and more colour) the veranda outside in touching distance to the beach is what gives your experience that extra touch. The dessert mini platter is an Instagrammable treat: chocolate lava cake, yuzu cheese cake and choco mocha – they’re all bite size (so no guilt) and strewn between delightful edible petals.
The details: Every Saturday starting from noon-16:00. Dhs290 inclusive of soft drinks and Dhs460 with house beverages. Visit: aji.ae
For 50 flavours of Vietnam: Hoi An, Shangri-La Dubai
The lowdown: When it comes to Asian cuisine, it is the Thai, the Chinese and the Indian that would automatically come to mind. Once you get a taste of the flavours from Vietnam, though, Hoi An will be dominating your taste-buds for a long time to come. Sit amidst rich reds and dark woods and wait for the brother sister team to deliver the highest standards of cuisine and hospitality.
The extras: Not your regular brunch, this one is brought to your table by very friendly staff. The slow live music blends in with the atmosphere and relaxing mood.
Why go: To get a taste of true Vietnam in all its fresh and flavoursome glory. And of course, the cooked-to-order tapas and mouth-watering hot pot.
The details: Every Friday and Saturday from 12.30-16:00. Dhs205 per person inclusive of soft drinks and Dhs310 per person with house beverages. Visit: shangri-la.com
For a French Riviera experience: Traiteur, Park Hyatt Dubai
The lowdown: Can you think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon than sitting on the banks of the winding Dubai creek feasting on gourmet French delights and soaking up the grandeur of it all? As you choose between the different kinds of cheeses, charcuterie, terrines, meats seafood, do save some room for the utterly and deliciously sinful treats. From ice-creams to crêpes to chocolate fountains and cakes the choice is endless.
The extras: Wander through the open kitchen as chefs serve up Burgundy snails, pan-seared foie gras, scallops and freshly shucked Fine de Claire oysters. The live American band and in-house DJ hit the right tunes and blends into making it a magical time.
Why go: Well, we don’t know why you wouldn’t want to. Sweeping views of the marina, sunlit glinting waters of the creek, green landscape, sumptuous cuisine and Instagram gold are just some of the cool reasons.
The details: Every Friday from 13:00-16:00. From Dhs495 per person inclusive of soft drinks to the Dhs895 per person with premium beverages. Visit: traiteur-brunch.thepromenadedxb.com
For a daycation with touches of Polynesia: Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resort
The lowdown: A cheery ‘aloha’ along with a welcome flower garland greets you as soon as you step into the reception of Lapita Dubai. It actually sets the mood for a spirited, laughter and food-filled afternoon. It’s not only Polynesian delights that’s on offer here its 200 dishes from across the oceans including sushi, seafood, carving stations and delicious Indian food.
The extras: For meat lovers BBQ grill station is a definite must and Poisson Cru, Tahiti’s national dish made with tuna marinated in lime juice, veges and fresh coconut milk comes highly recommended.
Why go: For a daycation that not only feeds you delights from the South Pacific and beyond but also lets you soak up the sun (don’t forget your sunscreen) with a refreshing dip or two in the outdoor pools or the lazy river
The details: Every Friday from 13:00-17:00. From Dhs245 per person inclusive of soft drinks to the Dhs345 per person with house beverages. Visit: lapitadubaihotel.com
For an all-encompassing British brunch: The Croft Brunch Nation, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites
The lowdown: This British Brunch is inspired by a blend of cultures and tastes across the commonwealth nations. The journey begins with Australia – starting with cold appetisers that take you from Sydney to New South Wales. Through the flavours of Asia, enjoy the best from Indonesia to China and Beijing to Canton. Take the spice route of India (perfect for spice lovers relishing dishes from Punjab to Mumbai) to the main destination: Britain. In the end, taste the sweet side of the journey; Britain’s all-time favourite sweet treats. Experience all of this as you indulge in the mellifluous live music and interactive kitchen.
The extras: You are welcomed with a warm wooden slate of wide variety of breads, complimented by the chef’s burnt butter and parsley-garnished cream cheese. The waiters orchestrate a lovely spread of salads; ranging from wagyu beef pasta salad to slow braised beef short rib with drinks.
Why go: There’s something for everyone! You can’t go wrong at The Croft. We were served Australian, Asia cuisine (steaming-hot dumplings), Indian cuisine (butter chicken and lamb madras, and the final was the British traditional mashed potato, mutton with herbs reached a new culinary level. Don’t forget to save room for dessert – from baked yogurt to bread and butter pudding, English trifle, red velvet cake, chocolate mud cake créme brulee, or sticky toffee pudding.
The details: Every Friday from 12:30- 15:30 (Dessert runs until 16:00). Dhs399 with house beverages. Visit: marriottharbourdubaidining.com
For the definitive Japanese: Nobu, Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah
The lowdown: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is something of a culinary legend the world over. His Japanese with a twist legacy gave birth to the most cutting-edge food experience which silences even the most die-hard foodies. So, on Fridays at Nobu, you get your food passport and you can order the most iconic dish from each Nobu – from Los Angeles you get your black cod yuzu miso, from Milan you get grilled salmon with crispy spinach and from Britain, you get a full English with a matcha spin to the whole thing. Very interesting indeed.
The extras: Some very loud but entertaining live Japanese style drumming at various intervals – they rouse up diners to join in too. Think of The Last Samurai on max volume. And as well as the a la carte brunch, there’s a buffet of sumptuous sushi: we cleared the wagyu beef with truffle sauce in minutes.
Why go: To say you’ve been to a Nobu is to say you’ve hit the fine dining jackpot. The food lives up to its reputation too.
The details: Every Friday from noon-15:00. Dhs395 for the soft package and Dhs650 with bubbles. Visit: atlantisthepalm.com/restaurants/nobu
For an over-the-water seafood dining experience: Pierchic at Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah
The lowdown: On top of a long wooden jetty in front of the Jumeirah Al Qasr hotel’s beaches, Head Chef Paolo Bellamio has curated the ultimate seafood Friday brunch – guaranteed to make the most seasoned Dubai bruncher swoon. The uninterrupted views of the Gulf from every table paired with Pierchic’s exquisite selection of under-the-sea delicacies including Canadian Lobster, Dutch Mussels and Norwegian Salmon keep guests returning.
The extras: Once on the pier the view of the Burj al Arab will provide some enviable photo opportunities for the Instagram obsessed in your group. Numerous courses of seafood were delivered by a friendly and knowledgeable staff while the cocktail choices were also one for the books. We recommend the Southside and the Moscow Mule.
Why go: One guest in our party keeps to a vegan diet, which Pierchic happily catered to with a wild mushroom risotto, lemon sorbet, tomato soup and an exotic fruit plate to boot. Guests may also opt for a vegetarian or non-seafood brunch.
The details: Every Friday from 12:30-16:00. From Dhs395 inclusive of soft drinks to Dhs750 for the bubbly package. Guests are encouraged to dress with a touch of white.
For that Australian outback feeling: Bushman’s, Anantara The Palm, Dubai
The lowdown: What can be better than lazing at Bushman’s on a Saturday. It is so wonderfully laid-back, that you strive to get up for a refill. Very few places in Dubai keep such a relaxed vibe while maintaining superb levels of service. It taps into the heritage of Aussie cuisine, with dishes you’re unlikely to find in many restaurants such as kangaroo and crocodile’s meat.
The extras: The short ribs and oysters are so juicy and tasty. Passion fruit Margarita is a good choice to go along with the yummy buffet. And you really can’t beat some succulent steak, cooked however you eat you desire.
Why go: Anantara on The Palm already feels like you’re a world away, and at Bushman’s the added live band element to the Saturday brunch makes you feel like you’ve gone on holiday. w
The details: Every Saturday from 13:00-16:00. From Dhs265 per person including soft beverages to Dhs380 per person with house beverages, beach and pool access.
For some Mexican fun and flair: Peyote, DIFC
The lowdown: Fundamentally this is Mexican cuisine – but with a contemporary, fine dining twist. In true sharing style, this brunch sees dishes brought to your table so you get a taste of everything at once. Look out for the purple quesadilla.
The extras: There’s remarkable attention to detail from start to finish. It is very well designed for convenience with nonchalant vibes and soft music to enjoy your food in good company.
Why go: From the condensed and flavourful texture of the avocado to the crispy calamari served with jalapeño mayo, every dish comes with a kick.
The details: Every Friday from 12.30pm-16:00 at DIFC. From Dhs375 with soft drinks to Dhs475 with house beverages.
Call it a night out: Hot spots for dinner dates
For sharing everything: Asia de Cuba Dubai
The lowdown: Asia de Cuba is our new mid-week go-to. Its innovative menu created by Latino Chef Luis Pous serves up small sharing plates including salmon ceviche, tuna tartare with crispy wontons and braised beef spring rolls or choose from their mouthwatering entrees including miso glazed seabass and lobster with udon noodles. The quirky Latino décor, bubbly staff and charming atmosphere add to the Cuban vibe.
The extras: Check out the live Latino band every Tuesday to Friday from 21:00.
Why go: Grab your girlfriends after work and enjoy a range of classic cocktails over delicious sharing plates.
The details: Asia De Cuba Dubai, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina (04) 5117333
For Ibiza vibes: Blue Marlin Ibiza, UAE
The lowdown: Saturday’s at this Ibiza institution are a little more relaxed than its wilder Fridays.
Grab a cabana on the new pool terrace and enjoy a mix of artisan cocktails whilst soaking up the sun. Brunch is served tapas-style from live cooking stations, with a new menu each week including a range of fresh sushi platters, grilled meats and light summer salads.
The extras: Each week sees live entertainment from singers, international DJs and dance acts.
Why go: Escape the city for chilled Balearic beach vibes that take you back to long hot summers in Europe.
The details: The beach and terrace is Dhs340 per person. Visit: bluemarlinibiza-uae.com
For the ultimate girl’s night out: The Backyard, Steigenberger Hotel, Business Bay
The lowdown: Steigenberger Hotel in Business Bay is abuzz with cool hangouts. Our top pick for a relaxed yet fun night out is at The Backyard – an urban terrace that practically spells out Friday night chill. Chef Anan prepares super Thai street food for quick and filling bites.
The extras: Big tip: drop in before sunset for majestic views and thank us later.
Why go: There’s an offer of unlimited selected beverages for the first 100 ladies.
The details: The Backyard, Steigenberger Hotel, Business Bay (04) 369 0000
Top image: Aji