Ah, the glorious Dubai feast that is the Friday brunch. Here are some fresh-to-the-city options for those of you tired of the old classics…
Candypants Dim Sum Disco at Maiden Shanghai: Friday 1pm to 4pm
If you’re after a lively dining experience, head to Maiden Shanghai for the Dim Sum Disco. It’s hosted by Candypants, the party brand that runs events in Miami and Las Vegas, so don’t expect a quiet sit-down affair. You’ll be served a Chinese menu with dishes including chilli chicken, vegetable spring rolls, crispy beef and boom boom shredded chicken (our personal favourite), paired with free-flowing cocktails and champagne. If you want to keep the party going, the Drunch Disco takes over at the outdoor terrace from 4pm to 8pm, with three drinks for Dhs100 between 4pm and 6pm.
Our verdict: One of the city’s top party brunches.
Five Palm Jumeirah, Fridays 1pm to 4pm, Dhs395. Tel: (050) 220 4638. facebook.com/CandypantsEvents
Bulgari Yacht Club: Friday 12pm to 4pm
While Bulgari Yacht Club is mostly used by members and residents through the week, the waterfront spot has started welcoming non yacht owners with the launch of their new Friday brunch. The four-hour package runs from midday, and takes place at the nautically-themed yacht club restaurant. Unsurprisingly, the menu is heavily seafood focused, and starts with a half dozen fresh oysters, followed by the rest of the ‘Benvenuto’ course, which arrives as miniature servings of individual dishes such as smoked salmon, green pea puree with octopus, and cold watermelon gazpacho. The food from here is designed to be shared. Each course is light, but plentiful portions mean this feast fills you up fast. Afterwards, you’re invited to head down to the pristine pool deck where you can perch by the bar or head poolside to soak up the sun.
Our verdict: A seafood feast at a swanky address makes this a brunch with big potential.
Bulgari Yacht Club, Bulgari Resort & Residences Dubai, Jumeirah Bay Island, Fridays 12pm to 4pm, Dhs495 house, Dhs699 bubbly. Tel: (04) 777 5555. bulgarihotels.com
Morimoto: Friday 12.30pm to 4pm
Celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto pulls out all the stops for his brunch at the Renaissance Downtown. Start off with a drink at the Morimoto lounge bar, before heading downstairs to the restaurant. It’s a mix of dishes served to the table, as well as live cooking stations where you can help yourself from the open kitchen and an unlimited sushi bar. To drink, the brunch serves up a selection of themed cocktails and house beverages, or you can head to the dedicated sake bar to shake up some sake infusions. Live entertainment with a Japanese twist complements the package, as well as a DJ who spins lively beats.
Our verdict: A stunning venue with seriously good food.
Morimoto Dubai, Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, Fridays 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs350 soft, Dhs499 house, Dhs650 premium. Tel: (04 512 5577). morimotodubai.com
Crab Market: Friday 12.30pm to 4pm
When it comes to Crab Market’s weekly brunch, the clue is in the name. It kicks off with a tartare trio, followed by a crab platter featuring a whole mud crab, crab rolls, Kamchatka crab salad, crab frittatas and crab sliders. Although only one platter arrives first, you can order more of any or all of the dishes. For mains, it’s a choice of five a la carte options (from grilled octopus to creamy burrata ravioli), followed by a dessert trolley, where you can order generous portions of freshly prepared desserts. Entertainment comes in the form of a live band who play acoustic sets to begin with that merge into more lively hits.
Our verdict: Seafood lovers will be well looked after here.
Crab Market, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, Fridays 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs250 soft, Dhs350 house, Dhs600 premium. Tel: (04) 564 5525. crabmarket.com
Girders Garden: Friday 12.30pm to 4.30pm
Not to be confused with Girders – located downstairs in the same building – Girders Garden has recently undergone a major revamp, and now boasts crucial comforts like walls and air conditioning, while still maintaining the look and feel of a garden space. They’ve also launched a party brunch, which includes a “pimp your drink” station where you can jazz up your beverage with various fruits and herbs. On the menu, you’ll find crispy calamari, breaded chicken wings, and lamb rack as well as homemade gelato and triple chocolate mousse. Resident DJ Pele plays a selections of of pop & R&B classics.
Our verdict: We do love a good garden party.
JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR The Walk, Fridays 12.30pm to 4.30pm, Dhs249. Tel: (056) 216 5057. jaresortshotels.com
The Lion By Nick & Scott: Friday 2pm to midnight
The landlords of this pub are homegrown culinary duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price – the pair behind Folly by Nick & Scott – so you can expect very good things from this food-oriented brunch. You won’t find any expensive oysters or truffle oil around here – it’s an unapologetically non-fancy menu, catering to the low-key brunch crowd. Starters served to the table include buttermilk chicken wings, veal sausage rolls with BBQ dip and quail scotch eggs, while for mains, there’s a choice of fish and chips, Angus burger, lamb biryani and beef in Murphy’s pudding with mash and gravy. Simple though it may sound, every plate and bowl at our table was scraped clean.
Our verdict: Still daydreaming about the veal sausage rolls.
The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Fridays 2pm to 9pm , Dhs295 (two-hour rolling package including house beverages), plus Dhs100 for additional hour of drinks. Tel: (04) 359 2366. theliondubai.ae
The Promenade: Friday 1pm to 4.30pm
The famed Traiteur brunch is back at the recently revamped The Promenade at the Park Hyatt and extends through restaurants Noepe and Brasserie Du Park. Although it’s got a heavy French focus, you’ll find dishes from around the world, from an extensive seafood buffet, to a collection of roast meats, cold cuts and a dessert room that will make you wish you’d worn your stretchiest pants. Drinks are free-flowing and glasses always topped up, and chilled beats are mixed with lively acoustic sets to entertain guests and bring up the tempo as the afternoon progresses. Stay for sundowners, you won’t regret it – the sunsets over the creek are some of the city’s finest.
Our verdict: We’re calling it, this brunch is faultless.
The Promenade, Park Hyatt, Dubai Creek, Fridays 1pm to 4.30pm, Dhs495 soft, Dhs695 sparkling, Dhs795 premium. Tel: (04) 602 1814. thepromenadedxb.com
PizzaExpress Live: Friday 1pm to 5pm
Not to be mistaken for the long-serving JLT outpost Jazz@PizzaExpress, PizzaExpress Live is a new serving of pizza-meets-music located in Business Bay. The four-hour brunch package promises unlimited beverages, a starter buffet, an a la carte main and set dessert, alongside live music, a DJ and illusionist. It kicks off with dough balls, cold meats and endless plates of salad and antipasti. For mains, it’s a simple choice of six dishes. Short rib with risotto was a table-wide hit, while a huge porcini mushroom pizza drizzled with truffle oil impressed all guests. Entertainment kicks in halfway through brunch – there’s live music, a DJ and a roaming illusionist.
Our verdict: Informal grub done to a high standard.
PizzaExpressLive, Doubletree By Hilton Bay Square, Business Bay, Fridays 1pm to 5pm, Dhs199 soft, Dhs299 house, Dhs349 premium. Tel: (04) 566 5722. pizzaexpress.ae
Mr. Miyagi’s: Friday 3pm to 6pm and 8pm to 11pm
Mr Miyagi’s, the Asian hotspot in Media City, is now running two servings of its lively ‘Wok and Roll’ brunch every Friday. The drinks menu is extensive, and you can enjoy a range of house wines, spirits, slushy cocktails and Thai buckets of fruity mixed drinks. There’s plenty of food too; the edamame, chicken skewers and prawn crackers kick things off, with an intermediate course of sushi (which is delicious) and dim sum (which we don’t enjoy as much) before the mains arrive. They’re not the easiest to share, but we’d never voluntarily share the Mr Miyagi’s chicken katsu anyway. The stars of the show are Mr Miyagi’s live singers, who get the crowds going early with their pass-around karaoke of cheesy hits.
Our verdict: It might not be the classiest of brunches, but katsu and karaoke – what’s not to love?
Mr Miyagi’s, Level 9, Media One Hotel, Fridays 3pm to 6pm and 8pm to 11pm, Dhs290 house, Dhs390 sparkling. Tel:(04) 420 7489. mrmiyagisdubai.com
Ruya: Friday 12pm to 4pm
It’s impossible not to love Ruya. The food is masterminded by a homegrown hero in the culinary world, Colin Clague, and it’s a stunning space that manages to draw in a crowd day in, day out. So it’s no surprise that Ruya’s just-launched ‘Grand Bazaar’ brunch is one we’re marking as a must-try. The four-hour package is definitely one for the foodies, with three sets of sharing starters served to the table, an a la carte main, and dessert selection. The food is a fusion of Turkish flavours, with standout dishes including Levrek; a seabass sashimi with mustard and apple, and the grain-fed rib-eye cooked to perfection and served with Turkish coffee. Drinks are plentiful, staff are engaging, and as the afternoon progresses, Ruya becomes a lively spot with many brunchers taking to the dance floor as the electro-funky beats pick up.
Our verdict: Fantastic food in a beautiful setting.
Ruya Dubai, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Fridays 12pm to 4pm, Dhs299 soft, Dhs399 house, Dhs499 sparkling. Tel: (04) 399 9123. ruyadubai.com