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…
One Brunch at The Square, City Walk: Friday 2pm to 5pm
The key to City Walk’s new One Brunch is that diners are invited to sit alfresco while flanked by Spanish restaurant Toro + Ko, Peruvian venue Lima Dubai, and London import, Galvin Bistrot & Bar. The brunch features three starters, one main course and one dessert from all three restaurants, which means guests share 15 dishes. Highlights include the salmon ceviche from Lima, chicken croquettes from Toro + Ko, and Galvin’s grilled harissa prawns. It’s a welcoming alternative to the loud and lairy hotel brunches while the weather is on our side. There’s also an after party from 5pm to 9pm on the second floor of each restaurant where drinks deals start from Dhs150 for five drinks.
Our verdict: Worth a visit for the paella alone
The Square, City Walk, Fri 2pm to 5pm, Dhs350 with soft drinks, Dhs450 with house drinks, Dhs550 with champagne. Tel: (052) 7987292. onebrunch.com
Seven Sisters: Friday 3pm to 7pm
Sleek Lebanese export Seven Sisters’ new sunset brunch this Friday is perfect for those that like a weekend lie-in. From 3pm to 7pm every Friday, guests can enjoy free-flowing beverages alongside commercial R&B and chart hits by DJs SkinnyLoop and Devin Kosoko as the sun sets Seven Sisters terrace. Food-wise, don’t expect a huge feast, but it’s tasty bites from their varied menu that kick off with a salad and edamame course, followed by a fresh sushi platter. The mains are a little limited – though it’s great you can order more of everything (you’ll definitely want a second truffle flatbread), that are followed by a fruit platter to finish. It’s a lively vibe, but doesn’t get too rowdy.
Our verdict: Perfect for those that value their weekend lie-in.
Seven Sisters, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, Fridays 3pm to 7pm, Dhs199 soft, Dhs249 drinks only, Dhs349 house, Dhs449 premium. Tel: (056) 775 4777. 7sistersdubai.com
Brasserie 2.0: Friday 1.30pm to 4.30pm
The brunch at Brasserie 2.0 boasts indoor and outdoor seating, and while indoor tables give guests prime view of the buffet, we’d pick a table on the terrace every time. The food is a lavish spread of buffet dishes and live cooking stations, and it’s practically impossible to identify a cuisine that’s not covered. Inside you’ll find layers of seafood, sushi and salad while outside a BBQ area is brimming with live cooking stations where you can order everything from braised beef brisket to crab claws, prawns, kebabs and prime cuts of steak. But save room for desserts, it’s one of the most extraordinary spreads we’ve ever seen at a Dubai brunch complete with decadent pastries, tiered cakes, crepes made-to-order and even a chocolate fountain.
Our verdict: A lavish brunch that ticks all the boxes
Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, 1.30pm to 4.30pm, Fridays, Dhs450 soft, Dhs595 house, Dhs795 premium. Tel: (04) 316 5550. brasserie2point0.com
Fiesta Latina at Intercontinental Festival City: Friday 1pm to 4pm
Interactive touches begin from arrival at this South-American inspired feast, where a pop-up backdrop encourages guests to don sombreros and feather boas and pose for pictures ahead of brunch kicking off. Once inside, you’re faced with an array of live cooking stations and buffet options which take a flight through South America, featuring a Mexican station, ceviche bar, Peruvian station, Cuban station and an Argentinian station amongst others. There’s a mix of dishes you can help yourself to, as well as stations where chefs will prepare dishes hot for you and bring them your table (the Argentinian steak is a must-try). Between it all, a whole cooked goat takes centre stage and although it’s not our favourite meat, it’s a great excuse to give it a go.
Our verdict: A family-friendly feast with dishes from around the world
Anise, Intercontinental Festival City, Dubai, 1pm to 4pm, Fridays, Dhs260 house Dhs395 house. Tel: (04) 701 1127. experiencedfc.com
Waldorf Astoria: Friday 1pm to 4pm
This new brunch appears to be loosely themed around The Greatest Showman, if the marketing material is to be believed. But aside from a few waiters performing card tricks, we found the theme wasn’t particularly obvious. The promise of a juggler was never realised. There were some fun moments though, like when the chefs came around the tables bearing trolleys laden with scallops in little jars, and then used a smoke gun on them for dramatic effect. We also enjoyed the saxophonist, who did an impressive job of playing along to a Dua Lipa track. Food wise, highlights included a whole lamb roasted on a spit, which we headed outside to visit on more than one occasion. Inside, the buffet was pleasingly overwhelming, with everything from sushi to sausages represented.
Our verdict: A solid brunch in an impressive location
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Fridays, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs375 soft, Dhs495 house (children under 6 free, children 6 to 12 half price). Tel: (04) 818 2222. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com
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