Italian sophistication
Part buffet, part a la carte, the new Vita brunch at Armani Deli is as sleek, elegant and sophisticated as you would expect from the Italian fashion legend.

The fresh seafood bar is a good place to start: a glass cabinet filled with plates of smoked salmon, oysters, big fat prawns and purple mini-octopus. A huge selection of authentic cold meats and unusual cheeses from the deli counter, with an even bigger selection of Italian antipasti, including eight different types of olive, will make you feel like you’re in Rome.

Once the starters are done, it’s the turn of the a la carte segment. For the primi piatti, or first course, the pumpkin risotto is a buttery, yellow delight. Don’t eat too much though, because you have to choose your main course from a dozen meat and fish dishes. The baked lamb saddle was tempting, but the salmon fillet with green pea sauce was simple and delicious.

To finish, you’re back on your feet to visit the dessert station, filled with some of the prettiest sweets you’re likely to find in Dubai. Mascarpone tiramisu and the famous white chocolate cheesecake were being snapped up quickly by salivating brunchers.

With the Armani Deli brunch, you get great food and superb views of the Burj Khalifa fountains, but the nice touch here is that it goes on until 9pm so you can take it nice and slow – how very Italian.

Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
Tel: (04) 8883888. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
Fri noon to 9pm
Dhs260, Dhs360 house beverages, Dhs500 champagne. 


Mexican party
Mexican restaurant Fuego has thrown its sombrero in the ring and launched a Friday brunch. The cosy venue in Souk Al Bahar serves classic Mexican dishes, starting with traditional huevos (eggs) and cajeta y lechera (pancakes with condensed milk) followed by tasty sopecitos, a street food favourite made from tortilla, refried beans, cheese, pico de gallo and salsa. The tender barbacoa (lamb) was steamed with banana leaves and the grilled fish had a delicious marinade. If you can drag yourself from your seat after all that, you can bust some moves to the Latin beats.

Souk Al Bahar, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4490977. Taxi: Souk Al Bahar.
Fri noon to 4pm
Dhs219, Dhs279 house beverages, Dhs349 premium beverages.

Fuego brunch

Rowdy fun
If you’re intrigued to try the new brunch at the crab shack Claw, we suggest you do two things: down some milk thistle and ditch your usual brunch finery for jeans and a T-shirt. The concept is simple and laidback: order any two mains from the extensive appetiser, breakfast or entrée menu plus a desert and wait for it to arrive. The blue cheese burger was a firm favourite, closely followed by the southern fried chicken wings, and the spicy jumbo prawns. There’s a mechanical bull, a live band and plenty of party atmosphere. While the grub is not exactly diet-friendly, you’ll probably be humming Summer Of ‘69 for days after this brunch that will bring you out of your shell.

Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4322300. Metro: Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall.
Fri noon to 4pm
Dhs285 house beverages, Dhs345 cocktails.

Claw brunch, Souk Al Bahar

Laidback and nostalgic
Grab a basket and a blanket, choose a bottle, collect some food and settle down at a table inside or on the Astroturf outside by the pool. Congratulations, you are now having an urban picnic. This is a new concept dreamed up by the Vida Downtown’s chef Spencer Lee Black, who wanted to create a laidback brunch with a nostalgic feel. The Vida’s 3in1 restaurant feels like a Hamptons beach house: light, bright and airy, with huge glass doors opening on to the patio, pool and picnic cabanas.

Inside, a chef expertly sliding freshly baked pizzas in and out manned the pizza oven. The cheese table was groaning with over a dozen varieties, while the similarly sized dessert counter carried mint chocolate shortcake, pecan pie, macaroons, American style lattice fruit pies and a wonderful peach cobbler.

Starters such as coleslaw, green salads, bean salads and the best, a watermelon and basil salad, were nicely served in Kilner jars, while noodles came in those cool New York-style Chinese takeaway cartons. For main course, a platter of juicy steak, lamb chops, oat-covered baked chicken and seafood was delivered to the table. No ants, no wasps and no sticky plates to carry home: the urban picnic is a winner.

Vida Downtown Hotel, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4286823. Taxi: Vida Downtown Hotel.
Fri 1pm to 5pm
Dhs225, Dhs295 selected beverages.

Urban Picnic brunch

Around the world
One hundred cheeses, 20 types of foie gras, live snakes – sometimes it’s hard to tell what is for eating and what is not at the monumental Bubbalicious. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi has launched a load of new novelties at its well-loved Friday brunch, making the whole thing a touch more lavish.

Catering for the biggest appetites, you’ll find an authentic British roast station – don’t miss the Yorkshire puds – tasty Thai curry in the Bangkok room, queues of sushi on a conveyor belt, and every creature under the seven seas at the seafood bar. And then there are the desserts. Sugary Japanese manga desserts with frozen daifuku, a carrot cake the size of a Jumeirah villa, and if you can stomach any more, ‘molecular’ cocktails with liquid nitrogen. Blaring cover bands provide the entertainment, and when the feast is done the beach bar beckons.

The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai
Tel: (04) 5117136. Taxi: The Westin Dubai.
Fri 1pm to 4pm
Dhs390, Dhs490 sparkling wine, Dhs650 champagne.


Reserved and elegant
Bored of big, brash brunches? Then head to this altogether more elegant affair: the only bling in the dining room comes from the vast Swarovski crystal chandelier. Here, it’s the food that dazzles

Some 298 tapas-style dishes – tiny plates, glasses and spoonfuls of gastronomic delights from all over the world – are beautifully presented. You’ll find sushi, dim sum, spit-roasted poussin and sizzling falafel. Little tasters are frequently brought to your table, including cute cornets filled with creamy hummus, melting morsels of beef braised for 48 hours, and gazpacho in a dinky ‘drink me’ bottle. But the pièce de résistance is the dramatic molecular gastronomy station: liquid nitrogen creates wow-factor sensations, such as airy mojito ‘discs’ sandwiched with apple.

The Oberoi, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4441444. Metro: Business Bay.
Fri 12.30pm to 3.30pm
Dhs270, Dhs380, house wines, spirits and prosecco, Dhs550 champagne.

Nine7One Brunch