Eight of the best laid back brunches in Dubai
What’s On reviews some new brunches in Dubai, specifically lazy, laid back brunches, including Sofitel, The Scene, Ritz-Carlton, Bushman’s.
Not everybody wants a DJ banging out house anthems during their Friday party brunch…
Street food served from food trucks is the gimmick at this outdoor poolside brunch. Truly awesome views of the Burj Khalifa greet you as you walk in. Turn left for freshly made quesadillas, disappointingly bland pizza, salads, and a huge barbecue grilling juicy lamb chops and prawns.
Turn to the right and you’ll find Chinese and Thai food. The mini parcels of Peking duck worked very well. But the highlight was the Indian station where you choose the ingredients and then watch your customised curry made in front of you. The candy floss, popcorn machine and ice cream stand was a nice retro touch.
With a guitar-strumming singer in the corner and people on picnic benches on Astroturf under umbrellas, this brunch has a nice, easygoing food festival vibe.
Sofitel Downtown, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Fri 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs220 with soft drinks, Dhs300 with house drinks, Dhs450 with champagne. Tel: (04) 5036666. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. sofitel.com
When British fare at a leisurely pace is what you’re searching for, head to the new brunch at the charming Pier 7 haunt, The Scene, winner of one hat in The Black Hat Guide. Things began with a rustic picnic plank bearing tea-smoked mackerel pâté, posh brie cheese on toast, liver pâté and cured salmon – a nice introduction to a taste of Britain by the sea.
Next up were mains, including steak and chips, the Herd burger, Lancashire cheese sausage and mash and, of course, fish and chips. If you have room for dessert, we suggest you go for the classic apple crumble and custard or the cherry bakewell cheesecake. This is quintessential British comfort food – just be sure to wear loose fitting clothes.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Fri 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs250 with soft drinks, Dhs375 with cocktails, Dhs450 with champagne. Tel: (04) 4222328. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/TheSceneDubai
The Ritz-Carlton, set back a safe distance from JBR, is an elegant but quiet property, and the new rotisserie Friday brunch at its recently opened all-day dining restaurant, Caravan, is similarly sedate. There’s a lounge duo to help things along, but if you’re looking for a party, you will not find it here – where the majority of your fellow brunchers will be hotel guests.
Grab a table on the sunlit patio, looking out over the clipped greenery of The Ritz-Carlton’s pristine gardens. You’ll find buffet stations serving seafood, salad and sushi; live cooking stations offering rotisserie roasted meats and trimmings; a first-class selection of Indian dishes and chef Rami’s take on the shawarma; an impressive dessert station teeming with cakes, pies, sweets and pastries for dessert; and charcuterie and cheese to finish you off.
The kitchen provides a handy Top Ten To Try list, but we recommend the whole baby lamb, the tandoori chicken tikka and any, or all, of the pies.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR, Dubai, Fri 1pm to 4pm, Dhs450 with soft drinks, Dhs560 with house drinks, Dhs690 with champagne. Tel: (04) 3186150. Taxi: Ritz-Carlton JBR. ritzcarlton.com
It’s Saturday afternoon and another working week is looming on the horizon. But wait, the weekend’s not over yet and the brunch window has not yet closed. You can squeeze in a laidback brunch at Bushman’s, the Australian restaurant on The Palm.
Starters here at Bushman’s, winner of two hats in The Black Hat Guide, were positioned at so called ‘grazing stations’ and included some excellently original salads such as duck and watermelon, and asparagus and roast chicken. Nearby a chef whipped up bruschetta to order. The cold meat selection was superb, especially the kangaroo, smoked on the premises using wood from the Australian paperbark tree.
After grazing on greens, choose a main course from the quartet of options. We had a nice piece of sea bass, simply pan fried with bok choy and a lime and mango salsa. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder looked wonderful in its charcoal pit inside the restaurant, but it was, sadly, a little fatty when it arrived. Roasted sweet potato, beetroot and taro (a kind of potato) were delicious, as were the chips that, for once, actually tasted of potato rather than the oil in which they were cooked.
Out the back on the deck, a guy with a guitar lulled us into a dreamy mood, as we polished off something from the cheese room, and a slice of the traditional Aussie pavlova.
This brunch is small and quiet and feels like a chilled lunch on your mate’s patio in Australia. The difference is that, if you really were in Australia, you wouldn’t get cracking views of the Burj Al Arab like you do here.
Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, Sat 1pm to 5pm, Dhs200 with soft drinks, Dhs300 with house drinks. Tel: (04) 5678018. Taxi: The Palm, east crescent. anantara.com
The new Onshore Social brunch at Zero Gravity is as cool and relaxed as you would expect from the trendy Miami-style beach club. The second floor terrace overlooking the Skydive Dubai drop zone has one of the most beautiful views in the city and gargantuan sharing platters arrive at your table. Sushi rolls, dim sum and chicken skewers all did the job, but the roast beef with Yorkshire pudding was better. If you can drag yourself from your seat after all that, you can move downstairs to the garden, which transforms into a cool outdoor club as the sun sets.
Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai Palm Drop Zone, Dubai, Fri 3pm to 6pm, Dhs395 with house beverages, Dhs666 with champagne. Tel: (04) 3990009. Taxi: Skydive Dubai car park entrance. 0-gravity.ae
You get Asian tapas in a stylish setting at this glamorous new Pier 7 hotspot, winner of one hat in The Black Hat Guide. The dishes were ideal for sharing and we enjoyed the sweet and sour chicken with pomegranate seeds, and an innovative Indian eggs Benedict flavoured with ginger, cumin, fenugreek, as well as Persian black cod with olives and raisins. The carvery felt like an Asian roast dinner, serving teriyaki chicken and beef, while the sushi and sashimi selection was tasty. A noteworthy dessert was the panna cotta and chocolate fondant. With its low lighting, birdcages hanging from the ceilings, Asian statues and a fab terrace with views of the marina, this is a brunch that’ll be a hit with the cool crowd.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Fri 2pm to 5pm, Dhs295 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks, Dhs449 with prosecco. Tel: (04) 2765900. Metro: Dubai Marina. asia-asia.com
Nowhere’s more laid-back than The Big Easy, or New Orleans to give the city its proper name. You can enjoy the cuisine of this atmospheric town at Cravin’ Cajun’s new Friday brunch that is so lazy, it starts at 7pm. Designed to copy the traditional late dining time in the south of America, diners can tuck into southern fried chicken and waffles, Louisiana crab cakes and jambalaya at this restaurant that has two hats in The Black Hat Guide.
Novotel Dubai, Al Barsha, Dubai, Fri 7pm to 11pm, Dhs195 with house drinks. Tel: (04) 3049000. Metro: Sharaf DG. facebook.com/novotelalbarsha
The chilled bar at The Oberoi, Iris, has revamped its Friday brunch. They offer a range of light cocktails, prepared with healthy ingredients such as pink grapefruit juice, hibiscus tea, black tea, and homemade ginger syrup – and no sugar. As for the food, there are live cooking stations and a barbecue. The live music and views of the Burj Khalifa from Iris’ 27th floor terrace top off this brunch.
The Oberoi, Business Bay, Dubai, Fri 1pm to 6pm, Dhs360 with soft drinks, Dhs460 with house drinks, Dhs560 with champagne. Tel: (056) 9511442. Metro: Business Bay. facebook.com/pages/Iris-Dubai