Is this brunch really worth the road trip?

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE has recently celebrated its seventh birthday, in Dubai years it can apply for a pension soon. So you would think a beach club that has been around for so long would be on its way out – but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Despite being a 30-minute drive from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Blue Marlin remains on the top of it’s game, firmly secured as one of the UAE’s best beach clubs. Only open twice per week, Fridays are a haven for the UAE’s ravers, often showcasing some of the best house DJs from around the world, while Saturdays are more laid-back.

As you arrive at the Golden Tulip Hotel, where the beach club lives, don’t be alarmed if the scene seems eerily quiet. Make your way down the decorative stairs to discover the Balearic vibes hidden out of view. There’s a drink waiting for you on arrival, before you check-in with the host to be shown to your bed or table.

The brunch runs from 1pm to 4pm, offering three hours of unlimited cocktails, wine and house beverages. The food concept is sharing-style, with a range of international dishes to suit to any taste. Every week the menu is slightly different, but generally focuses on Mediterranean cuisine with some Asian influences.

On our visit we enjoyed the seafood flatbread which was perfectly crisp and topped with dressed leaves. Another favourite had to be the slivers of fresh sea bass sashimi, served ice-cold but as the weather reached 37 degrees we ensured to eat these first. The platter was enough to serve four people, but if you’d like to reorder any of your favourite dishes, you’re more than welcome to.

There are plenty of tapas bits to graze on throughout the afternoon until you’ve reached your antipasti limit. Dessert arrives in the form of a refreshing quarter of watermelon and naughty but nice choux pastry puffs, filled with fruity frozen yoghurt.

If you choose the beach brunch, you can also make use of the beach and pool, neither of which are oversized or overflowing with people. The DJ’s playlist included a wonderfully varied selection of new and classic house and soulful R&B tunes; expect a mix of Angie Stone, Martin Solveig and Aretha Franklin.

One of the UAE’s more tame beach brunches, but gives a daycation illusion that leaves you returning home feeling like you’ve had a mini-break. There’s plenty of good vibes among the crowd and while the venue is child friendly, you don’t feel like you’re brunching at a daycare centre.

There’s only two more weekends to take advantage of Blue Marlin before it closes for Ramadan, so book yourself in quick. The restaurant package is Dhs310 per person for three hours, while the terrace and beach brunch is only slightly more at Dhs340. You can also upgrade to a champagne package for Dhs580.

Saturday Brunch at Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, Golden Tulip Al Jazira, Gantoot, Abu Dhabi, 1pm to 4pm, Saturdays, Dhs310 restaurant, Dhs340 terrace and beach. Tel: (056) 113 3400.

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