The Ritz-Carlton’s new eco-minded brunch offers plant-based options with flair

The legendary Friday brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi’s restaurant Giornotte has long been synonymous with the luxurious, larger-than-life nature of the Grand Canal hotel. It was so all-compassing, guests needed a map to navigate their way around.

Times have changed, however, and The Ritz-Carlton has very thoughtfully adapted this brunch, reflecting the current trend toward conscious consumerism and mindful consumption. In the process, they’ve managed to keep Ritz-style quality and selection while reducing food and plastic waste and offering an assortment of plant-based and decidedly healthy options.

At the Chef’s Brunch, The Great Exhibition, the star of the show is still a massive side of slow roast wagyu beef, served with thick dollops of creamy bearnaise and fluffy rounds of Yorkshire pudding. But just as prominent is a vegan carvery, featuring charred halves of sweet, smoked watermelon, juicy grilled pineapple and spiced roles of seitan, a gluten-based meat substitute.

There’s no more cheese room but the selection is still mind-boggling: a very long table laden with dozens of varieties as well as three blocks of vegan options.

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Vegan and gluten-free pizza is offered alongside pepperoni and burrata, pesto and basil varieties, while chef whips up homemade ricotta, beetroot mousse, sweet potato and peanut butter and banana toppings at the superfoods bar.

Other highlights from around the room include succulent grilled scallops in a jar, blow-torched triangles of foie gras, cones of sweet dynamite shrimp and the small creamy, meaty squares of lasagna. Although you can have as many as you like, all are offered in quaint single servings, cutting down on waste.

There is a lot more engagement here between chefs and guests: a semi-regular mozzarella show, where guests can gather round to watch chefs form those big, soft rounds of burrata, while others wander around the restaurant floor, chatting and handing out oysters and small dishes of truffle risotto. A chocolate specialist helped us choose from a gorgeous array made in-house, narrowing it down to two chocolate raspberry versions: one made with chocolate ganache, the other raspberry.

The Ritz has done the difficult: created a more responsible Friday brunch that offers guests good value for the splurge-worthy price. The significantly lower price for the full vegan option will be welcome for true vegans, too.

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi. Fri 1pm to 4pm. Dhs299 with soft drinks, Dhs359 for vegans, Dhs359 with organic wine, Dhs90 for children aged six to 11 years. Tel: (02) 8188282.