There’s a lot to like about this Italian-accented brunch…

Bella Italia… If you could transport us anywhere in the world right now, it’d be to the cliffhanging restaurants of Amalfi, or the backstreet eateries of Rome. While our passports are safely stashed at home for now, we’re doing all of our ‘travel’ via the Dubai food scene.

One recent trip we took was to La Cucina, the lively Italian restaurant-bar on Club Vista Mare. It’s Calore Brunch is one of the newer offerings in town – and on our visit it was as packed as socially-responsibly possible.

Guests are greeted at the door with a martini spritz, which sets the tone for the afternoon. This is a brunch that puts quality drinks front and centre, especially if you opt for the (very reasonably priced) ‘Speciale’ package.

Calore brunch La Cucina

For Dhs385, you’ll enjoy free-flowing prosecco, espresso martinis, negroni sbagliatos and more of those refreshing martini spritzes. The premium package also includes the spirits, wine and beers found on the house package (priced at Dhs285).

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It’s a good thing the food is as generous (and carb-loaded) as it is… Over the course of the afternoon, we’re served a procession of crowd-pleasing Italian dishes, starting with a huge platter of antipasti, cured meats and grissini; bruschetta; and a top-notch fritto misto of prawns and calamari.

Mains include a thin-crusted margherita pizza fresh from the wood-fired oven, mushroom penne, and a delicate fillet of grilled sea bass. Bite-sized cannoli and brownies are the perfect hand-held desserts.

The upbeat vibe comes courtesy of pitch-perfect tunes from the DJ (the organisers, Kristian and Dan, are DJs in their own right). It does get loud as the afternoon wears on, so if you want to avoid shouting to your dining companions, perhaps ask for a table at the other end of the restaurant. Once restrictions are lifted, we predict that Calore will evolve into an epic dance party.

This is one of Dubai’s better value brunches. It may no longer be on the Entertainer, but they’ve slashed the prices to reflect that. The waterfront terrace will open this weekend, and for the month of October, you can save 20 per cent on your Calore Brunch booking when you use the code MammaMia20.

Calore Brunch at La Cucina, Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, Fri 1pm to 4pm. Dhs285 with house drinks, Dhs385 with premium cocktails. Tel: (0)4 568 2104.

WIN: For your chance to win a table for four at this weekend’s Calore Brunch at La Cucina, pop on over to, follow the account and tag the three friends you’d like to share brunch with. *This competition is being managed and drawn by the team at La Cucina.