Review: White Brunch, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
Once upon a time, on an island not far from here…
Look, we all know that we’re not supposed to go around judging books by their cover. But it’s hard to stop bias creeping into your opinion when confronted by a cover that makes your heart beat that little bit faster.
The same goes for brunches…
And we confess, opinions are beginning to form as we step inside Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. It’s a bit of a looker.
Soft lines and organic curves run along the bleached modern interior, above — blue glass sculptures rise and fall in undulous succession, catching the natural light let in by lobby-high windows.
The design themes follow the journey into White, the breezy all-day diner where the brunch is taking place. The mosaic-tiled floor opens out onto a terrace, from where a pair of the resort’s infinity pools are visible. And a little further beyond that, but still within easy gaze, lies Saadiyat’s rugged lapiz-blue shoreline.
It’s a buffet format, alongside a collection of live cooking and grill stations, but the precise mix of gastronomic offerings change each week.
We start the meal off with a traditional trip to the central seafood section. The beautiful and briny are well represented — we assemble a plate of king crab, lobster, shucked oysters, salmon sashimi and swordfish ceviche.
It’s all top-tier stuff but the meaty crab, that flakes effortlessly onto the crockery, deserves special mention. There’s more lobster available from the exterior grill hub, alongside chicken and beef shish, prawns and brisket.
Thankfully the central plotline here at White easily matches up to those early impressions. Care and strategy have gone into planning the ensemble, there is a consistency to the quality of produce and service and the live saxophonist sets an aptly elegant tone.
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We head back to the carvery station where we find herb-crumbed lamb, and seductively-juicy beef brisket. Again the integrity of flavour that comes from having the right ingredients and knowing what to do with them shines through. It’s the best plate of roasted meat, we’ve had in a while.
The salad and charcuterie options are strong too, with dainty and more exotic options sitting side-by-side, the cheese selection is small but pleasantly pungent in diversity and the dessert kiosk is a five candy cane salute to sophisticated sugar rushes.
Verdict: This recently-relaunched brunch has a just reputation as one of the best in the capital. An essential route-stop for those fond of seafood. Rating: A.
Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, every Friday 1pm to 4pm, Dhs325 soft, Dhs425 house, Dhs525 premium bubbles, kids 7-14 Dhs125. Tel: (02) 811 4444, @jumeirahsaadiyat