Brunch review: Nahaam, we try out this Conrad classic
Our thoughts on one of the city’s most beautifully boujee brunches…
The luxury international buffet brunch league is a fiercely fought competition in Abu Dhabi. Five-Star restaurants across the emirate are fielding spreads packed with overseas talent, weekend after weekend — hoping to secure their place at the top of the table bookings.
One name that’s always in contention, is Nahaam. The smart beach view restaurant at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers is known for offering a strong collection of world cuisine, alongside a few special fine dining set pieces. And we’re always down to dine with those that dare to do something a little bit different.
During the cooler months, the dining takes place poolside. But the floor-to-ceiling glass paneling of the restaurant’s interior means you can enjoy a backdrop of calming Corniche waters, without succumbing to the sweaty mess of alfresco summer dining. It also means that the Friday afternoon clash is played out in the glow of natural light, giving the brunch that big game energy.
Kicking things off
We’re traditionalists when it comes to the ritual of brunch, and that means starting off with seafood. There’s a lot of it at Nahaam, richly varied, scattered around a statement ice sculpture and exhibiting the sort of colour saturation that lets you know it’s fresh from the catch. We also fork through citrussy ceviches and cleverly assembled fruit de mer salads. The depth, range and complexity of offshore flavour available here equates to a formidable starting line-up.
Our careful brunch strategy starts to unravel after our first plate of food, and a chronic case of magpie syndrome sets in. Our eyes dart between stacks of shiny culinary pennies, from the home-smoked meat section to the home-fired pizza stand (which gets a solid four ‘mama mias’ out of five on its own steam), and beyond to the fragrant allure of the fromage boudoir.
The carvery section is another strong component of the team. The chef de partie replicates an authentic home roast dinner, to a far closer degree than many of the gastro pubs we’ve frequented on either side of an Etihad flight to LHR. The roast chicken, potatoes and a frankly embarrassing quantity of gravy sit on the same plate as the aromatic smoked meats mentioned earlier, ones that feature some truly remarkable marinade rubs.
Indecision is usually one of the psychological markers for a good brunch, and as long as you can meet with equanimity and give in to chasing craving whims, you’ll likely find exactly what you’re looking for at Nahaam.
Once more unto the brunch
Throughout the experience, a parade of mobile and static live stations are sprung into life for temporary Oprah-esque dining giveaways. You-gett-a cheese wheel tossed risotto, you a tranche of seared tuna, you some takoyaki… everybody gets homemade nitrogen ice cream. There are adult only rounds of the trolley too, with licensed beverage popsicles and espresso mixology.
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One final fact that’s worth mentioning, if there are two of you brunching, there’s a special stay and dine package which you need to know about. For Dhs995, two people can spend the night in one of the luxurious hotel’s Superior Guestroom, enjoy breakfast and a brunch based on the house package.
Verdict: Sometimes, not always, but sometimes… the hype is right. And for us Nahaam more than lived up to the fan chanted celebrations. It scores highly on flair, the range left us dribbling, it’s as strong inside as it is outside, and the trolley circuits add great finesse to that final touch.
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, Corniche Road, 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs370 soft, Dhs495 house, Dhs695 bubbles. Tel: (02) 811 5666, @conradetihadtowers