Relaxed vibes, flavourful sharing plates and upbeat live music are a winning formula for a top Sunday afternoon…

The Sunday bruncher is looking for something different to those Saturday session-ers. A Sunday brunch, typically, needs to be more relaxed, than that of a Saturday. On the last day of the weekend, we’re looking for a social set-up of sharing plates while catching up over a few glasses of wine.

So with the title ‘Siesta Brunch’, El Sur’s Sunday brunch has already piqued our interest. When we wander into this warm and cosy Spanish restaurant on a Sunday afternoon, almost all of the tables are full. The terrace, overlooking the neatly landscaped grounds of The Westin Mina Seyahi, we universally agree, would be a lovely spot in the cooler months. But, with sweltering September temperatures firmly settled in, we opt to sit inside the restaurant.

The restaurant might not be the most modern looking spot, but the wooden beams, yellow hues and well-used tables and chairs add to the authentic feel of a Spanish tapas bar. From start to finish of our three-hour seating, sets of live music from a singer belting out an array of Spanish, Latin and commercial pop hits ensures there’s an inviting ambience. She entertains those in the bar from an elevated stage, but makes sure those in the restaurant don’t miss out, navigating around tables and interacting with guests as they dine.

There’s lots of big groups and families, and those of all ages appear to be tucking in with gusto. Our starters arrive in two rounds. First up, a wooden board of charcuterie and cheese to enjoy with crunchy bread and fresh tomatoes drizzled with oil kicks things off well. It’s followed by a bowl of padron peppers, perfectly salted and inhaled immediately; a duo of flavours of croquetas – creamy on the inside and delightfully crunchy on the outside; and neatly cubed potatoes that could have been a little crispier.


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For main course, there’s a choice of paellas, of which we choose seafood. We smell it coming before the piping hot steel pan is placed infront of us, the fresh seafood and smoky scent wafting through the restaurant. It’s a generous portion, the saffron rice is well cooked and on the seafood front, we’re treated to prawns, mussels and squid – we just wish there was a bit more of all of them.

Although our generous plate of paella already has us in the mood for a siesta, we make sure to save room for dessert, which arrives as a thin churro with chocolate dipping sauce and a crème brûlée. Both are delicious hits that round out the afternoon in stellar style.

Verdict: Relaxed and affordable, come hungry to this Sunday brunch for a chilled-out fiesta, then a much-needed siesta.

El Sur, The Westin Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh, 1pm to 4pm, Sundays, Dhs225 soft, Dhs275 house, Dhs295 house with cava. Tel: (0)4 511 7373.