Brunch review: Jun's, Weekend Rituals
A better way to brunch…
We’d argue homegrown, multi-award-winning restaurant, Jun’s is very much an authentic representation of Dubai. Not because it serves Emirati cuisine, it doesn’t in any traditional sense, but because its holistic offering is such an amalgam of international influences and styles, it captures the essence of this, our cosmopolitan city that so thrives on diversity.
The man behind the menu is Chef Kevin Cheung, a proud ambassador of third-culture cooking who, along with founder Neha Anand, has seen their Downtown, Opera-adjacent restaurant become the focus of a lot of international culinary guide attention.
Interestingly, for an experience that is also a true Dubai institution, their brunch format is where they start departing from local conventions. Weekend Rituals is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3.30pm, it features a condensed a la carte offering of small and large plates and a range of drink packages (soft from Dhs100, house from Dhs275). If you’re keen on enjoying adult beverages with your food, you’ll have to take an interior seat, but the combined allure of winter weather and Boulevard people-watching mean that, right now, I only have eyes for the terrace.
With Rituals, you pay for each dish you order – a great way to avoid waste, but it can mean your bill escalates rapidly if you turn up with a ravenous bent. It’s only fair, Jun’s for me is beyond question in terms of quality – a fact theatrically demonstrated by the lobster pani puri from the ‘little plates’ section (Dhs130). This expatriate mash-up is a mille-feuille of layered glow – butter-poached lobster, achari, coconut and a liquified tamarind gel. It’s how I imagine Goan sunsets might taste if you could figure out a way to sneak a bite, and marks a dying light entry on my list of favourite 2023 discoveries.
Amongst the other hot picks from the de-facto starter section, we found love in the wagyu potstickers (Dhs100) a surfy-turfy beef and prawn mix, paired with powerfully spicy hot and sour vinegarette. Their truffle mac n cheese (Dhs110) is a real winter warmer, pitched with just enough of the truff, to make forking through the creamy bake a rewarding side-quest.
From the ‘not so little’ plate collection you can pick your path – am or pm, with breakfast and lunch options honouring the forgotten true meaning of ‘brunch’. We take a jalapeno wagyu smash burger (Dsh110), tempura veg and garlic noodles (Dhs100) and wagyu beef garlic naan wrap (Dhs140). The burger is local hall of fame calibre, literally oozing gooey charm. The wrap is excellent in concept, but what is clearly a delicately balanced assembly of flavours becomes slightly lost behind the doughy hug of the naan (though you’re in charge of folding your own wrap, so you could easily lose some of the bulk). And that’s it. That’s the heaviest shade we can throw at Jun’s, a restaurant positively revelling in culinary crossovers, and fully deserving of its hot-ticket hype.
Verdict: An unconventional Dubai brunch, brushed with 24 karat brilliance.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Sat and Sun 11am to 3.30pm. Tel: (0)4 457 6035, junsdubai.com