Is it on its last orders? Or just the first round of starters? You decide…

What’s On is dedicated to getting to the bottom of the debates that matter, this month – we tackle that most hallowed of culinary institutions, the buffet brunch.

The case for: Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor What’s On Dubai

Ladies and gentlemen of the imaginary jury, I’m sure the opposing counsel will try to draw your attention to any giddy nostalgia or fond memories you might hold for this, what was once a grand institution. But you must not be dazzled by their winning smiles, infectious joie de vivre and deft turn of phrase… if you examine Exhibit B carefully, you will clearly see, it has performed its last jostling elbowed run at the seafood table. The chocolate fountain has run dry, we must bid buffet brunches a final farewell.

Sure, there was a time when their gluttonous excess could be conscionably digested, but now – in the Thunberg era of zero waste and renewable drinking straws – those ideals, like the gnarled khubz at 4pm on the live shawarma station, have turned rather stale. Times change, cultures move on and we must embrace the new, or risk getting left behind. Besides, the fresh winds of a la carte brunching, with sharing starters and mains au choix surely represent a more sophisticated, higher food quality format. Out with the mass-catered mixed-temp lasagna, in with precision grilled, a la minute antichuchos. Viva la brunching revolution comrades.

I’ll rest my argument on one final point – but its an important one. Which other culinary engagement would you pile a plate high with little regard for the mix of fare on it? The only one I can think of, is a child’s birthday party. I put it to you, that it’s time to blow out the candles and take off the party hats, brunch is too old for that now, we should let it live with dignity.

The case against: AJ & Lucy AKA @mrandmrsbrunch

As passionate advocates of Dubai’s gastronomic identity over the past 15 years, we salute the buffet brunch and stand firm in our assertion that they must remain a cornerstone of our social and cultural fabric. They are a celebration of variety and a weekend institution that have become as much a part of Dubai’s glittering reputation as its towering skyscrapers and bustling souks.

The buffet is a symbol of abundance and sharing, echoing the generous spirit of Middle Eastern hospitality. They are also the very emblem of inclusivity, catering to the varied tastes and specific dietary preferences of our cosmopolitan populace. The freedom to explore and share the joy of discovering new dishes and meeting new friends is something not possible while being restricted to your table. The buffet brunch is an experience that transcends the mere act of eating. They are social affairs; a celebration of cultural unity and shared joy.

This level of choice and inclusivity is lost in the rigid structure of a la carte menus, which often limit the diner to a singular experience rather than a tapestry of flavours. Buffets result in efficient turnover and the ability to cater to large numbers of guests, which is particularly important in a city that thrives on tourism and large-scale dining. Let’s uphold the buffet brunch tradition, not as an outdated custom, but as a vibrant, evolving celebration that captures the dynamic essence of our city.

If you want to take part in a live case study, @mrandmrsbrunch recommend the buffets at Traiteur, @parkhyattdubai and @alqasrbrunch. Miles is a passionate supporter of the @tascadubai brunch.

Images: Provided/Unsplash