Ah, the glorious Dubai feast that is the Friday brunch. Here are some fresh-to-the-city options for those of you tired of the old classics…
Wet Deck at W Dubai – The Palm: Friday 1pm to 5pm
A brunch buffet, pool access, big tunes and a swim up bar… this brunch ticks all the boxes for a brilliant party brunch in the sun. The buffet stretches along the length of the poolside, brimming with stations of lamb chops, beef brisket, colourful burgers, tender ribs and super-stretched hot dogs – it’s a meat-lover’s dream. There’s also a nacho station with guac made fresh in front of you, towers of tortilla chips and gooey melted cheese. Drinks include large jars of refreshing fruity cocktails, sparkling is included as standard, and cheerful waiters distribute bottles of beer directly to the beds. Frozen fruit pops are also offered. Music is supplied by DJ Shef Codes and W Dubai’s own music curator Smokingroove. Alongside a live violinist, there’s a mix of commercial house and R&B tunes to get you in the party spirit.
Our verdict: A brilliant new poolside party brunch
Palm Sugar Pool Brunch, The WET Deck, W the Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, 1pm to 5pm, Fridays, Dhs395. Tel: (04) 245 5555. facebook.com
Hell’s Kitchen: Friday 12.30pm to 4pm
If you’re familiar with the Hell’s Kitchen TV show, you’ll know the basic premise is that two teams; red and blue battle it out to be crowned head chef of a restaurant. And at the brunch ta Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Dubai is inspired by exactly that concept. Upon arrival, the red and blue teams are not immediately clear. Stations are split into cold and hot starters, an array of breads and pastries and a dedicated dessert buffet, with a separate station for children. Each station is manned by a team of chefs eager to share their knowledge, with half in red hats, the other half in blue. It’s a subtle nod to the theme, which we appreciate. While guests can help themselves to an unlimited array of starters, mains are a la carte, with eight options of signature dishes to choose from. Towards the end of the brunch, four brunchgoers are selected to take part in an eton mess-making competition, overseen by head chef Craig Best and general manager Danny Thomas. While I don’t think the culinary team have much competition from the willing participants, it gets the whole room on their feet and involved. Plus, the winner gets themselves a free brunch – not bad if your whisking skills are worth shouting about.
Our verdict: Go for the food, stay to compete in the hilarious Eton-mess making competition
Hellicious Brunch, Hell’s Kitchen, Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, Bluewaters, off JBR, Dubai Marina, 12.30pm to 4pm, Fridays, Dhs350 soft, Dhs450 house, Dhs600 champagne. Tel: (04) 556 6466. caesars.com/dubai
Secret Garden Brunch at Flair No.5: Friday 1pm to 5pm
There’s nothing really that secret about the new brunch at DIFC’s garden-inspired bar, Flair No5. Only weeks in, the so-called ‘Secret’ Garden brunch is the party brunch that the whole city wants a seat at. But what makes it so special? It’s lively from the get go, and waiters move like well-oiled machines to ensure drinks are topped up, (although many guests choose to make their way round the various drinks stations, which serve everything from Aperol Spritz and spicy pink martinis to traditional smoked old fashioneds). On the menu, there are 14 dishes, all designed to share and staggered into appetizers, mains and desserts. Although a dish of each is brought to share between two, if you find yourself wanting more of anything, you’re able to ask for seconds and thirds. By the time dessert arrives, the partying has been cranked up a notch, as has the music, and the house hits have brunchers making their way from their tables to the dance floor.
Our verdict: A party brunch that packs a punch
Flair No.5, The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Fri 1pm to 5pm, Dhs299 with soft drinks, Dhs399 with house drinks, Dhs499 sparkling. Tel: (04) 372 2323. secret-parties.com
The Loft at Dubai Opera: Friday 12pm to 4pm
It’s a brave move calling your brunch the Lofty Caviar Brunch, considering that the thought of caviar divides diners into two camps: those who adore it, and those who wouldn’t touch the stuff. Regardless of which category you fall into, you’ll want to visit this brunch on the rooftop of Dubai Opera. Why? Because besides the enormous barrel of salt-cured roe, there’s so much more to enjoy. Among the cooking stations dotted around the glorious sun-dappled rooftop of Dubai Opera are an oyster counter (complete with friendly oyster shucker, rapidly opening oyster shells as quickly as his merry hands can move), a barbecue counter, where marinated steak and large prawns sizzle, a pasta and risotto counter, lovingly prepared on a huge Parmesan wheel, and a couple of cocktail stations thrown in for good measure. Brilliantly at the Lofty brunch, it’s not about getting up, queuing for your food and sitting back down again. Instead, it’s more of a laidback, leisurely affair. Think foie gras, lamb shoulder, burrata, duck fat chips and pa- seared seabass, all brought to your table, too. It’s a genuine gourmet feast of epic proportions and one we’d be more than delighted to attend again. It’s certainly one of the better brunches we’ve been to in a long time…
The Loft Terrace, Rooftop, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Fri noon to 4pm, Dhs395 with soft drinks, Dhs495 with house drinks, Dhs595 with champagne. Tel: (04) 3627312. facebook.com/theloftatopera
Traiteur Brunch at The Promenade Dubai: Friday 1pm to 4.30pm
If you’ve been in Dubai any longer than a week or so, you’ll have heard of Traiteur Brunch. Known as one of the city’s biggest – and most lavish – feasts, it takes place each Friday at the waterfront of Dubai’s Creek’s Park Hyatt hotel. Drinks are brought to the table in a timely fashion, and it’s a premium offering for all packages. As standard, sparkling wine, margaritas, aperol spritz and daquiris are all included, alongside the usual offerings of wine, beer and spirits. Food-wise, there’s truly something for everyone, and it’s hard to explain the extent of the spread unless you’ve seen it. Inside NOEPE, you’ll find fresh seafood served on ice, with tiered towers of fresh oysters, crabs legs, lobster, mussels, clams and scallops topped up frequently by the culinary team. Once you’ve got your seafood fix, head inside to the main restaurant, where the open plan kitchen welcomes guests to wander their way through international dishes. You’ll want to save room for dessert. Fondly nicknamed ‘The Willy Wonka Room’, the dessert room is filled with fresh pastries, cakes, mousses and warm puddings that would impress even those without a sweet tooth.
Our verdict: A flawless Friday feast
The Promenade, Park Hyatt, Deira, 1pm to 4.30pm, Fridays, Dhs495 soft, Dhs695 sparkling, Dhs775 bubbly, Dhs895 premium bubbly. Tel: (04) 602 1814. thepromenadedxb.com
We Brunch at Accents: 1pm to 4.30pm
When We Brunch bust onto the party brunch scene in 2017, few brunches were delivering the tri-factor of good food, great music and a brilliant party atmosphere. Fast forward two years, and the competition have seriously upped their game, so what can We Brunch do to stand out in a sea of lively Friday feasts? A milkshake wall serves as the perfect backdrop for well-dressed guests to snap selfies, while a ball pit bath and donut wall are welcome touches that have been designed to be photographed. Pop-up bars are great new additions that get guests on their feet, although table service is swift too, meaning drinks are rarely empty. The food has also undergone an upgrade too, and now features a sushi and seafood station, salad bar and bread station before you make it to mains. It’s not the biggest selection you’ll see, but it ticks all the boxes for having a handful of Asian and Italian dishes alongside the star of the show – the roast spread. A live BBQ station is also a brilliant addition, with dishes cooked-to-order and delivered to the table. By the end of the brunch (which has been extended by an extra half hour recently), partygoers are on their feet, and birthday celebrations erupt around us as cupcakes and confetti are dished out to nearby tables.
Our verdict: Still one of the city’s best party brunches
We Brunch by Love Parties, Accents, Intercontinental Dubai Marina, Dubai Marina, 1pm to 4.30pm, Dhs325 soft, Dhs375 house, Dhs425 bubbles. webrunchdxb.com
Lido at QE2 Dubai: Friday 12.30pm to 4pm
The QE2 was known it is sailing heyday for lavish spreads and luxe dinner parties, but now it’s anchored in Dubai, how does its Friday brunch measure up to its high reputation? The buffet selection is brilliant, with everything from seafood and salads to made to order pasta, Asian dishes and a live carving station. The dishes are constantly being stocked up by dozens of chefs, and the layout is clear enough that you can move around everything with ease. Service is faultless – staff are friendly and a team of waiters and waitresses are always on hand to clear away plates and top up glasses. The live entertainment is a bit hit and miss, with one singer stronger than the second. But, song choices are popular with brunch goers and many are dancing along with little ones by the time the third set kicks in. It’s a brilliant option for families, with a huge play area adjacent to the restaurant housing all the toys and playhouses little ones could need for a fun-filled afternoon.
Our verdict: Great for families, or taking guests to a unique location
Lido restaurant, QE2 Dubai, Port Rashid, Dubai, Fridays 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs225 soft, Dhs395 house. qe2.com
Katsuya by Starck: Fridays 12pm to 4pm
On a beautiful sunny day, there’s no better choice than a comfortable outdoor booth, looking directly out onto the private beach of the hotel. Burj Al Arab is standing proud, peeking through the palm leaves, while the moat that flows through the area is home to a variety of pond fish. With unlimited choices of buffet and made-to-order options for the brunch, you won’t leave hungry. From the buffet you’ll find a wide range of cold canapés, sushi, sashimi and maki rolls, all expertly displayed with attention to detail on point. Then a selection of four starters arrives, followed by a robata platter. If you’ve got room – make your way to the bar where you’ll find an array of sweet treats to help yourself from. The brunch is a great choice for lovers of Japanese cuisine. The relaxed vibe means it’s also a gorgeous spot to bring visiting relatives who are looking for plenty of tasty food, unlimited refreshing drinks and a beautiful view of Dubai.
Our verdict: A classy Friday brunch perfect for Japanese cuisine lovers
Katsuya Big Brunch, Katsuya by Starck, Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, noon to 4pm, Fridays, Dhs350 soft, Dhs450 house, Dhs550 sparkling. Tel: (04) 419 0676. katsuyarestaurant.com
Seven Sisters: Friday 3pm to 7pm
Sleek Lebanese export Seven Sisters’ new sunset brunch this Friday is perfect for those that like a weekend lie-in. From 3pm to 7pm every Friday, guests can enjoy free-flowing beverages alongside commercial R&B and chart hits by DJs SkinnyLoop and Devin Kosoko as the sun sets Seven Sisters terrace. Food-wise, don’t expect a huge feast, but it’s tasty bites from their varied menu that kick off with a salad and edamame course, followed by a fresh sushi platter. The mains are a little limited – though it’s great you can order more of everything (you’ll definitely want a second truffle flatbread), that are followed by a fruit platter to finish. It’s a lively vibe, but doesn’t get too rowdy.
Our verdict: Perfect for those that value their weekend lie-in.
Seven Sisters, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, Fridays 3pm to 7pm, Dhs199 soft, Dhs249 drinks only, Dhs349 house, Dhs449 premium. Tel: (056) 775 4777. 7sistersdubai.com
Brasserie 2.0: Friday 1.30pm to 4.30pm
The brunch at Brasserie 2.0 boasts indoor and outdoor seating, and while indoor tables give guests prime view of the buffet, we’d pick a table on the terrace every time. The food is a lavish spread of buffet dishes and live cooking stations, and it’s practically impossible to identify a cuisine that’s not covered. Inside you’ll find layers of seafood, sushi and salad while outside a BBQ area is brimming with live cooking stations where you can order everything from braised beef brisket to crab claws, prawns, kebabs and prime cuts of steak. But save room for desserts, it’s one of the most extraordinary spreads we’ve ever seen at a Dubai brunch complete with decadent pastries, tiered cakes, crepes made-to-order and even a chocolate fountain.
Our verdict: A lavish brunch that ticks all the boxes
Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, 1.30pm to 4.30pm, Fridays, Dhs450 soft, Dhs595 house, Dhs795 premium. Tel: (04) 316 5550. brasserie2point0.com