The big brunch review: La Carnita

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Is El Secreto party brunch worth taco-ing about?

Not content with their garden brunch at Flair No5 (currently on hold for summer), high-end party brunch at Emerald Palace Kempinski and sellout ladies’ day at FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Secret Parties have launched a brand new party brunch at La Carnita every Friday.

Called El Secreto, the new party brunch promises free flowing drinks, an array of Mexican street food to share and plenty of live entertainment. But does it deliver?

Secret Parties have a knack for packing out their party brunches, and clearly their loyal following are just as keen to see what their latest offering is all about, as the venue is fully booked on launch week.

El Secreto brunch has all the initial ingredients for a successful party brunch. Props? Check. Oversized jugs of sharing cocktails? Check. Pumping music a little too loud for 1pm? Check, check, check.

 

It’s filled mainly with large groups, who take their seats in the orange-hued booths around the edge and at tables that run through the middle of the restaurants.

Upon arrival, a silver tray brimming with tortilla chips is already on the table, with servings of guac, corn salsa and a spicy bean dip. It’s fuss-free and a great way to keep hungry brunchers quiet, while the kitchen prepares the rest of the starters. A cali salad of grilled corn, black beans, chickpeas and avocado, huevos rancheros and pot of French fries arrive shortly afterwards. While not the most inventive Mexican food we’ve ever seen, it’s all generous portions, tasty, and guests are able to order more should they wish.

Next up, is a taco course, with guests able to select two tacos per person. The Pollo Frito of fried chicken, salsa fresca and peanut lime hot sauce is a standout choice, but all the tacos go down well around the table.

For mains, there’s four choices, with each guest picking their own a la carte. We opt for the sesame lamb chops and again, while the presentation and flavours are simple, it’s thoroughly tasty, and we’re almost (but only almost) too full to finish off the fluffy churros we’re served for dessert.

The standout at this party brunch is the service. Staff are more than just friendly, they’re keen to have fun while ensuring guests drinks are topped up, food arrives in a timely fashion and ensure that almost the entire room is on their feet by the time the clock hits 5pm.

The food hits the spot, the drinks menu is impressive and service is standout. We don’t think this one will be a Secreto for much longer…

El Secreto brunch, La Carnita, Intercontinental Dubai Marina, 1pm to 5pm, Fridays from July 19, Dhs299 soft, Dhs399 house. secret-parties.com

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