There can be no debate, brunching really is one of Dubai’s favourite hobbies. And with the variety of themes and cuisines, concepts and settings available, there will be a good range of brunches that satisfy even the most fussy ones at the table.
But how do you find your own brunch that = bae?
We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite weekend feasts, tried and tested by us, to suit hungry families looking for the right bite, those with a particular craving, those seeking dancing-on-the-tables and raving, and of course, us brazen epicureans with a ravenous appetite.
Brothaus, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay
The Brothaus’ brand new Friday brunch has finally arrived and we were hoping to be oompah-ressed. There aren’t many German bakery-bistros in Dubai, which is a shame, because they’re a spectacularly good way to get your daily dose of carbs and meat, at either breakfast or lunch.
The layout, like the vibe is poised and chilled, a thick wedge of Brandenburg charm. The dining ritual begins with a gourmet coffee and a suitably casual amble through the fresh market counters. We pile up our plate with freshly baked bread, yogurts, confiture, fruit and nuts.
After a healthy start, we return to the mock market stalls with an empty plate and a perceived right to hit the cheese and cold cuts hard. The European meat and cheese selection is strong, so too the hummus, but we force a slither of will power to intervene and stop us from filling up the plate again. We still have flammkuchen (a sort of Alsace version of pizza) and a la carte mains to come.
The flammkuchen is an authentic flame-licked mouthful of mountain food. A ski trip for the mind. The choice between mains is similarly polar, you can head north to breakfast, as we did with a classic and perfectly realised eggs benny (eggs benedict). Or you can head south to their lush lunch options, offering scrummy salmon, beef, chicken and vegetable dishes.
For your brunching convenience, Brothaus offers several different packages. The Full Frankfurt (AED 145) includes the starter buffet, a main course, one coffee or tea and access to the juice counter. Half A Hamburg (AED 75) gives free rein on the market stall buffet. A kids’ package is available for AED 45 and adults can bolt on four beverage for AED 100.
The brunch takes place between 10.30am and 3pm on Fridays. Brothaus, Steigenberger Business Bay. 04 369 0000.
Charlie’s Brunch, Brunswick Eatery, Bar & Terrace
The Brunswick at Sheraton, Mall of the Emirates, recently went under the carpenter’s knife for a full cosmetic makeover. The result was remarkable, going from a ripened Cheers-ian sports bar to a sophisticated bistro.
The menu has been given the old razzle dazzle too, offering incredible tasting, passionately prepared food, made from quality ingredients. It’s way of Bull&Roo (see Tom & Serg, The Sum of Us, etc).
The venue’s concept is more tasting menu than traditional Dubai brunch. Food is inspired by the intrepid travels of globe-trotting Brunswick regular ‘Charlie.’ We follow these travels with 10 complementary courses, each one genuinely well thought out and cooked with the expected expert precision. Our stand-out favourites are grilled prawns with a miso and coriander reduction – the flavour ensemble meandered from subtle to ‘POW’ with delightful deliberacy. The veal belly was an absolute treat, plump with grand roasted flavours. We devour it in seconds. The vegetarian dishes are also worthy of forceful recommendation, especially the salt-baked beetroot.
In a delicious twist, the menu changes every week, so your experience could be dramatically different. Although we’re pretty confident the quality will remain extraordinary.
AED 390 (for food and beverages). 12pm-4pm, every Friday. Brunswick Eatery, Bar & Terrace, Level 2, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates. 056 404 0685
Traiteur, The Promenade, Park Hyatt Dubai
Traiteur is a brunch that comes with a prestigious reputation that carries to its new home at creek-side dining village, The Promenade a stone’s skim from its old address.
The experience is spread across three outlets – NOÉPE, Brasserie du Park and seventyseventy – with their own cuisine and ambient charm. The focal point is the open kitchen, where chefs prepare much of the food before your eyes. On the buffet you’ll find Gallic classics from land and sea, crudités, starters, principle plates and palate cleansers.
The food is an intrinsically good gallop through some of French cuisine’s landmark dishes. From rotisserie poultry and pin-precision roasted poussin, to the provincial crusted lamb racks and tenderloin so soft and tender it could be cut by human finger. The net-fresh seafood is a further triumph – expertly-shelled crab, dreamy creamy langoustine and a submarinal garden of delicious ocean molluscs.
Assuming there is room left in your stomach for dessert, welcome to your gastronomic Everest. There are two rooms of sweets, and a small village of cheese available to peruse. It’s an enchanted forest of cakes and gateaus, of macaron fairy tales and glooping chocolate fountains.
Traiteur is impossible to fault – the only slight reservation you might have about booking immediately is the price.
Fridays, 1pm-4.30pm. Soft drinks AED 495 per person; beverage packages from AED 695-AED 895. The Promenade, Park Hyatt Dubai. Call 04 602 1814.
The City Brunch, Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Al Habtoor City
Some brunches favour gimmicks and even leave you hungry. But The City Brunch puts the focus on stuff that really matters, namely good food and refreshments in a very family-friendly environment.
Set in Seasonal Tastes, at The Westin – Al Habtoor City, this Friday feast excels on several levels, especially if you’re a parent. A kid-dedicated area bounces with music, supervised activities, a giant playpen, face painting, drawing desks, a movie corner, a PlayStation – even a cooking class. Little brunchers also have their own buffet of healthy snacks and desserts.
The more adult aspect is across the lobby in the main restaurant. Drawing on key outlets in the Al Habtoor City hotel trio, it’s like a taster board for the best of The Westin, W Hotel Dubai and St Regis – a culinary adventure across 17 different stations.
Think foie gras, six cuts of steak with a bewildering 30 sauces and eight mustards, New York strip and moist short rib, potatoes prepared a dozen different ways, barbecue bites from The Westin’s pool lounge, Firefly. There’s Insta-loving sushi and sashimi from W Dubai’s Namu, plus an artistic bread section and more-ish shish tawook. Be indecisive at multiple smoked salmon choices, French oysters and lobster – and 40 camera-ready desserts. Then there are those gooey cheeses…
The biggest surprise, perhaps, is the price, when lesser brunches can nudge the AED 500 mark.
The Westin – Al Habtoor City. 04 435 5577. Every Friday, 1pm-4.30pm. AED 250 soft drinks; AED 345 house beverages and sparkling grape. Kids aged five to 12 years join in for AED 135. Under fives eat for free.
So Cho, Dubai Marine Resort
Dubai Marine Beach Resort has a number of different bars and restaurants and if you venture past the usual favourites, you will find So Cho; a trendy Japanese restaurant and bar lounge overlooking the ocean that ranks high on our brunch scale.
One piece of advice is, go hungry! So Cho certainly does not skimp on the food and the dishes keeps coming to our table throughout the evening, while drinks are replenished. Quality mostly matches quantity, with the highlights being the ceviche, tempura, gyoza and edamame, which was served with ginger and sesame seeds; a welcome change from the plain salted variety. Perhaps they could reduce the number of dishes on offer make those that they do serve the very best they can be.
Fridays, 8pm-12am. AED 165 for food and soft drinks, AED 250 with open bar. 04 346 1111. Dubai Marine Resort, Jumeirah.
Hive at Warehouse, Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre
Buzz along to the bee-themed brunch at Hive. This popular Friday treat has been ‘bee-vived’ into a relaxed, fun and buzzy brunch where you certainly won’t get stung.
We dig into a un-beeelievable line up of barbecue buffet, including a fabulous selection of spiced fish, barbecued chicken, sweetcorn and grilled brie. The salad bar has all the staples of cold cuts, sushi, pasta and seafood. If that all sounds too virtuous, flutter on over to the desert section and ask the chef to whip up some fresh crepes, with choice of strawberry and chocolate sauces.
Bench-style seats outside is ideal for groups who want to go al fresco, or if you feel chilly, ask to be sat inside. If you would like to bring your children, we recommend booking a table outside. Guests of all ages will love the entertainment – dancers, a singer and ‘bees’ teetering around on stilts.
AED 259 with unlimited food and house beverages, from 1pm to 4pm. Kids six-12 AED 150. Under sixes are free. Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud.
The Meydan Family Fridays Brunch
So here’s what we’ve learnt this weekend, don’t dismiss a family brunch if you don’t have kids.
Kids or no kids, this brunch is a fabulous way to catch up with your mummy and daddy friends.
Grown ups can choose from a generous spread of live food stations, serving Japanese, Asian, Indian and British food. Whether you want a simple smoothie, oysters and bubbles or a good old roast dinner, it’s all here in the hotel’s Farriers restaurant.
For kids, there’s a fully-supervised play room, packed with activities and child-friendly food. Little guests eat for half-price too and toddlers go free.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 305 soft drinks, AED 470 with house beverages. Free for children under four, AED 160 for five to 12 year olds. The Meydan Hotel, Meydan. 04 381 3111.
Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road
The Friday brunch at the Dusit Thani takes place on the 24th floor among the dizzying spires of the Sheikh Zyed Road. The experience, however, begins in the lobby where we are welcomed by the haunting melody of a live khim (a traditional Thai instrument).
The brunch itself combines buffet and live cooking stations from the hotel’s three principle restaurants. Benjarong supplies the Thai cuisine, PAX brings the modern Italian and The Californian serves up a flourish of international fair.
One of the greatest challenges a buffet brunch faces is balancing variety with quality. The Dusit Thani has potentially uncovered a ‘life-hack’ here by directly channeling food from three independently accomplished kitchens. The Thai food was aromatic and authentic; the green curry was amongst the best we’ve tried in Dubai. The range was impressive: from the perfectly-seared Arabian mixed grill to fresh sushi, hand-prepared ravioli and a serious selection of seafood.
The Dusit Thani holds a good reputation for service and warm hospitality, even from within the heavily-wooded world of five-star hotels in Dubai. The brunch did not disappoint: attentive service, knowledgeable staff and warm smiles throughout. They even host traditional Thai dancing amidst the courses to adds another layer of atmosphere.
With packages under AED 300, it’s also excellent value for money.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 225 soft drinks and from AED 285 with house beverages. Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road. 04 317 4515.
Fumé, Pier 7
A classy brunch for a reasonable price? We’re left pleasantly surprised by this upmarket choice of comfort food brought straight to our table.
Generous portions from an extensive set menu set this laid back, good-value brunch a step above the rest. We particularly like the lamb chops, Angus beef hamburger and ubiquitous mac and cheese. Smaller plates of fried calamari with chilli sauce and buttermilk chicken nuggets really hit the spot and just when we think we’re full, a rich tiramisu coaxes us into one more spoonful.
Friendly staff are always looking to fill up your cup and bring extra dishes. Fridays at Fumé are busy, but not crowded and it is the perfect place to spend quality time with friends – and kids, who get their own play area – in a relaxed environment.
Fridays, 12pm-4pm. AED 199 including house and mixed beverages. Pier 7, Marina.
Friday Farmers Brunch, Al Forsan, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa
Though the arid UAE land might not lend itself to bounteous options for our table, this is not reflected at the new Friday Farmers Brunch at Bab Al Shams’ Al Forsan restaurant. It is however, not the crops of the soil that satisfy the most at this (loosely) farm-inspired feast, but the fruits of the sea. The offering includes excellent gravlax, fresh mussels in a pot with accompaniments and pink shrimps ceviche in half a coconut.
Do save space for the 18 hours braised BBQ beef ribs and our personal favourite, the savoury waffle on braised beef brisket with a poached egg. To some the mixture of sweet and savoury is a sickly combination, but we relished the calorific compilation.
Many will know Bab Al Shams as a weekend getaway spot, being as it is, just far enough away from the city to escape but near enough not to be a hassle. The brunch certainly feels like a great family escape; a range of activities keep your mini-me in check and a clown bumbles around creating balloon animals, while a miniature pony attracts an excited queue. It’s British village fête Arabian style!
Lastly, when you’ve had your fill don’t forget to join other merry brunch goers taking their turns to lift farm produce in hope of winning lunch, dinner or pool access in the ‘guess the weight’ competition.
Friday, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 365 soft drinks and AED 545 with house beverages. Under fours go free, 50 per cent off for five-12 year olds. 04 809 6100. Al Forsan, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.
Everyone’s go-to luxury brunch. Regulars know the score – Japanese dishes done very well, with a fantastic spread of sushi, sashimi and robata and superb à la carte options.
The award-winning restaurant ends its Friday offering on a sweet note with a “deluxe dessert display” of banana cake and yuzu tart with soya milk ice cream.
AED 225 for kids under 12; AED 450 soft drinks package; AED 595 house beverages; AED 655 bubbly. Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 06, DIFC. 04 425 5660.
Dubai Week dined as guests of the venues. Prices have been updated where possible but may have increased due to VAT – please check with the venues.