There is 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.
Liwan, Swissôtel Al Ghurair
Parents, want a brunch where the kids are entertained while you can relax? We are actually jealous of how much fun our little dining companions have at the Playhouse Family Brunch. While we work our way round an admittedly delicious buffet, they’re learning to cook, flipping out on a bouncy castle, having their faces painted and tucking into their own mini spread of sandwiches, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. There’s even a popcorn machine. If we didn’t have our own ice-cream corner, piles of Swiss chocolates, Thai curry station and barbecue, we’d be very jealous.
Swisshotel is unlicensed, so they take real care over the soft drinks. We sip watermelon juice and ginger – a refreshing change from the usual fizzy pops!
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 160 adults, AED 80 children aged six to 12. Under fives eat for free. Swissôtel Al Ghurair, Deira, near Fish Roundabout. 04 293 3000.
Backyard Brunch, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar
Grills are fired up for brunch at the new Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront. Its FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar pays homage to Minnesota, North America’s ‘Land of 1000 Lakes,’ though it’s a stretch of Dubai Canal that we overlook here, albeit to the energetic Americana of band Down Home, who please us with a plethora of Johnny Cash hits.
A fug of barbecue smoke hangs over the terrace, but before we meet the meat, there’s a fruit de mar platter of mussels and crab, and a mini menu of 10 small plates to plough through. From these, crab croquettes are a hit, though we can’t taste the promised pickled jalapeños in the mayo. Huevos rancheros are special too, with fried organic eggs sending a stream of golden yolk over smokey beans and guacamole. We’re encouraged to re-order and offered a choice of topped flatbreads, but it’s not our first time at a rodeo and we leave space for the live cooking stations.
At these we help ourselves to gigantic prawns in a spicy salsa and coal grilled vegetables nestled in chunky stewpots, as the chef carves a huge chunk of smoked and charred flank steak. Like any good barbecue, there’s a plentiful amount of condiments to sauce up the servings. Again you can make endless trips to here and the ‘slurp stations,’ though over-indulged brunchers may prefer table service.
Dessert is laid out in its own room and although nothing really adheres to the American cook-out theme (we’d love to see warm S’mores on the menu), there’s a delicious smorgasbord of chocolate bark, Snickers cake, brownies and meringue. Kids also get their own supervised area to play in, though they’re perfectly welcome out on the terrace and eat for free if they’re under six.
Every Friday, 12.30pm-4pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, Business Bay. AED 250 with soft drinks; AED 395 for the house package; AED 450 for sparkling. AED 95 for children aged 6 to 12. 04 249 7800.
The Lion by Nick and Scott at The H Hotel
When you’ve got one of Dubai’s best restaurants under your belt, taking on a British-style pub is something of a curveball. But that’s what Nick Alvis and Scott Price – they of folly by Nick & Scott fame – have done with The Lion.
Based in The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, it ticks plenty of boxes: cool but unpretentious décor, strategically placed screens for key sporting action and quality pub grub. The fine dining duo have put a gentle upward spin on some Brit favourites, available all week but also via a flexible three-hour brunch package on Fridays.
The set menu that begins with a sharing platter featuring surely Dubai’s best Scotch eggs – taste bombs with a quail egg at heart, lifted by wholegrain mustard dipping sauce – and veal sausage rolls of light pastry and finely herbed meat, enough without their BBQ dip. Silky chicken liver pâté comes with chutney and really good toast and lime and chilli-marinated chicken wings hit a different level.
Mains options include Angus burger in a sourdough bun with ranch dressing and veal pancetta, and fish & chips with chunky chips and crushed peas. Beef in Murphy’s pudding with mash and gravy won our vote; a pub classic done well – only slightly let down by mash that would have enjoyed a tad more butter.
For dessert you choose from sticky toffee pudding and a deconstructed apple crumble. Bathed in perfect vanilla custard, this bowl of comfort food vanished in seconds.
All the nourishment is complimented by a “wash it down” drinks list that includes some canny mixed beverages, and a resident DJ. Right now, show Lion staff your taxi receipt and and it will be deducted from your bill.
The Lion, The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road. Three hours from 2pm-2am Fridays. AED 250. 04 359 2366.
Brothaus, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay
The Brothaus’ brand new Friday brunch has finally arrived and we are 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.
Like the layout, 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 à 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. Grilled prawns with a miso and coriander reduction are our stand-out favourites, with the flavour meandering 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.
Three outlets – NOÉPE, Brasserie du Park and seventyseventy – contribute 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, The Market, Hilton Dubai 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 The Market at Hilton Dubai 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 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 hotel’s pool lounge, Firefly. There’s Insta-loving sushi and sashimi from V 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.
Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City. 04 435 5577. Every Friday, 1pm-4.30pm. AED 300 soft drinks; AED 425 house beverages and AED 625 for sparkling French grape. Kids aged five to 12 years join in for AED 150. Under fives eat for free.
So Cho, Dubai Marine Resort
Dubai Marine Beach Resort has a number of 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! Dishes keeps coming to our table and drinks are replenished throughout the evening. Quality mostly matches quantity with the highlights being the ceviche, tempura, gyoza and edamame, served with ginger and sesame seeds; a welcome change from the plain salted variety. Perhaps they could reduce the number of dishes on offer to make those served the best possible?
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 range 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 sit 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. 04 217 0000.
The Meydan Family Friday 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. If you’re blessed with a nanny, they can eat for free to.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 290 soft drinks, AED 400 with house beverages. Free for children under four and one nanny per family, 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 haunting melody of a live khim (a traditional Thai instrument) welcomes us in the lobby to begin the experience.
The brunch itself combines buffet and live cooking stations from the hotel’s three principal 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 choice 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 add 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. 04 421 5669.
The Garden 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, 1pm-4pm. AED 365 soft drinks and AED 545 with house beverages. Under fours and one nanny per family goes free, AED 182.50 for five-12 year olds. 04 809 6194. 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 may have changed due to VAT – please check directly.