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.
Dukesy Family Brunch at West 14th Steakhouse
Recently re-branded as a Royal Hideaway hotel, does Dukes give us the regal treatment?Its West 14th Steakhouse’s nobly overlooks an infinity pool, facing the calm blue waters off Palm Jumeirah and the rising Dubai skyline.
As well as the shimmering sea, a live New York jazz duo that adds to the summer vibe. Welcome drinks are served to our table while attentive staff take us through the buffet set-up. It’s an atlas-worth of global options, from traditional Arabic dishes to sushi, finger-licking butter chicken and fresh seafood. Pasta is cooked up to your taste, while a grilling station offers a wide selection of smoky prime meats prepared exactly as you prefer.
Ticking off the family element is a buffet just for kids and supervised play area, while the whole family gets access to the hotel’s pool, beach and lazy river, so make sure to pack your swimwear.
Fridays, 1pm-4pm. AED 315 per person with soft beverages; AED 399 with house beverages and AED 160 per child aged six-12. Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel. 04 455 1111.
Big Brunch from Katsuya by Starck at Jumeirah Al Naseem
The new launch of the Big Brunch from Katsuya by Starck promises an incredible range of signature dishes, outstanding mixed drinks and great vibes – and it certainly delivers.
We’re ushered through a busy dining room, past live sushi rolling and into some of the comfiest booths we’ve ever sat in. Brunch opens with a phenomenal range of starters and sharing platters (we hugely recommend the creamy rock shrimp and the spicy albacore with crispy onions), Katsuya takes you on a journey of Japanese specialities including robata grill options, miso-marinated black cod and soy-basted tenderloins. The only let-down was the standard brunch fare desserts.
The restaurant is well-lit with great views across Jumeirah Al Naseem’s dining hub to create a relaxed and airy atmosphere. Given the quality of food and service, we thought the price was reasonable and will undoubtedly create a loyal following in Madinat Jumeirah’s lively brunch scene.
Katsuya by Starck, Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road. AED 350 with soft drinks, house beverages AED 450, sparkling AED 550. Fridays 12pm-4pm. 04 419 0676.
Soirée, Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai Marina
Sitting on the terrace of this seaside hotel, surrounded by palm trees festooned with lights, we feel very much all is well with the world.
The particular part of the planet this Thursday brunch represents is France, as if we were in any doubt, after being served a bowl of warm, melted brie. If the bread accompanying isn’t enough, inside the restaurant there’s a huge selection of different loaves.
Other starters meander through Continental Europe, with oysters, saffron arancini balls, mini chicken pies, mussels, scallops and prawns with roast potato and beetroot – a combination we weren’t sure would work, but we couldn’t stop ourselves going in for more. Cheeses range from soft and stinky to hard and strong, paired perfectly with a good spread of European cold cuts.
More substantial scoffs touch on the cuisine of across the Chanel – we tuck into roast beef with vegetables and mashed potato. A platter of desserts ends our Francophile experience – lemon meringue, coffee cake and chocolate macarons crowd for attention to win our cœur.
Thursday, 7pm-10pm. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai Marina. AED 199 with soft drinks, AED 299 selected beverages, AED 99 kids aged six to 12. 04 511 7373.
Brunch Out Loud, Lucky Voice, Grand Millennium Dubai Barsha Heights
There’s plenty to sing about at this lively Friday brunch. Resident DJ Jonno Blandford, games, fun inflatables and lip synch battles make the afternoon fly by.
From our table on the upper deck, we have a great view of the action (and a decent excuse not to be dragged up on stage).
The food’s generous but not chart-topping unless you’re a big fan of fried finger eats – cheese, chicken wings, shrimps and hash browns. Mini burgers and pizzas for the main courses continue the fast food fix. Finish it all up and there’s ice-cream for afters.
If you’re not already in a carb coma, after brunch every group gets an hour of complimentary karaoke.
Lucky Voice, Grand Millennium Dubai Barsha Heights. 1pm-4pm. AED 195 food and soft drinks, AED 295 house package, AED 350 sparkling. 800 58259.
The Britannia Brunch, The Restaurant, Address Downtown
The Dubai brunch brigade has sampled a handful of Brit-themed spreads in the past, but The Restaurant in The Address Downtown takes the concept upmarket – as you might expect.
For a start, next to a miniature red phone box you’ll find freshly shucked oysters; among the breads and well-curated salads a Union Jack-decorated mini Mini Cooper ensures you’re clear on the theme.
Mini burgers, delicately flavoured meat skewers and chicken lollipops beckon beside the open kitchen, but be careful not to fill up too early as this savvy brunch shows its true quality by moving on to family-style table service.
As the afternoon slips by, soundtracked by vintage tracks from Talk Talk, Blur, The Blow Monkeys and other bands that’ll have you digging deep into your sonic memories, shareable mains arrive in the shape of moist roast chicken, lamb with roast vegetables and trimmings including a plump Yorkshire pudding, impossibly good Shepherd’s Pie, salmon en croute and silky mash potato.
The result is a belt-testing blast of British comfort food, underlined by a dessert selection of Eton Mess, perfect lemon meringue pie, possibly the best sticky toffee pudding you’re likely to taste this far from the UK and a winning apple crumble.
The Restaurant, Address Downtown. Every Friday, from 1pm to 4pm. AED 295 per person including unlimited soft beverages; AED 395 per person with unlimited house beverages. 048 883 444.
Toshi in the Grand Millennium Dubai
Usually, if we’re booked for brunch at the Grand Millennium, Lucky Voice is our destination. But this time the karaoke bar doesn’t get a look in.
Tochi’s new Friday buffet brings together flavours from Japan, China, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. If that sounds like a lot of food, then it is. From live cooking stations making sushi, to crispy vegetable tempura, grilled chicken satay, vegetable tempura, fresh seafood, plus hot and cold soups and papaya salad.
Live music keeps the atmosphere up as our table splits up to tackle the vast spread, pausing only to scope fabulous view to the Arabian Gulf. A few laps of the buffet leaves us with space to fill in the dessert room. Here the Asian influence is held back for an assortment of mousse, gâteaux, fruits and cheesecake that finishes off any plans for a tuneful afterparty.
Check out Toshi’s excellent weekly theme nights if you can’t make Fridays.
Toshi in Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights. Fridays, 12pm-4pm. AED 299 per person with water and soft beverages and AED 349 per person with three hours of free-flowing house beverages. 04 4234111
Family brunch at Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate
A room dedicated to carbs, specifically pasta and pizza, isn’t even the best thing about the Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate brunch. Here chefs from the hotel’s Sicilia restaurant will cook your favourite pasta with a fresh cream or tomato sauce.
On Fridays, Al Bahou meeting hall is where all the hotel’s restaurants come together.
Cheese also gets a dedicated area, decorated like a rustic market. Find it next to the traditional European meats. There’s a great choice of salads and seafood too. Shanghai Chic brings the Asian flavours with dim sim, duck and rice dishes. Chor Bazaar is also here, serving Indian dishes from a tuk tuk.
We end up with the archetypal Dubai brunch plate of an odd but delicious assortment – beef, chicken satay, roasted beetroot, roasted parsnips, glazed carrots and gravy.
The highlight for us is a play area for kids with games, bouncy castle and ‘secret’ room where sandwiches, juices and finger food await them. It’s a great place to have a meal and keep them entertained.
Al Bahou at Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate. Fridays, 12.30pm until 4pm. From AED 295 with soft drinks, AED 395 house and AED 595 bubbles. Children under six go free and under 12s are 50 per cent off. 04 444 0000.
Le Petit Brunch, Aubaine
French bistro Aubaine branches out into brunch at its new City Walk branch. There’s a tongue twister for you, but this family friendly Friday offering is pretty simple – a buffet of cold cuts, cheeses, breads and pastries, one à la carte main course from a choice of four and your choice of hot beverage. There really is something for everyone – whether you want to indulge in the decadent desserts and pastries or opt for healthier dishes. There’s even a chocolate fountain, but it’s too early for us, so we feast on smoked salmon and croissants stuffed with cheese. Mains is a nicely-presented avo on toast, which is fast becoming the ‘club sandwich rule’ for judging breakfast spots in Dubai.
Ample free parking, great service and value for money makes this an ideal weekend brunch spot, especially if you have children since the restaurant even offers complimentary live entertainment, with face painting and balloon art appealing to little diners on our visit.
Aubaine, City Walk, Al Safa. Every Friday from 10am-2pm. AED 120 for adults/AED 40 for children. 04 510 8391.
The Saturday Roast, The Daily, Rove Dubai Marina
Living in a city with the culinary diversity of Dubai, there are few tastes of home we find ourselves craving. But a great value, tasty, authentic, British roast dinner – is a rare find indeed.
We heard that Rove Dubai Marina was serving up a weekend roast deal that smacked of Union Jack. So we find ourselves sat amongst the eye catching wall-mounted objet d’arts, of The Daily – the hotel’s all day dining restaurant.
AED 99 gets you either roast chicken or beef, roast potatoes and vegetables, baked broccoli and cauliflower gratin, gravy, bread sauce and something that is arguably more British than tutting internally when the person you hold the door open for doesn’t say thank you. Yorkshire pudding. A real national treasure.
The deal also includes a dessert (bread and butter pudding) and a glass of grape / bottle of hops / soft drink).
There are two of us plate testing, so we are able to try the chicken and beef. Both excellent efforts, plump, juicy, flavourful, they’re reminiscent of a strong UK pub Sunday special. The gravy was thick, swimming with roast jus flavours – and importantly for Brits – is served in adequate proportions. The vegetable gratin is an excellent inclusion, rich, perfumed – we could eat a bowlful. Confession time, we did eat a bowlful.
Service was friendly and prompt, and our dessert was certainly one of the highlights too – a pinch of school dinner, a sprinkle of something many dimensions beyond that. When you consider the excellent value, it’s a meal that would have scored full marks had they nailed the Yorkshire puddings. They came close. But alas – a tad dry and a fraction too crispy. We’ll be back though.
AED 99. Served between 12pm-5pm, Saturdays only. The Daily, Rove Dubai Marina. 04 241 9400.
Lapita Daycation Brunch, Dubai Parks and Resorts
Lapita is the Polynesian themed hotel at Dubai Parks and Resorts. The hotel’s Friday brunch picks up the tahiti tiki torch, and applies the same South Pacific twists to proceedings, along with a keen family focus.
The brunch package includes pool (which, dad newsflash, itself includes a lazy river) access for the whole day (10am-6pm). So following a quick pre-brunch dip we head out to sample the grand international buffet. The Kalea restaurant’s main dining area is tweaked with island chic, like an upturned ships hull – we have to restrain ourselves from bursting into an impromptu Moana recital.
The quality and range offered by the buffet is excellent. There’s an extensive kid’s food section and you’ll also find plenty of bounty from both land and sea at the grilling station. The marinated lobster was a particular plate real estate claimant for us, as was the genuinely creative salad section.
But the food isn’t what sells this brunch to us. It is the package as a whole. It’s the family entertainment, the pool access, little detailed touches like the presentation of a (plastic) flowery lei (a type of Hawaiian garland) on arrival, the walkable proximity to four theme parks AND then the food as a part of all that.
Soft drink package AED 295, house beverage package AED 395, premium beverage package AED 495. 1pm-4pm. Kalea, Lapita Hotel, Dubai Parks and Resorts. 04 810 9999.
Le Brunchette, venues around Dubai
Can’t decide when or where to brunch? Voila, Le Brunchette. Find this pint-sized blow out at 20 bars around Dubai during December – with McGettigan’s JBR, La Petit Belge, and Belgian Beer Café all involved. Specially created for those of us whose social calendars overload during the festive season, Le Brunchette is a great excuse to dedicate some downtime to a drink or two.
Timings differ around the venues, but all offer two hours of free-flow Belgian hops and a sharing platter of classy finger food. We appropriately enough earn our La Brunchette stripes at Café Artois, the terrace section of Bridgewater Tavern, in the JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay. We’re served juicy beef cuts, thick slices of bread, crispy nachos and barbecue chicken. It’s all honest pub food, done well.
The Bridgewater Tavern is open 4pm-12am weekdays and from 12pm on Saturday, but we’d recommend going in the evening, as it’s the perfect spot to look over the thunderous and illuminated Dubai Canal waterfall. #DATENIGHT
1st-30th December. 20 locations around Dubai. AED 180 per person for two hours of free flow and a sharing platter.
Trader Vic’s at The Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
Take it to the tropics with the Cheeky Tiki Brunch at Trader Vics. OK, the views outdoors are over the Arabian Gulf, but with a silk lei of flowers round our neck, a band strumming away and Trader’s signature beverages abounding, it really does feel like we’re on a Polynesian holiday.
A set menu is brought to the table. It’s a light and dare we say healthy spread of cucumber and ginger gazpacho, a platter of sushi, salad rolls and grilled seabass, which means we have even more room to pull our deckchair up to the dessert counter and savour chocolate fountains, churros and crepes.
No spoilers, but have a camera ready for the special fire and ice dessert! Even if you Bora Bora one.
Friday, 12.30pm-4pm. Trader Vic’s JBR, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah. Food and drinks, AED 325 per person. 04 318 2530.
Salt & Pepper Restaurant at Al Bandar Rotana
A good brunch can be like an adventure and the Al Bandar Rotana promises to fulfil our Friday wanderlust by taking us around the world in 80 bites.
Enter the restaurant’s all-day diner and start your journey at a sign directing diners to the cuisines of Egypt, UK, Japan, Italy and more. We embark at the sushi bar, watching the chef preparing rolls and sashimi. Fill up on Mediterranean and Arabic stations dishing out mixed grills and Levantine staples tabbouleh and hummus. We also stamp our passports on Mexican dips and Asian noodles fresh from the wok.
Each station has an accompanying dessert and we’re drawn back to the Middle East for ma’amoul cookies and syrupy kanafeh.
If you’re there with little travellers, they get their own wayfaring themed fun and games that Phileas Fogg would approve of at this no-frills, family-friendly offering.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. Al Bandar Rotana, Baniyas Road, Baniyas. 04 704 2222. AED 200 for soft drinks; AED 300 house beverages; children six-12 AED 80. Under sixes free.
Qasr Al Sultan Boutique Hotel
Up for a road trip? What about fuelling up for brunch at a new-ish hotel near Dubai Parks and Resorts?
In keeping with Qasr Al Sultan’s ideology of traditional local hospitality, the focus for our Friday feasting is on Arabic food. The spread still yields a great deal of choice and there’s something for everyone on the varied line-up. We love the Egyptian and Lebanese spread of mains from filling freekeh grains to bright green molokhia leaves and fish with olives.
Get interactive at the live grilling station, where you can choose the protein or veg to be grilled and delivered to your table. No pasta here, but those craving carbs should turn their attention to doughy manakish pulled fresh out of the oven. Desserts are well-represented as well, with kanafeh and creamy Umm Ali pudding scoring highly on our glutton meter.
Snagging a taxi afterwards can be tricky, but with a varied programme of live entertainment (also on an Arabic vibe), some educational dioramas and outdoor activities for kids, this brunch is worth appointing a designated driver for.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. Qasr Al Sultan Boutique Hotel, off the E11, near The Outlet Village. AED 195 soft drinks; AED 295 with house beverages; children over six half price and under sixes eat for free. 800 85826.
Sevilles at Wafi
Chefs stir a giant paella as street performers circulate. We raise a glass to the weekend and ask if we’re really in Dubai. Sevilles’ Thursday drunch brings the best of Spain to Wafi’s rooftop.
Wooden seating around a grassed area adds to the casual Continental feel – this is the kind of gathering you don’t have to dress up for, in fact, for this al fresco setting, we’d recommend leaving the heels at home.
Welcome drink in hand, we wander round live cooking stations, at the heart of which is a 1.6 metre paella cooked on an open fire pit. Attentive staff make sure we enjoy a steady flow of tapas, fresh ceviches and traditional Spanish beverage. There’s a separate area for the country’s meats too.
Stations could be closer together, but we’re happier to exercise our legs on the dance floor to beats from DJ Adrian La Bomba. Performers switch up regularly and we’re lucky enough to see energetic acrobat Luis Malabara.
Thursdays, 8pm-12am. AED 250 soft beverages; AED 350 house; AED 450 premium packages. Pyramids At Wafi, Umm Hurair 2. 04 324 4777.
Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa
As any good Stark will tell you “winter has come,” but unlike the unfortunate souls of Westeros, our winter translates into the reclamation of good vibes in the great outdoors.
So naturally we choose an al fresco terrace perch for this decadent dining experience.
There’s plenty of seating inside too, within easy dashing distance of the expansive international buffet. Round one begins with gloriously prepared seafood, freshly shucked oyster, sushi, and fish grilled to order right before our eyes.
Brasserie 2.0 has a reputation for providing an exceptional feast for meat lovers, and as well-seasoned carnivores ourselves, we can confirm it’s a reputation fairly earned. As veterans of the brunch game, we also use the dual plating tactic – to sample classic cuts from several continents – kebabs and chops, patties and shanks, as well as plenty of alternatives for those looking for a more meat free munch. We are keen on the freshly made Italian pizza and objet de dim sum – both of which seem to radiate an authenticity, not often seen in buffets of such varied cuisine.
The service is excellent; a battalion of servers is assigned to each table, armed with military efficiency, courteous smiles and fingers permanently clamped on the rapid fire refill trigger.
Next up, operation ‘storm the desserts’. Gelato, crêpes, a chocolate fountain, ice cream, gâteaux, candy floss, pastries, fruit, cakes of every conceivable kind. It’s a familiar sweet line-up for buffet brunches, but is exceptional in size and quality.
Brasserie 2.0’s Friday brunch is an endless journey of choice, and a firm favourite of ours amongst Dubai’s premium brunches.
Every Friday 1.30pm-4.30 pm. Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa. AED 450 with soft drinks, AED 595 house, AED 795 bubbly; kids five-12, AED 230. 04 316 5550.
Thela Baar Brunch at Bar Baar
Coming from Mumbai, we have high standards for Indian street food, but one sip of the paani puri water later and we know the Majestic Hotel’s social hub’s newly launched brunch was worth the wait.
Four stalls are laid out with the essentials for chaat – samosa and dahi bhalle in one, ragda patties in another, keema and bheja pav, lamb chops, home-made Indian-style burgers and so on. For the less adventurous, there are salads that run the gamut from a Caesar to coleslaw.
Choose from 40 different mains and desserts, which are cooked on demand so everything arrives super fresh and there’s less wastage. Falooda makes us super nostalgic and chai ice cream is the sweet perfect something to end the meal.
Drinks were the only downside – we were expecting some wacky and inventive takes on street eats here too, but there are only the usual suspects on display. However for the price point of packages, we really can’t grumble.
Over 21s only. Fridays from 1pm-4pm. Food only, AED 99. House beverages AED 199 and premium AED 249. Bar Baar, Majestic Hotel, Al Mankhool Road, 04 501 2631
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.
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 is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style room dedicated to gateaux, macarons and glooping chocolate fountains, and a small village of cheese available to peruse.
We can confidently say Traiteur is the best brunch we’ve ever done – the laid back atmosphere, live music, great service and spectacular food is a must for any residents who want to spoil themselves or impress the tourists in tow. 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. Kids below six dine for free; six-12years AED 247.5. 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.
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.