If brunches were an Olympic sport, Dubai would definitely be the gold medal winner.
We’ve rounded up a list of 14 favourite weekend feasts to suit hungry families, peckish party animals, epicureans with an appetite.
Words: Vanisha Rajesh
Tried and tested by us: 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 290 per person with soft drinks, AED 450 with house beverages) and AED 590 per person with bubbly. Free for children under four, AED 155 for five to 12. The Meydan Hotel, Meydan. 04 381 3111.
Tried and tested by us: 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 including soft drinks and from AED 285 with house beverages. Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road. 04 317 4515.
Tried and tested by us: 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
Tried and tested by us: 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.
Al Forsan, Bab Al Shams. Friday, 12.30pm-4pm. AED 345 per person with soft drinks and AED 515 per person with house beverages. 04 809 6100
Tried and tested by us: Qwerty, Media One Hotel, Media City
All that’s missing is ‘u’. Did you see what they did there? Media One’s newest hangout has launched a Friday brunch that’s short on time but long on fun. An optional WhatsApp quiz and retro Atari games pair with two hours of bottomless food and beverages.
A sharing platter of chicken Scotch eggs, lamb sliders, prawn kebabs, salmon fishcakes and more are tussled over by our table of four, but the staff quickly note our favourites and bring more. The generous bowl of ‘muchos nachos’ are some of the best we’ve had. Main courses options change weekly, so you might miss ploughman’s cheeseboard and slow-cooked Arabic lamb with biryani rice, which are let down after the fantastic starters.
Full marks for an inventive dessert that’s whipped up table side and includes everything from jellybeans and crème caramel to macaroons and ice-cream. Not everyone is served by the time brunch ends, but we’re not rushed to leave.
Music is a solid romp through 90s dance.
Qwerty, lobby level of Media One Hotel, Media City. AED 199 for bottomless food and beverages from 1pm-3pm. Add AED 99 to extend to 4pm. 055 124 9673.
Tried and tested by us: Best Dressed Brunch at Great British Restaurant, Dukes Dubai
We pile our plates with meaty king crab legs and freshly-shucked Colchester oysters. If your best bib and tucker allows, head for the deliciously succulent freshly carved roast beef and lamb, served along with perfectly risen crispy Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings.
Those with a sweet tooth will want to pull over at the enticing dessert station featuring a decadent chocolate fountain and sweet treats like miniature tarts. And it’s not British brunch without classic scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
Soft drinks AED 295, house beverages AED 395, sparking AED 445 and bubbly AED 545. Fridays from 1pm-4pm. DUKES Hotel on The Palm. 04 455 1101.
Tried and tested by us: Toro Toro at Grosvenor House
Rejoice, meat lovers, the Toro Toro Friday brunch is back. It heralds its arrival with the sound of salsa music, but this food-focused afternoon isn’t all about getting up and dancing.
The majority of the meal is served to our table – this is a brunch people go to for the food. Guacamole made table-side comes with fresh tortilla chips, before we browse a cold buffet of ceviche, tataki and heirloom tomato salad. We particularly enjoy the crispy prawns and the lamb anticucho skewers from hot starters brought to us.
We’re given a red/green card to show the server whether we still have space in our stomachs for mains. After devouring succulent picanha, beef tenderloin, lamb rack chicken and prawns, we don’t think there’s any more room. Then waiter brings us a chocolate sphere filled with eatable flowers, chocolate brownies, strawberries and crispy chocolate pearls.
What happens next is for you to find out but what we can say is that this is a truly spectacular way to finish off this pan-Latin brunch.
Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. Selected beverages AED 490, soft drinks AED 350. Grosvenor House Dubai. 04 317 6000.
Tried and tested by us: Local at Tryp by Wyndham
Having a lazy weekend and in need for a proper fry up with all the trimmings? Local at Tryp by Wyndham welcomes you from 11.30am till 2pm with egg and pancake stations, hot and cold buffet, freshly squeezed juices and a hot brew.
All produce is locally grown, making it a very sustainable option for your Saturday morning meal. We are also loving that this lazy brunch is not just for us, but also for four-legged members of the family. Now that the temperatures are much more bearable, dog owners can bring their pets along and enjoy brunch outside at the terrace.
For only AED 92 per person you really have a lot to enjoy and if you bring a jar to recycle with, you only pay AED 75.
Every Saturday. Local at Tryp by Wyndham, Barsha Heights. 04 247 6666. Kids under 10 eat free.
Rüya, Grosvenor House
Rüya is re-launching its popular Friday brunch this September, after Chef Colin Clague’s Turkish Anatolian cuisine was a big hit with diners last season. Live stations serve cold starters, desserts and freshly baked breads, while the main menu satisfies with rib eye, lamb cutlets and grilled sea bream.
Don’t leave without trying the gooey and totally more-ish Two Cheese Pide. If it’s cool enough, bite into it on the terrace with pleasant views over the Marina.
Start from AED 295 for food with soft drinks, AED 495 with house beverage, and AED 595 inclusive of bubbly. Fridays, 12am-4pm. Grosvenor House, Al Sufouh Road. 04 3999 123.
Wok and Roll brunch at Mr Miyagi’s
In the mood to sleep in late and still have delicious food and beverages? At this trendy new kid on the block, you can hit the snooze button and still enjoy four sharing platters of Asian-inspired nibbles, dim sum, Thai curries, katsu and mango sticky rice.
Wok-stars can add an extra hour of unlimited beverages at the adjoining Cobra Kai for only AED 100.
House package AED 275 and sparkling package AED 550. Fridays, 4pm-7pm. Level 9, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City. 04 420 7489
Feast at the Sheraton Grand Hotel
Lively open kitchen stations serve everything from North Indian-style pomegranate and tamarind chicken, to Indonesian beef rendang, Irish oysters to French Camembert, while a band plays soul, jazz and swing music. Praline, brownies, mud cakes and cookies take care of sugar cravings.
Little Explorers’ Corner caters for kids with colouring books and fun activities, to make sure it’s a relaxing experience for parents.
Fridays, 1pm-4pm. AED 325 with soft drinks, AED 425 with house beverages and AED 595 with bubbly. Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road. 04 503 4444.
Everyone’s go-to luxury brunch is back with a bang from 29th September. Brunching regulars know the score – Japanese dishes done very well, with a fantastic spread of sushi and 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 and AED 655 bubbly. Fridays, 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 06, DIFC. 04 425 5660
Besh Street Brunch, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates
Brunch at Besh transports diners to the hustle and bustle of an authentic Turkish market. Journey through the merchants’ stalls, sample succulent grilled meats, homemade pide and pastries fresh from the baker’s oven, followed by the fisherman’s catch of the day.
Listen out for the sound of the bell from the dondurma cart and finish up with traditional Turkish ice-cream. Little Besh fans can enjoy the dedicated children’s play area.
AED 195 soft beverages and AED 295 house. Fridays, 1pm-4pm. Besh Turkish Kitchen, Level 5, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates. 04 377 2353.
Karnival Brunch at Nine7One
Promising a carousel of trendy cuisine, the new Karnival brunch wants to put the fun into Fridays.
Sample bite-sized dishes like foie gras macaroons, corn on the cob topped and Manchego cheese lollipops, before getting seriously stuck into the main courses. We can’t wait to try ‘The Elvis’ – a heady fried smush of peanut butter and banana that was reputably Elvis Presley’s favourite sandwich. Other gluttonous options include skewered crumb fried ravioli and coconut crusted fried shrimp on stick with tangy tomato dip.
Kids have their own candy cart, with Oreo churros and a flavoured chocolate fountain.
AED 299 for kids above 4 years old, AED 399 house beverages and AED 599-AED 799 for bubbly packages. Fridays, 1pm-4pm. Level 1, The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay. 04 444 1407.