The Au Soleil brunch at Brasserie 2.0 takes inspiration from the glamour, food and French fancy of 1960s Côte d’Azur living. We went along to see if it was Nice, or Cannes they do better?
Disclaimer, this is not our first Brasserie 2.0 rodeo, we have brunched here before. So technically this is our ‘rodeo 2.0.’ On our last visit, we were incredibly impressed by almost all aspects of the experience. So expectations are high.
There’s both interior and terrace seating available, we choose indoors as it’s within lusting distance of the sweets. The glass frontage allows for a ‘plein soleil‘ natural illumination of the venue, which certainly contributes to a pleasant Mediterranean vibe check.
Service is something that stood out for us in our last visit, and we’re pleased to report that consistency reigns. Our server clocks in with a sprint record for the drinks order, and we head off in search of our first plateful.
The fresh seafood reels us in. We’re stood in front of a four-sided buffet station piled high with mussels and sweet-fleshed still-shelled crustaceans. We also discover a seductive bed of hand-shucked oysters.
Lean closer please reader. And allow us to let you in on a little ‘Dubai Week brunch rating secret.’ You can often tell how fancy a brunch is, by how many varieties of dressing there are available for your oysters. Shallot or raspberry vinegarettes are usually strong indicators you’re in a swanky establishment. And Brasserie 2.0 is most certainly that.
After piling up a healthy tower of discarded shells we step outside to browse the multitude of live cooking stations. It’s arranged in a fun market stall-esque format, with each chef proudly sharpening knives, testing sear-to-juice ratios or tenderly flipping their sizzling fare.
What can’t be served immediately, is subsequently delivered to your table. The lamb chops are our top pick from the grill – cooked to a perfect rose tint and marinated with a rub we’d definitely like to see again.
Though focused on providing authentic Mediterranean flavours, Au Soleil is ultimately an international buffet. So you’ll find strong sushi choices, a reasonable selection of fragrant Indian dishes, shawarma and dim sum. But the real keystone cuisine, is the carvery selection of oven-roasted treats.
We are particularly enamored with the beef Wellington. It’s a complicated dish to perfect. Balancing moisture levels in the pastry and mushroom duxelle, and ensuring the tenderloin retains that Tuscan sunset medium rare through the middle.
The chef de partie cuts a thick tranche, we scurry back to our table to masticate and meditate on it. Brasserie 2.0 has achieved beef Wellington worthy of a duke. And visits two and three confirm consistency. Shhh, we had to be sure. The meat has a soft buttery consistency, it’s rich and tender and packed with flavoursome juices. The pastry is crisped on the fringe and fluffy beneath, it’s Bake-Off showpiece worthy.
Nouvelle Vague, the brunch house band are another exceptional element of Au Soleil. A perfect fit for the Provençal ambiance. We hear jazzy tones and Bossa Nova interpretations of songs on a profoundly varied set-list. Not even Spotify’s shuffle would dare pair Placebo with Astrud Gilberto. But Nouvelle Vague do, and their signature sound allows them to do it with utter gallic nonchalance. It is the most appropriate soundtrack for the brunch we can imagine.
The concluding episode of our afternoon involves macarons from the dessert selection. We are far too stuffed on all that’s gone before. But should you find inclination for one more push up this epicurean Everest, you’ll be rewarded with an imaginative sugar-sprinkled spread.
We’ve been given more than enough reason to return for rodeo 3.0. The price point for the brunch probably makes it a ‘special occasion’ option for many, but in terms of service and food, it is more than occasionally special. It’s undoubtedly amongst the very best on offer across Dubai’s brunch scene.
Dubai Week dined as a guest of the restaurant. Soft package AED 450. House package 595. Bubbles package AED 795. 1.30pm-4.30pm, until 20th December. Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Al Mamsha Street, Dubai Marina. 04 3165550.