Brunch review: The Jebel Ali Recreation Club’s circus-themed brunch


Spectacular, spectacular – no words in our vernacular, describe how excited we are, that the circus has come to brunch

Jebel Ali Recreation Club originally joined the Dubai leisure scene back in the 1970s. But was given a dramatic update in November 2017 with the opening of a brand new dining district. Has it retained the same spirit that kept it a nostalgic favorite across five decades?

We went along to find out.

Each Friday until the 6th April, the five restaurants that make up the new semi-circular Jebel Recreation Club entertainment complex, are holding a circus-themed mega brunch.

And it is MEGA. Not just because of the variety of cuisine on offer. Or the tangible buzz of the family-friendly atmosphere. The extravaganza put on by the big-top performers make it really feel like the circus has come to town. There are mischievous clowns, juggling unicyclists, and feats of acrobatic trickery that seem to be drafted straight out of The Greatest Showman. The carnival feels are unquestionably real.

The brunch is held from 1pm-4pm, and you’re invited to dine at one of the five restaurants.  Choose from Spanish classics at Andalucia Tapas & Grill; a rich international mix at both the revamped The Ship’s Wheel and The Clubhouse (with the latter’s kitchen run under the keen culinary eye of Chef Ryan Waddell); oceanic bounty is enriched by Asian flair at Seafood Kitchen; whilst authentic rustic Italian flavours are plated up at C House Milano.

We booked in at Andalucia Tapas & Grill. The format for the brunch is buffet with a grill station bolted on (there’s even a shwarma stand, for those relentless devotees of the spinning chicken).

A buffet actually lends itself well to tapas servings, and the people at Andulicia actively encourage that sort of dining experience by offering a variety of plate sizes. Crockery, big enough for sharing platters, and smaller dishes to collect samplings of a little bit of everything.

As you might expect from an Iberian feast, there is a giant seafood paella to dig into and the big flavours from the land where the rain falls mainly on the plain were all there. Other Spanish favorites in attendance were: the tortilla-based faluata taquitos (a slender, cooked taco), freshly seared meaty chorizo from the grill, the substantial side dish of patatas bravas (which is almost as fun to say as it is to eat), crispy, soft calamari (battered squid) and the always welcome citrusy tang of on-point ceviche.


The resident chefs de partie also dish out delicious strip loin – cooked to your preferred cuisson. They’re brushed in a marinade that probably gave us our strongest reminiscence of a ‘Costa del’ holiday.

The dining parties are enjoyably diverse, with families and big groups of friends in almost equal numbers. Everybody there to enjoy dinner, and the show. In between and after the circus acts, the audience is treated a to the selected sounds of a DJ and a live band.

circus perf

It’s incredibly good value too, AED 175 for a soft drinks package and AED 240 for house beverages. The only real negative point we can think of is that there are only two opportunities left to experience it. We are, however, excited to see what takes its place in the summer season.

One final clincher, if you are still on the fence, is the presence of the emirate’s first licensed dine-in cinema (with a menu created by Guy Fieri no less). The Reel Cinema at the Jebel Ali Recreation Club opens very soon and could provide the perfect end to a fun foodie Friday in Dubai.

The Circus-themed brunch is available on the 30th March and 6th April. 1pm-4pm, Jebel Ali Recreation Club 1pm-4pm. Call Andalucia Tapas & Grill on 04 882 3771.


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