Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

The 20 best new brunches to sample in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

A list of the latest weekend brunches to suit every palate and pocket

From Thursday and Friday evening brunches (and even one oddity on a Wednesday night), to more traditional daytime feasts (and even one that serves breakfast foods all day), here are the newest brunches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Upcoming brunches

La Carnita, InterContinental Dubai Marina

Artsy cantina La Carnita at Dubai Marina will launch its latest brunch on Friday, July 19. All we know about the El Secreto afternoon brunch is that it’ll have Mexican-themed entertainment and nibbles (think tacos and guacamole), a DJ spinning RnB and hip-hop tunes, and four packages priced between Dh299 and Dh599. Oh, and you'll need a secret password to access the party. Call 04 425 4030.

Taikun, Vida Downtown

The Downtown Dubai restaurant (formerly Toko) will launch its Asia Quest brunch from Friday, July 19. Described as a "wild party brunch, to stir up every backpacker's blurry memories of Asian nightlife", this one will have six live stations. These include: a raw station, dim sum station, sushi station, salad station and a drinks station. Also on the menu are ponzu-laced oysters, duck tacos, rice and noodle dishes, pan-Asian salads, and meat and plant-based yakitori. The brunch costs between Dh255 and Dh395 per person, and runs from 12.30pm to 4pm. Contact reservations@taikundubai.com or 04 442 8383.

Opa, Fairmont Dubai

The Mediterranean restaurant will launch the Mykonos edition of its Big, Fat Greek brunch on Friday, July 19, which promises to transport guests to an exotic island party. In the midst of dancing to DJ Jayworx’s tunes, dip in and out of the four-course selection of eats. This includes fresh breads served with a spicy feta dip, hummus, tzatziki and tarama; savoury starters such as grilled Cypriot halloumi, beef carpaccio, Greek salad, fig and walnut salad and tuna tartare; and mains such as baked pastitsio, grilled baby chicken, moussaka and steamed sea bass fillet. Dessert is a cheery Athenian pie. The brunch is from noon to 4pm, for Dh350; call 04 357 0557.

Wet Deck, W Dubai The Palm

Pool-party brunch at Wet Deck
Pool-party brunch at Wet Deck

If it’s an Instagram-friendly brunch you’re after, book your spot at one of two limited-edition brunches at this poolside lounge. Taking place on the last Friday of this month and the next – so July 26 and August 30 – the Castaway and Rescue Party brunches come with inflatables, a treasure hunt, fun props, a photo wall and a costume competition (break out those mermaid tails, pirate hats and peg legs). The first is from 1pm to 5pm, the second from 3pm to 7pm, and both cost Dh395, inclusive of unlimited food, drinks and a sun lounger. Food-wise, expect guacamole, quinoa salad, Peking duck, piri piri shrimp, prime rib carving with mac and cheese, and brown sugar shawarma crepes. Contact wetdeckdubai@whotels.com or 04 245 5555.

Alloro, Wyndham Hotel

Starting from July 12, the Dubai Marina restaurant will slash the prices of its Friday brunch, with three packages available for between Dh149 and Dh249. Which is not to say that the Italian restaurant's Festa di Famiglia menu is any less extensive. Chase your welcome mocktail with nibbles of roasted vegetable crostinis, fried sardines with garlic aioli, beef pastrami and melon breadsticks, caprese salad skewers, orzo pasta, ricotta-stuffed mushrooms and beetroot gazpacho. And that's just antipasti. The hearty second course includes: chicken caprese with tomato ragout, beef lasagna, baked salmon with creamy spinach, tagliatelle with primavera, asparagus risotto and roasted rosematyry potatoes with grilled seasonal vegetables. Save space for the dolci platter, which puts a twist on traditional Italian desserts. There's a pinacolada tiramisu, banana caramel honey parfait and a zabaglione custard made with chocolate, among others. The brunch is from 1pm to 4pm; contact info@allorodubai.com or 04 407 8872.

Evening brunches

All’Onda, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai

Kick-start your weekend revelries at this Venetian restaurant on the Palm Jumeirah, which does a Thursday evening brunch that includes New York-born chef Chris Jaeckl’s Italian-Japanese fusion fare. Think fresh sushi and cicchetti platters, baked stuffed mushrooms and spaghetti carbonara. The Cosa Nostra brunch takes its name from Italy’s mafiosi culture, where people in the know or in the same circle were referred to as such. The only thing criminal about this brunch is its decadent desserts, which include a green tea-misu and cherry merengue; and perhaps the after-party that gets you three house beverages for an additional Dh100. The regular brunch is from 8pm to 11pm, and with three packages for between Dh295 and Dh495. Contact reservations@allondadxb.com or 04 248 8870.

Matagi, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai

The pan-Asian restaurant on the Palm Jumeirah launched its Crazy Rich Friday evening brunch on June 14. Sashimi and maki sharing platters aside, the menu takes in main courses such as miso lamb chops spicy slaw, grilled Wagyu sirloin wasabi, garlic soy glaze Portobello mushroom, chicken thighs yakitori and ikura udon noodles. Desserts include a choice between mochi ice cream with passionfruit and mikan cheesecake with cheesecake mousse, mascarpone cream, peanut brittle and caramelized peanuts. The brunch is from 7pm to 11pm, and costs between Dh299 and Dh399. Contact reservation@matagidubai.com or 04 248 8850.

Miss Tess, Taj Dubai

Miss Tess 
The vibrant Miss Tess venue

If you’re up for some mid-week indulgence in the Business Bay area, sign up for the Asian street-food restaurant’s extensive Wednesday evening brunch, which chef Sonthaya promises will “leave you full for the week”. Brunchzilla serves all of 34 dishes – spanning from soups, salads and sushi, to steamed and fried dim sum, grilled meats, Thai curries, kung paos, stir-fries and “bottomless” rice and noodle pots. Dessert is deep-fried ice cream or – and we’d go with this after all that – exotic Asian fruits. The Wednesday brunch costs between Dh228 and Dh288, and runs from 8pm to 11pm. Call 050 498 8505.

Gaucho, DIFC

The Argentinian steakhouse in Dubai International Financial Centre will host a “double” brunch every Friday until August 30. Early risers can opt for the Buenos Aires brunch from noon to 3.30pm, while night birds have the Summer Evening brunch from 7pm to 10.30pm. Both brunches serve a selection of six sharing starters, a choice of main and two desserts. These include: watermelon, avocado and feta salad, shrimp chicharron, glazed beef ribs, tuna ceviche, and two types of empanadas; plus churrasco de chorizo, 300g sirloin, ancho or ribeye, salmon with mango chutney and guacamole, spatchcock chicken or black truffle risotto; and for dessert, sizzling brownie and dulche de leche cheesecake. Each brunch has four packages ranging from Dh370 to Dh690. Call 04 422 7898.

Traditional brunches with a twist

Park House, Dubai Studio City

If you can eat breakfast food all day, here’s an authentic brunch that won’t break the bank. Head to Park House in Building 2 every Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. The homegrown cafe has launched the Studio City breakfast brunch in collaboration with its neighbouring eateries Taqado Mexican Kitchen and Nutri Bowl. On the Dh55 menu, adults can choose three items from among avocado toast, pancakes, shakshouka, burritos, overnight oats, and all manner of croissants and eggs. Kids pay Dh25 for one item, plus a juice and an ice lolly.

The Foundry, Southern Sun Abu Dhabi

The gourmet steakhouse has developed quite the reputation in the capital, and has been hosting brunch for a few years now. This year, meatlovers can look forward to a beef Wellington station, a raw poke bar and a make your own burrata counter, as part of the restaurant’s Raising the Steaks Friday brunch. That’s in addition to the restaurant’s famed foie gras gallery, oyster shucking table and plenty of fine cuts, of course. The brunch is served from 12.30pm to 4pm, and priced from Dh199 to Dh375. Call 02 818 4888.

The London Project, Bluewaters Island

Queenie's Brunch at The London Project 
An aerial artist at Queenie's Brunch at The London Project

Queenie’s Immersive Brunch, which launched on June 21, has all the trappings of a typical Dubai brunch: quirky entertainers (including dancers, actors and an aerial artist), foot-tapping tunes, drinks galore and some truly delicious food. Dishes are brought to your table, and the ones we can recommend first-hand include battered fish and chips, fried halloumi soft shell tacos, wild mushroom and truffle gnocchi, and chocolate torte. This one runs every Friday from noon to 4pm, and has three packages for between Dh395 and Dh795. If you stick around for “Queen’s Hour” until 7pm, you get buy one, get one free on selected drinks. Contact reservations@thelondonproject.com.

Tasca, Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah

This is celebrated chef Jose Avillez’s first international restaurant, and its new Friday brunch promises an authentic Portuguese menu – think piquant spices and a bounty of seafood. The first two courses of the Friday brunch are split between saladas and petiscos. The former includes roasted peppers in a Portuguese dressing; a chickpea salad with codfish, parsley and onion; and a black-eyed peas salad with tuna, egg and garlic mayo. The tapas-style snacks offer a selection of clams, roasted veal chorizo, fried green beans and roasted mushrooms in various flavour combinations. The main tradionais course serves roasted codfish (with potatoes, garlic, onion and olives), roasted sardines (with fleur salt) and grilled meat (with mustard and pickles). Finally, sobremesa is a pastel de nata custard tart served with fruits and ice cream. The brunch is served from 12.30pm to 4pm, and costs between Dh300 and Dh400. Call 04 777 2222.

Al Muntaha, Burj Al Arab

Al Muntaha is on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab
Al Muntaha is on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab

The Burj’s “sky restaurant” has a fancy new Friday brunch that goes by the moniker Le Grand Petit Déjeune. The Grand Breakfast lives up to its name; served for six hours from 10am, not only is it longer than a typical Dubai brunch, but it also includes exotic ingredients such as blue lobster from Brittany, black truffle from Perigord, aged pecorino and comte cheeses, quail eggs, Alaskan king crab, jam made from strawberries grown in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture and artisanal French salted butter. Expect to pay Dh695 per person for these delicacies plus one glass of bubbly; call 04 301 7600.

Eat & Meat, The H Dubai

Contrary to its name, the restaurant serves a Seafood Night evening brunch every Thursday from 8pm to 11pm. Its ready-to-cook counters have an assortment of shellfish (prawns, mussels, lobsters) and fresh fish fillets (hammour, red snapper and Sultan Ibrahim), plus seaood chowder, sushi paella and fried rice. The meal is priced at Dh275 and can be upgraded to include house beverages for an additional Dh50. Call 04 501 8623.

Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

This leisurely brunch includes table service and some of the Cantonese restaurant’s most popular dishes. The meal begins with a soup and Peking duck pancakes. Next come baskets of dim sum, including: ­Sichuan-style wantons, har gau, crystal Wagyu dumplings, mushroom dumplings, pan-fried taro cake, chicken floss triangles, Wagyu truffle puffs and crispy prawn dumplings with foie gras sauce. For main course, try stir-fried pepper rib-eye beef, steamed prawns in chilli sauce and stir-fried sugar snap peas with ginger, while desserts are ever-changing (although we hope the milk chocolate and hazelnut parfait is part of the mix). The Friday brunch is from noon to 4pm, and has three packages for between Dh318 and Dh638. Contact hakkasan@emirates­palace.ae or 02 690 7739.

The Loft, Downtown Dubai

The restaurant atop Dubai Opera launched its Lofty Caviar brunch (although you can opt for a package without it) on June 14, which takes place every Friday afternoon, saxophonist in tow. A dedicated caviar station aside, the sharing set menu includes a risotto and pasta live station, a seafood bar with a selection of icy oysters and ceviche, guacamole, truffle pizza, steak tartare, watermelon and feta salad, braised lamb shoulder and salmon in a butter sauce. The brunch is from noon to 4pm, and costs between Dh395 and Dh595 without caviar, and Dh695 to Dh895 with it. Call 04 362 7312.

Joe’s Backyard, Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City

The BBQ-led restaurant has a brunch each day of the weekend, all three of which cost Dh250m for food and unlimited house beverages. The Thursday Caribbean Night brunch has live reggae music from 8pm to midnight; the Friday afternoon brunch has dance numbers from the 1980s and 1990s, and is from 1pm to 5pm; and the Saturday brunch has lounge music and is from 1pm to 4pm. On the menu are sharing starters such as chicken wings, cherrywood-smoked salmon and fried mac and cheese; butcher steak, eight-hour smoked prime brisket or the catch of the day for mains; and coleslaw, tomato salad and Joe’s chips for sides. Call 055 709 4509.

Shades, Address Dubai Marina

The rooftop lounge launched its Aquaholic Friday brunch on June 14, for those who enjoy a pool-party vibe. Live counters are the highlight of this brunch, which has one each for multi-flavoured salads, maki, bruschetta and sliders, plus a “fry-up” corner serving tempura prawns with wasabi, Dutch-style bitterballen, bbq chicken wings, Cajun-spiced wedges, and potato and cheese pockets. Head to the grills for mains, which include grills such as Wagyu beef yakitori, yoghurt- marinated chicken tikka, spiced lamb kofta, and miso tofu and eggplant skewers. An ice cream, waffle and popsicle cart is on hand for something sweet. The brunch is from 2pm to 6pm, and costs between Dh245 and Dh345. Post-brunch gets you unlimited house beverages for an additional Dh199 from 6pm to 10pm. Contact dine@emaar.com or 04 888 3444.

Bukhara, Grayton Hotel

An affordable all-you-caneat feast is to be had at this Bur Dubai restaurant’s Celebration Brunch. The Mughlai menu costs between Dh149 and Dh249, and includes signature dishes from India’s northwest frontier, such as tandoor-cooked kebabs, creamy but spicy curries, chargrilled vegetables, stacks of fluffy naan breads and biryani, of course. These are accompanied by crunchy poppadums and colourful chutneys. The Friday brunch is from 12.30pm to 4pm; contact reservations@graytonhotel.com or 050 806 4841.

Updated: July 10, 2019 07:51 PM

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