x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Trying out three of UAE’s half-half brunches

Given the half-half trend in brunches, where buffets are combined with à la carte choices that are served at the table, we try three restaurants to see how they stack up.

Urban Picnic Brunch at 3in1 in Vida Downtown Dubai. Courtesy Vida Hotels and Resorts
Urban Picnic Brunch at 3in1 in Vida Downtown Dubai. Courtesy Vida Hotels and Resorts

Given the half-half trend in brunches, where buffets are combined with à la carte choices that are served at the table, we try three restaurants to see how they stack up.

Urban Picnic Brunch at 3in1, Vida Downtown Dubai

Given the array of brunch themes in Dubai, it’s not exactly surprising to find that you now have the option of an Urban Picnic Brunch, which comes complete with faux grass-covered indoor tables, outdoor poolside picnic cabanas and picnic baskets to carry all your fare from the buffet table. Forget soggy sandwiches and dodgy plastic plates – this is picnicking redefined, so expect more deli-type quiches and elegantly presented desserts in a jar.

In addition to a buffet that offers an array of cheeses, sandwiches, breads, wood-oven pizzas, salads, crumbles and bread-and-butter pudding, there’s a small à la carte menu to choose from. Highlights include the seafood basket (and more specifically, the king prawns that are found within it), lamb chops served with mashed potatoes and oat-crusted chicken.

Outstanding food, a laid-back atmosphere and a DJ playing classics by the likes of B B King make this the most refreshing addition to the Dubai brunch scene in years and the perfect outdoor venue when the weather starts cooling down.

• Urban Picnic Brunch every Friday, 1pm to 5pm at 3in1, Vida hotel, Downtown Dubai. From Dh225. Call 04 428 6823

* Andrea Anastasiou

Le Deck, Monte-Carlo Beach Club on Saadiyat Island

The highlight of the private beach club’s half-half brunch is its buffet of starters, headlined by a selection of cured meats and terrines boasting foie gras, rabbit, duck, lamb and (our favourite) chicken liver, all made fresh, in-house. There are also salad, cheese and dessert stations, plus a fresh seafood spread of oysters, king crab legs, jumbo shrimp and salmon gravlax. “It’s quintessentially French-Mediterranean fare at its best,” says Gavin Gleeson, the executive chef. There are four set-menu mains that change every week; during our visit it was chicken, rib-eye steak, tuna and scallops. If you can take the heat, get a table on the terrace for lovely views of Monte-Carlo’s pool, gardens and Saadiyat Beach.

• Friday brunch at Le Deck, Monte-Carlo Beach Club, noon to 4pm, from Dh270. Call 02 656 3500 or visit www.montecarlobeachclub.ae

* James Gabrillo

At the Table Friday Brunch with Gary Rhodes, Rhodes 44, St Regis Abu Dhabi

This brunch is a little less than half-half, but the stations on offer are outstanding: a glorious selection of seafood, including juicy oysters and meaty crab legs – with a knowledgeable staffer on hand to guide guests through the best options – and a delightful Eton mess station. Most of the food, six starters, six mains and an assortment of desserts served via trolley, is served at the table. The menu changes regularly.

• At the Table Friday Brunch with Gary Rhodes, 12.30pm to 3pm, from Dh270, with a children’s menu. Call 02 694 4553, visit www.rhodes44.com/friday-brunch or email restaurants.abudhabi@stregis.com

* Ann Marie McQueen