Feeling flush after payday? Treat yourself to some fine dining
Time Out Dubai staff
Al Qasr: This stylish and expansive brunch is a big favourite. You truly get something of everything from this brunch spread across three restaurants. The live cooking stations include freshly barbecued wagyu burgers and seared-on-the-spot steak and prawns. Sit at a table in one of any of the three restaurants or, even better, out on the terrace overlooking the Madinat’s canals and the Burj Al Arab. Features a live band and some great food. Very classy.
Dhs395 (soft drinks); Dhs495 (premium house beverages and bubbly); Dhs220 (children aged five to 12); free for under fives. 12.30pm-4pm. Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
Armani/Hashi: Just when we thought it wasn’t possible to cram another high-end Japanese restaurant into Dubai, Hashi comes along and rips up the rule book. The food is faultless – each dish is bursting with fresh ingredients, artfully combined to create innovative twists on Japanese classics. The chef’s pick of sashimi – slabs of fresh, juicy fish, served on a somewhat over-the-top ice sculpture alongside some potent, freshly grated wasabi should be tried. The octopus tempura starter is juicy and full-flavoured, and is minimally coated in a thin panko crust.
Dhs290 (soft drinks); Dhs380 (half a bottle of Italian bubbly and selected house beverages); Dhs585 (half a bottle of premium bubbly and selected beverages); Dhs145 (kids under 12). Noon-3pm. Armani Hotel Dubai, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 888 3444).
Azur All-Day Dining: Overlooking the splendour of the Raffles Botanical Garden on the third floor, the hotel all-day dining restaurant Azur features an international buffet with an abundant choice of Pan-Arabic and Asian dishes. Choose from the live cooking stations and the great selection of starters buffet, while the delectable dessert buffet will satisfy your sweet tooth, with an array of mouth-watering cakes, pastries and Arabic sweets. The outside terrace offers an additional setting to enjoy your meals while soaking up the warm weather, surrounded by the luxuriant tropical garden.
Dhs200 (soft drinks); Dhs330 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 314 9888).
Bateaux Dubai: Amid the multitude of dhow dinner cruise ventures that line the creek in Bur Dubai, touting for tourist business, Bateaux Dubai stands out. For a start, the boat itself is a sleek beast. Built in Paris, it boasts glass walls and ceiling (for the ultimate city-viewing experience), and the interior is more akin to a five-star hotel than a dodgy tourist dhow. Of course, the main attraction here is being able to gawp at the creekside buildings as the boat glides silently through the water; you can glimpse Sheikh Mohammed’s private residence en route to Maktoum Bridge, albeit with a few stern notices warning against photography. But don’t let the view distract you from the food. Held on the first Friday of every month, this three-and-a-half-hour brunch cruise features live music, unlimited French bubbly, house beverages, a freshly prepared à la carte main course along with starter and dessert buffets, tea and coffee.
Dhs495 (selected house beverages and bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm. Al Seef Road, opposite British Embassy, Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai (04 399 4994).
Beachcombers: There is one option for dinner at this atmospheric, family friendly beachside restaurant – and that’s seafood. Enjoy Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian dishes. The attentive staff offered an inside or outside seat, but both are atmospheric. Outside overlooks palm trees, the beach and sea, and the inside boasted a wooden decking homely feel, dim lighting and mellow vibe. Buffet stations included one for the children (or for those with a blander palate), offering pasta, salads, BBQ chicken and western dishes. There was a cold salad station with fresh and reasonably flavourful turkey ham and green bean salad, seasonal greens and tasty fresh salmon and tuna pasta. The sizable kids’ play area features a variety of fun things, including a Playstation for them to gawp at while you indulge.
Dhs230 (soft drinks only); Dhs325 (selected house drinks); Dhs115 for kids five-12 years. 12.30pm-4pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah (04 406 8999).
Ewaan: There’s no denying that Ewaan boasts an impressive location. Nestled at the foot of the imposing Burj Khalifa, the visual treat continues inside, with trellising, drapes and lanterns adding to the cozy Arabian vibe. The food is largely Arabian too, though the selection of kebabs and mezze does have to jostle for space on the menu with a seemingly unnecessary amount of oriental tempura and satay. Tuck in with a hot mezze selection to start – light and fluffy cheese sambusak and grilled halloumi, with a dish of lentil soup on the side, are all well-prepared and tasty.
Dhs245 (soft drinks); Dhs390 (select beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. The Palace, The Old Town, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 428 7888).
Farriers: This equine-themed international restaurant at the Meydan hotel serves an extensive array of dishes from around the world: sushi and sashimi can be found nestled next to fresh pasta and Middle Eastern offerings. Park yourself out on the terrace and enjoy the impressive and somewhat surreal views of the lush green racecourse and the barren dessert beyond. If ever there was a view to sum up the bizarre nature of Dubai, it’s this. Indulge in signature cuisine from the world’s horse-racing destinations. Features a great kids’ corner, with face painting, balloon-bending, a bouncy castle and much more.
Dhs295 (soft drinks only); Dhs495 (with bubbly); Dhs150 for kids 14-16 years. Under 13s free. 12.30pm- 4pm. The Meydan Hotel. Nad Al Sheba (04 381 3111).
Fazaris: Its 12-page international menu, filled with 5,000 dishes, takes longer to read than your meal will take to eat. It has something for everyone – you name it, Fazaris serve it. The problem with this all-purpose eatery is that it lacks any real specialities or distinct character. The best things here are the desserts. The rich chocolate brownie and lemon sorbet are both well worth tucking into, if you bother to stick around past the mains. If too many cooks spoil the broth, then too many dishes ruin Fazaris. That said, there is a fair chance the other 4,956 dishes we haven't tried yet will be delicious…
Dhs290 (soft drinks); Dhs425 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. The Address, Downtown Dubai (04 436 8880).
Glasshouse Brasserie: The à la carte deal is one of the cheapest bubbly brunches in town. Pick your starter and dessert from a delectable buffet spread, with your main picked from the a la carte menu. Here you will find roast meats with veggies and gravy a particular highlight. Friendly, knowledgeable service and delicious food make up for the slightly out-of-date decor. There’s a rooftop pool bar with great views of the Creek contrasted against the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Skyline.
Dhs250 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 212 7551).
JW Marriott Dubai: The Triple Delight Brunch enables guests to wander between all three of JW’s restaurants – Market Place (international), Hofbrauhaus (German), and Bamboo Lagoon (pan-Asian) – at this elegant and grand hote. Huge sofas and lush cushions all but engulf guests at the lobby, and the enormous staircase is straight out of Cinderella. Strange, then, that the classy ambience is undermined somewhat by an assemblage of plastic palm trees. Needless to say there’s a vast array of food to be had, with buffets and live cooking stations galore.
Dhs220 (soft drinks); Dhs330 (selected house beverages); Dhs440 (premium beverages); Dhs550 (premium beverages and bubbly); Dhs110 (children aged six to12). Noon-4pm. Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira (04 262 4444).
Margaux: Modern French wonders with a slight Asian edge – such as asparagus wrapped in wafer thin wagyu, the most wonderful wagyu mini-burgers with peppers, rocket and gruyere. All their à la carte beef is aged for 60 days and although the menu’s concise, it leaves your mouth-watering. You can’t have a French meal without a crème brulee and the trio here is one of joy. Take your pick of two starters, a main course and a dessert with a selection of bubbles and mixed drinks.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs375 (unlimited house beverages). Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Khalifa. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.margaux.ae (04 439 7555).
Mazina: With a classy, modern feel to it, Mazina plays the part of a restaurant in a five-star hotel in the heart of New Dubai well, but the prices are surprisingly reasonable and service top-notch. The houmous, fatayer, labneh, salads, cuts of meat, cheese, bread and more were all fresh and flavourful. Sample an array of international cuisine at Mazina’s White Friday Brunch. Dress in cool white for entry into the raffle (prizes include a complimentary night’s stay at The Address Dubai Marina).
Dhs295 (soft drinks); Dhs365 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. The Address, Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
Mina A' Salam, Madinat Jumeirah: An international buffet with an Arabic twist, featuring several live cooking sections. The options tend to vary from Friday to Friday depending on what’s in market and what the chef decides to put on the tables. Needless to say, all food is fresh and tasty. There is a large terrace overlooking the rather fetching canal. A live band provide background music, and a DJ takes over as the day wears on. The play area features face painting, games and PlayStations – enough to keep the rascals reigned in.
Dhs345 (soft drinks only); Dhs425 (with selected house beverages); Dhs220 for kids 5-11 years. 12.30pm-4pm. The Wharf, Al Muna, Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888).
Nobu: Nobu has finally joined the high-end brunch bandwagon. This à la carte brunch features some fantastic sashimi and sushi dishes, though the cooked meats aren’t quite as good. Start your meal with edamame, slippery hijiki inaniwa noodles and the wonderful crab tacos, which featured spicy wasabi tempered by sweet crab meat and sour cream. Follow this with the yellow-tail jalapeno sashimi, which features a thin chilli ringlet that beautifully offsets the velvet-smooth fish in terms of both taste and texture. The salmon sashimi is another perfect example of Nobu’s mastery when it comes to raw fish. The black cod yuzu is yet another highlight.
Dhs320 (soft drinks); Dhs490 (bubbly and house beverages). Noon-3.30pm. Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
The Observatory: With 52nd storey views over everything from golf courses to marinas, The Observatory is definitely worth a visit. The panoramic vistas are of course the spot’s pièce de résistance, but the food and service are also worth a mention. Service is always impeccably professional and staff make confident suggestions about food, for the most part, stands up to the iconic setting. We love their flavoursome risottos and lovely steaks (particularly the steak madras which tastes like chicken katsu curry – yum), and the cheesy pancetta and potato starter is a guilty pleasure. The one thing we’d like to change is the decor, which feels like a dusty James Bond set; but not to worry, for now we’ll just look out the window.
Dhs350 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina. www.dubaimarriottharbourhotel.com (04 319 4000).
Palm Garden: A sizeable buffet serving international fare. There’s one table for hot food, one for salad and another for dessert. There’s also a live cooking station serving pasta. This venue boasts multitudinous buffet stations serving international fare.
Dhs325 (with unlimited house beverages); Dhs375 (with unlimited bubbly); Dhs425 (with bubbly and access to the beach). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers, Dubai Marina (04 399 5533).
Saffron: The breadth of live cooking stations is huge and anyone who is head over heels for buffets will think they are in paradise. There is a station for sushi, curry, Thai salads, carved meat, Mongolian barbecue, pasta, puddings, and just about any other culinary category you could think of. The dining area is minimalist, spacious and tasteful, and guests have the option of taking a seat indoors or out on the terrace. A live band plays throughout the brunch.
Dhs395 (with unlimited house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah
(04 426 2626).
Spectrum on One: A mammoth brunch featuring Japanese, Asian, European, seafood and an enormous pudding section, plus a port and cheese room. When it’s busy, it’s really busy, when it’s half-empty, it’s much better. More refined than the mega brunches of Al Qasr or Saffron, it works better for smaller groups or couples rather than rowdy birthdays. Glasses topped up continually, plates cleared and chairs pulled out every time you make a dash for just one more bit of cheesecake. Choose from delicacies from all the Fairmont's restaurants (most notably the Exchange Grill).
Dhs295 (food only); Dhs395 (unlimited selected drinks); Dhs550 (unlimited bubbly). Noon-3pm. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
Splendido: This stylish international brunch at the Ritz-Carlton’s Italian restaurant is as sophisticated as you’d expect. Thankfully, though, it lacks pretension, offering instead a warm environment and quiet terrace for you and that special someone to enjoy some delightful dishes. Unlike many Italian restaurants, the chefs at Splendido produce fare you are unlikely recreate at home, thanks to fresh ingredients, delicate flavours and select combinations.
Dhs250 (food only); Dhs375 (unlimited drinks); Dhs125 (children under 12). 12.30pm-4pm. Ritz-Carlton, Dubai Marina (04 399 4000).
Terra Firma: The new Roast & Grapes brunch includes an all-you-can-eat carving station featuring excellent meats. That follows a string of tasty and well-crafted à la carte dishes brought to your table. A bar featuring a weekly changing collection of grapes selected by award-winning sommeliers. And if you get bored, cast your eyes over the wonderful views of Al Badia Golf Club and watch hapless golfers trying to fish their golf balls out of the water.
Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs330 (selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Al Badia Golf Club, Festival City (04 701 1128).
Traiteur: The best brunch in Dubai? Regulars certainly think so. A jazz-themed brunch serving French food. In a city that has too long been reputed for excess, decadence and style over substance, it’s refreshing and reassuring to eat at a restaurant that defies such stereotypes with quality at every turn. The venue, for one, is stylish and spacious and boasts a wonderful alfresco terrace, which affords views of the yachts docked in the marina and the silhouette of the faraway Khalifa. The menu, meanwhile, features simple, yet sublime French fare. Clichéd as it may sound, but the snail starter is rich, garlicky and will have you fantasising about it for weeks to come. Likewise, the duck is the freshest, juiciest specimen of a bird that you’re ever likely to sample in Dubai. Our only quibble might be the service, which is a little over-attentive at times, but this is just us looking for a minor flaw to prove that Traiteur isn’t just a figment of our lunchtime dreams.
Dhs375 (soft drinks); Dhs450 (selected house beverages); Dhs595 (bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222). Friday Brunch
Vu’s: Impressed? You will be. Vu’s restaurant certainly has a wow factor attached to it and that’s before you have tasted the food. After walking into the lobby of the impressive Emirates Towers hotel, take two lifts up to the 50th floor. The clue is in the name and the view is amazing, looking out over Sheikh Zayed Road and beyond that, Jumeirah – and on a clear night you can see the sea. The restaurant is slick and smart and the dress code follows this (proper shoes for gents). It’s the new kid on the brunch block, serving high-end cuisine from an à la carte menu.
Dhs360 (soft drinks only); Dhs420 (selected house beverages); Dhs520 (with house beverages and bubbly). Noon-4pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8088).
Yalumba: It’s boisterous Friday brunch, close proximity to the equally raucous Warehouse brunch and evening entertainment (last time we visited there was an impromptu limbo face-off) have secured it’s status in Dubai folklore, yet the dining experience is a world removed from such shenanigans. The décor – understated dark chairs and crisp white tablecloths give an almost Oriental theme, although the menu is bona fide ‘Occa’; pork belly and lamb shanks, alongside steaks and prawns so juicy they make your fist wet. It's the starters that are the real surprise however here, with fresh sushi and sashimi that, are enough to fill you up if you're not careful.
Dhs479 (bubbly). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 217 0000).
Zuma: The epitome of a high-end contemporary Japanese buffet. An array of starters are brought to your table as well as lining a buffet and then you select your main from the a la carte (hint: go for the black miso cod). The brunch is held in the light-filled main restaurant downstairs – the decor is classy and chic. The resident DJ provides the brunch’s soundtrack, and there’s a fantastic kids’ play room where little ’uns can hide out.
Dhs315 (soft drinks); Dhs425 (selected house beverages); Dhs550 (pink bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm. Sheikh Zayed Road (04 425 5660).
The Westin Bubbalicious Brunch: Wow. That’s all. At the Bubbalicious Brunch, help yourself to meat dishes at Hunters Room & Grill steakhouse, anything and everything at the Blue Orange, and South-East Asian delights at The Spice Emporium. With so much choice, the only problem is deciding what to slap onto your plate next. And leaving your seat is a task unto itself with friendly bottle-carrying waiters seemingly desperate to fill your glass the moment it gets below half-full (or half-empty, depending on how positive you are feeling).
Dhs350 (soft drinks), Dhs490 (premium beverages and bubbly), Dhs190 (kids aged between six and 12). 1pm-4pm. Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. Jumeirah (04 511 7136).