Have one last Friday of fun with our top feasts before August
People of Dubai, stop what you’re doing and pay close attention: there are only three weekends to get your brunch fix before they close for Ramadan on July 29. But before you rush out of the door in panic, take a minute to consult Time Out’s last-chance brunch guide, which features 25 of the top places to indulge. Our list is organised by price and features useful tips such as what to eat, when to go and what to wear. Many of these brunches have been revamped for July, and many more will take on a new look come September. But why wait that long? Book now for one last Friday fix. All venues had tables available at time of going to press
Budget brunching Under Dhs100 Rock Bottom Café If you’re able to steel your nerves and enter Rock Bottom during daylight hours, you can tuck into a most affordable buffet of classic brunch grub (think standard international fare), washed down with two house beverages. You may even be tempted to stay on for the karaoke that kicks off later in the evening. Maybe.
Insider tip: Don’t go unless you’re a fan of dingy dive bars, pub grub and playing pool. Dhs79 (with two beverages). Noon-4pm. Regent Palace Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 396 3888).
Budget brunching Under Dhs100 Fibber Magee’s Frequented by those in pursuit of a more casual Friday brunch, the Fibber’s options of either an authentic full Irish breakfast or roast beef lunch are often praised by European expats as shining examples of the two comfort food favourites. Most punters stop in for a pre-brunch brunch before heading off to a less foodie, more drinks-oriented affair.
Insider tip: The offer only includes one pint, so choose wisely. Dhs45 (with one beverage). Noon-4pm. Behind Crowne Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 2400).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Double Decker A popular haunt for those with a penchant for fancy dress, as well as other lively revellers who aren’t in it for the food, Double Decker serves a basic buffet – largely made up of the components of a full English breakfast and roast dinner – and a reasonable range of drinks. Bring your dancing shoes.
Insider tip: Avoid the rotund Brits dressed as giant babies (and the scrambled eggs). Dhs159 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Al Murooj Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 321 1111).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Chi’Zen Until July 29, Cantonese eatery Chi’Zen will serve a brunch featuring a huge range of steamed dim sum. One of Dubai’s classiest Chinese restaurants, the decor is sleek and ingredients are top quality, which always keeps guests coming back for more. As a bonus, you can mooch around Festival City’s stores before or afterwards.
Insider tip: The venue can be tricky to find – it’s hidden amid the depths of Festival City. Look for the Chi’Zen’s sign from the promenade outside, then go into the mall and head towards it. We find asking someone for directions usually helps (forget that male pride). Dhs188 (soft drinks). Noon-4pm. Chi’Zen, Marina Promenade, Dubai Festival City (04 232 9077).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Focaccia Well worth the trip to ye olde district of Deira, the Focaccia Friday brunch at the Hyatt Regency gives guests the chance to tuck into the flavours of the world, with stations dedicated to Japanese, Arabic, Indian and Italian cuisine, plus a carving station and all-important desserts. Kids under 12 eat for free and, to keep the vibe upbeat, there’s even a kiddie entertainment area and a resident band.
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Radisson Blu Deira Try this gourmet festival featuring food from the hotel’s top restaurants, including La Moda (Italian), Shabestan (Persian), Fish Market (seafood), Minato (Japanese), and, erm, The Pub (classic English). With more than 200 dishes to choose from, spanning several different cuisines and continents, the Radisson literally has the world on a plate.
Insider tip: Bring your kids to this family-friendly feast – there are video games, a magician, a mini soccer table and a child-sized buffet to keep them entertained. Dhs125 (soft drinks) 12.30pm-4pm. Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek (04 222 7171).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Choices International restaurant Choices spills out into the lobby of the Al Bustan Rotana every Friday lunchtime, picking up a few Thai dishes from Blue Elephant and plenty of Japanese favourites from Benihana in the process. While you feast on the brunch, kids are kept at bay with face painting, video games, clowns (shudder) and a special children’s buffet.
Insider tip: Try the tempura at the Benihana stand, or the green chicken curry at the Blue Elephant counter. Dhs185 (soft drinks), Dhs210 (selected house beverages) 12.30pm-4pm. Al Bustan Rotana, Garhoud (04 705 4818).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 Terra Firma - Editor’s Pick Lovers of golf and meat unite! Head to Terra Firma for an excellent traditional roast dinner, served alongside magnificent views of Al Badia Golf Course. Arrive to excited greetings from friendly staff and ask for a window seat overlooking the lush rolling greens and water hazards.
Insider tip: Don’t fill up on hit-and-miss à la carte starters; instead be patient and load your plate with piles of wonderful roast beef and lamb. Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs330 (selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City (04 701 1128).
Cheap and cheerful Dhs100-199 The Market Café The Grand Hyatt is, in our opinion, one of the best hotels in Dubai for food, and the family-friendly, alcohol-free brunch at The Market Café brings the food from five kitchens into one restaurant. Yes, it will be stacked with kids on a Friday afternoon, but they’re kept entertained in a separate area, and the surreal, indoor jungle setting is peacefully green and calming.
Insider tip: We’re particularly fond of the South East Asian fare on offer – fill your plate early to make the most of the freshly cooked food. Dhs190 (soft drinks), Dhs95 (kids aged six to 12). 12.30pm-4pm. The Market Café, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2222).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Anise Just off the InterContinental hotel lobby, this is a curious location for brunch, but you’ll find an impressive spread of cuisines across numerous live cooking stations. If you revisit the venue come winter, we recommend booking a table outdoors overlooking the creek.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the cheese room. Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (selected house beverages), half price for kids aged six to 12, free for under sixes. 12.30pm-4pm. InterContinental Dubai, Festival City (04 701 1128). Buy next week’s mag for 2-for-1 vouchers for the Anise and Roast & Grapes brunches at the InterContinental.
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Armani/Hashi The Japanese restaurant located in the world’s tallest building serves some of the finest fish we’ve ever tasted. It also offers fantastic service, stylish decor (we’d expect no less from Mr Armani), and an upmarket crowd.
Insider tip: The Dhs380 charge includes only half a bottle of Italian bubbly – so don’t feel that you’re being singled out and short-changed. Dhs290 (soft drinks), Dhs380 (half a bottle of Italian bubbly and house beverages), Dhs585 (half a bottle of premium bubbly and house beverages), Dhs145 (kids under 12). Noon-3pm. Armani Hotel Dubai, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 888 3444).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Spectrum on One - Editor’s Pick The Fairmont brunch is a sophisticated affair: the restaurant is split between different cuisines from Europe, Asia, India, Japan, plus seafood, a cheese and distilled grape room and an enormous array of desserts that look like they belong in a fairy tale. A better choice for small groups rather than rowdy party brunchers, Spectrum never fails to wow.
Insider tip: The Yorkshire pudding should take pride of place on your plate. Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (selected house beverages), Dhs550 (bubbly) Noon-3pm. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 311 8316).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Aquara The modern, floor-to-ceiling-windows, sleek decor and views of the Marina mean this brunch feels as close to al-fresco as you can get when dining inside. And the food? This is one for seafood lovers.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the separate dessert room, which is a small wonderland for those with a sweet tooth. Dhs220 (soft drinks), Dhs290 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dubai Marina Yacht Club (04 362 7900).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 The MED This Media One venue’s brunch has long been the frugal partygoers’ event of choice thanks to a combination of tasty, accessible Mediterranean fare and a generous drinks selection. It differs from other similarly priced options in that it caters for both casual brunchers and those who like to dress up a little for their Friday fun.
Insider tip: Have brunch as part of the ‘Crank’ package, which includes drinks the night before and a Thursday night stay (Dhs969 per couple). Dhs288 (selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Dunes Café This Shangri-La venue has recently launched its new ‘Martini Market Brunch’, which features more than 30 specially created mixed drinks, as well as a generous selection of house beverages. Oh, and there’s the food – everything from roast meat to Chinese and South-East Asian classics.
Insider tip: Visit now for a special price of Dhs285 – after Ramadan it’ll cost Dhs330. Dhs285 (cocktails and selected house beverages). 11.30am-4pm. Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 405 2703).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Left Bank, Souk Al Bahar This new brunch boasts a fun mix-and-match à la carte menu littered with dishes such as fish and chips, mini burgers and sticky toffee pudding. There are plenty of colourful cocktails to boot.
Insider tip: Stick around – the party really gets going at 4pm when happy hour kicks in. Dhs275 (cocktails and selected house beverages). Noon-4pm. Left Bank Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 368 4501).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Sloane’s Throughout July, this Grosvenor House venue is serving favourites from the coastal regions of France and Spain – from land and sea. Expect ratatouille, paella, and fish bouillabaisse.
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Splendido This intimate Italian restaurant has a classy, contemporary and refreshingly muted feel, plus a gorgeous leafy patio. The food is served both à la carte and in buffet form – from starters to a decidedly un-European sushi station.
Insider tip: Start with oysters and make sure to order the à la carte risotto – a creamy, dreamy dish with bold flavours. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs375 (Italian bubbly and selected house beverages), Dhs125 (kids under 12). 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Ritz Carlton Dubai, JBR (04 399 4000).
Payday treat Dhs200-299 Nineteen Fed up with rowdy queues and wandering around, plate in hand? Head to Nineteen’s à la carte brunch, which includes four courses of mouthwatering modern European food. Definitely ones for more reserved groups of friends, there’s no kids’ menu, magicians, play zones or ‘entertainment’, which will be a welcome relief for some.
Insider tip: In no a hurry to leave? Retire to Monty Cristo’s bar for a post-brunch cigar and mixed drink. Dhs235 (soft drinks), Dhs325 (selected beverages). Noon-3.30pm. The Address Montgomerie Dubai, Emirates Hills (04 390 5600).
Blow-out brunch Dhs300+ Al Qasr Expect an astonishingly vast array of dining options, from fresh barbecued seafood to curry and a carvery – there’s even an entire room dedicated to chocolate, and that’s nowhere near the sum of your dessert options. Make the most of this brunch by starving yourself for three days before visiting (we jest).
Insider tip: Check out the novel cigar-rolling station. Dhs395 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (selected house beverages), Dhs220 (kids aged four to 12), free for under fours. 12.30pm-3.30pm. Al Qasr Hotel, Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
Blow-out brunch Dhs300+ Mistral Ibn Battuta isn’t the first place you’d think of heading for brunch, but its surreal setting and laid-back vibe is great for families and casual brunchers. Mistral, the hotel’s all-day- dining venue, serves a spread from four restaurants, including Chinese dishes from Shanghai Chic and Indian delicacies from Chor Bazaar.
Insider tip: The offerings from the tandoori ovens are rather good. Dhs395 (bubbly), Dhs105 (kids aged 13 to 16), Dhs65 (kids aged six to 12), free for under sixes. 12.30pm-3pm. Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel (04 444 0000).
Blow-out brunch Dhs300+ Saffron What has become one of the most raucous brunches in town (probably because of the countless varieties of drinks on offer) also boasts an extensive selection of cuisines from across the globe. There’s also a painting station for creative youngsters (and tanked-up adults).
Insider tip: While the carvery can sometimes be hit and miss, the Chinese and Indian buffets are good options. Dhs395 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Blow-out brunch Dhs300+ Traiteur - Editor’s Pick Having been named Best Brunch at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards two years in a row, Traiteur makes the perfect pre-Ramadan treat. Peruse the open kitchen (which doubles as a buffet station), picking up some fine French food as you go. Those undone by choice anxiety need only ask the friendly chefs for advice.
Insider tip: You must, without exception, sample the traditional spit roast – some of the finest meat we’ve ever tasted. Dhs375 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (selected house beverages), Dhs595 (bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
Blow-out brunch Dhs300+ Vu’s Somewhat expectedly for this 51st-floor restaurant at Emirates Towers, brunch is all about the view, which stretches right out to the sea. Typical to its more sophisticated location, the brunch is à la carte, offering several courses from the set menu. But don’t be put off – there are plenty of fabulous drinks to choose from.
Insider tip: Dress smart – you don’t want to be turned away at the door. Dhs360 (soft drinks), Dhs420 (selected house beverages), Dhs520 (bubbly). Noon-4pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers (04 319 8088).