We visit the best places in town for babies who brunch
They provide us with the perfect opportunity to munch on top nosh cooked by someone else, there’s no washing up and there’s plenty of entertainment on offer for the little monsters, too. Time Out Kids enlisted a crack team of mums, dads and little gastronomes to gorge their way through a vast number of brunches and buffets, so you can pick the perfect family-friendly venue for your weekend feasting, safe in the knowledge that your kids will be having just as much fun as you are! Warning, this might make you hungry...
Under Dhs100 Le Petit Pascal brunch, Pascal Tepper, Dubai Media City As you would expect from this French bakery, the nosh is hot, fresh and there’s more than a smattering of just-out-of-the-oven goodies to indulge in. The focal point of the room is the enormous table filled with juices, fruits, salads, cheeses, sandwiches, muesli, soups, crepes and breads. Activities on offer for little diners are a face painter, a clown making balloon swords, flowers and animals, and a chef baking pastries. Children can also don a hat and apron and get to work designing their own tasty pastries. (TM) When: Fridays 10am-3pm How much: Dhs79-99 (adults), Dhs49 (kids aged five to 12), under fives go free Reservations: 04 454 2408
Under Dhs100 Organic Foods and Cafe, Dubai Mall Served at both The Greens and Dubai Mall branches, the weekend brunch buffet at Organic Foods and Café is a cheap, cheerful and healthy option for hungry families. A good place to start is the fresh juices, fruit salad and organic yoghurts, before moving on to the variety of salads (all ingredients from the organic supermarket), cheeses, cold cuts and hot dishes. There are tasty desserts and cupcakes too. The Dubai Mall outlet also has two special kids’ areas to keep the nippers amused, with plenty of toys and games to play with. (CG) When: Fridays and Saturdays 11am-3pm How much: Dhs95 (for adults). Dhs65 (kids aged five to 12), under fives go free Reservations: 04 434 0577
Under Dhs100 More Café, Dubai Festival City Serving up the very best eggs benedict in town along with a fantastic selection of freshly baked breads, croissants and cakes, fresh fruit, juice, tea and coffee on tap – and then you move on to the rest of the brunch. This consists of seriously succulant pot roast, loads of veggies and salads, and a selection of puddings (if you can manage it). There isn’t entertainment for the kids as such – just some crayons and colouring sheets. But the venue, which is airy and light, offers superb views of the marina, and the staff don’t mind if little bottoms don’t stay on their seats. (JE) When: Fridays 12.30pm-4pm How much: Dhs95 (adults), Dhs45 (kids aged two-12), under twos go free Reservations: 04 233 6299
Dhs100 and over Chef’s House Fun Brunch, Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City Unpretentious and relaxed, the adults’ buffet is smaller than some brunches in the city, but there’s still live cooking stations and a lobster section. The children’s area has a medium-sized bouncy castle, plus a ball pool, video screenings, face painting and balloon bending. We were particularly impressed by the entertainment team, who genuinely seemed to enjoy their job and kept the kids happily amused. The kids’ buffet includes a selection of pasta, sandwiches and fries, plus a popcorn machine and candyfloss maker. (WM) When: Saturdays 12.30pm-3.30pm How much: From Dhs135 (adults), Dhs67.50 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 366 9111
Dhs100 and over Cucina at Courtyard by Marriott, The Green Community Cucina has something for everyone: freshly prepared omelettes and other breakfast items, a sushi station, a Mexican station, carvery, a barbecue area, fish, pizza, salads, and of course a dessert station. The kids’ station has your usual, run-of-the-mill burgers and nuggets but it also has an enormous do-it-yourself sundae station, which is a big hit for obvious reasons! The resident clown churns out balloon animals and paints faces while a large screen runs kids’ films. But the best part is that the brunch package includes access to the hotel pool afterwards, so you can literally swim off the excess delicious nosh. (HV) When: Fridays 12noon-4pm How much: From Dhs165 (adults), Dhs65 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 885 2222
Dhs100 and over Grand Hyatt, Oud Metha Brunch at the Grand Hyatt’s Market Café is a relaxed, family friendly affair and the food is generally excellent. The seafood counter is well stocked, the choice of meats available at the carvery proved a definite favourite, and the melt in the mouth beef carved from the rib was absolutely yummy. There are a range of activities for children, including board games and colouring and the supervisor does a roaring trade in balloon animals, too. For the older kids it’s a short walk to the separate Kids Club area where there’s heaps of activities and PlayStations. Excellent! (CK) When: Fridays 12.30pm-4pm How much: From Dhs190 (adults), Dhs95 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 317 1234
Dhs100 and over Spice Island, The Crowne Plaza Deira Still one of the best brunches in town, the vast array of foods on offer is mind-boggling. The children’s area is manned by four members of staff, a magician who juggles, and could probably manufacture the Space Shuttle out of bendy balloons if requested. While mum and dad munch, the little horrors can also decorate their own cakes to take home afterwards, and generally, they have no desire whatsoever to leave their area (with it’s kids’ buffet) because it’s so much fun. We didn’t see our kids for hours! Wahay! (JE) When: Fridays 12.30pm-4pm How much: From Dhs159-Dhs279 (adults), Dhs69 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 262 5555
Dhs100 and over Al Bustan Rotana With a relaxed but informal atmosphere and Blue Elephant, Benihana and Choices thrown into the mix, there’s enough choice to sate any appetite without being overwhelming. There’s an entire room dedicated to kids and the kids’ buffet has options ranging from healthy sandwiches to burgers and fries, plus fresh fruit, juice, popcorn and muffins. The kids’ room also has a closed door, and a number of staff on hand to supervise (including a clown and face painter), plus PlayStations, colouring and fun games. (CG) When: Fridays 12pm-3pm How much: From Dhs199 (adults), Dhs95 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 705 4285
Dhs100 and over The Bonnington, Jumeirah Lake Towers Adults can take their pick from the buffet of starters that includes oysters, prawns, seafood, cold cuts, a variety of quiches, some Middle Eastern choices and a nice selection of breads, before the main event. Don’t forget to save some room for dessert – the gargantuan station has everything from jellybeans, marshmallows and a chocolate fountain, to éclairs, tarts, fruit, M&Ms and gummy bears. And while you’re enjoying time with grown-ups, kids can keep busy in the dedicated soft play area where several babysitters are available, free of charge. (EG) When: Fridays 12.30pm-3pm. How much: From Dhs199 (adults), Dhs149 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 356 0000
Dhs100 and over The Fountain, Movenpick Hotel Bur Dubai With a British ‘full monty’ theme, this brunch is hearty, fun and incredibly popular. Super-friendly staff are on hand to attend to your every whim, and while adults tuck into the ample selection of tasty dishes both from the buffet and served straight from the kitchen, kids can choose from the healthy ‘Power Bites’ menu as they play in the supervised kids’ area. Not that there isn’t plenty in the main brunch for more adventurous kids to try (the fruit skewers dipped in butterscotch, were a particular hit with our mini-diners). (CG) When: 12pm-4pm How much: From Dhs190 (adults), Dhs95 (kids aged seven to 12), under sevens go free Reservations: 04 310 4320
Dhs100 and over Mazina, The Address, Dubai Marina Mazina provides a fabulous array of international dishes, including sushi, traditional roasts, Asian fair and a startling collection of puddings. We especially like the way the staff bring the children’s food (along with small person cutlery and dishes) straight to the table. But the very best thing about the Mazina Brunch is the entertainment laid on. A huge bouncy castle, face painting, a movie, a Wii and organized activities, all presided over by responsible and kindly staff, who ensure parents enjoy a relaxed extended meal. Perfect! (JE) When: Saturdays 12.30-3.30pm How much: From Dhs195 (adults), Dhs100 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 436 7777
Dhs200 and over Raffles Roast, Azur, Raffles Hotel, Oud Metha If you love traditional roasts, this is definitely the place to be on a Friday lunchtime. Serving up spectacularly succulent joints of lamb and beef, salmon en croute and the like, the nosh is hard to beat. Meanwhile, entertainment for the kids is arranged through the Raffles ‘Little Rascals’ club. Nippers have a splendid time decorating cakes and making their own pizzas (all under patient supervision). There is also the chance for them to run off some energy in the botanical gardens, and feed the fish in the mini-lake too. If none of that keeps them happy, there are PlayStations and cushions for them to relax on. (JE) When: Fridays 12.30pm-4pm How much: From Dhs200 (adults), Dhs100 (kids ages six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 324 8888
Dhs200 and over The Marketplace, JW Marriott, Deira For a really fun family brunch where you can relax for the afternoon, you’d be hard-pressed to find more choice than the Marketplace at the JW Marriott. Four Restaurants take part in the feast (the selection is huge, varied and delicious) so turning up hungry is mandatory. The children’s area is massive, with a bouncy castle, colouring corner, giant flat screen TV and Wilma, who lovingly looks after the children, paints faces and dries the occasional tear. There’s also a candy buffet with vampire teeth, gummy worms and marshmallows. Heaven for kids, and mum and dad. (TM) When: Friday 12noon-4pm How much: From Dhs230 (adults), Dhs110 (kids aged six to 12,) under sixes go free Reservations: 04 607 7977
Dhs200 and over Al Badia Picnic Brunch, Intercon Dubai Festival City The perfect Saturday afternoon hangout, choose from a posh picnic rug or a table, while attentive waiters bring you a steady stream of delectable dishes including freshly cooked Asian fare, along with European treats like steamed mussels, gourmet Scotch eggs, bangers and mash and baked brie. There is no entertainment for the nippers, but they are quite happy to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere, with families hooking up for impromptu games of footie, chase or hide and seek. (JE) When: Saturdays 12.30-4pm How much: From Dhs295 (adults), Dhs150 (kids aged seven to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 701 1111
Dhs200 and over Ibn Battuta Gate, Jebel Ali The Gate’s enormous buffet brunch provides tastes for every palate. A parent was clearly involved in the planning of the kids’ area too. In addition to the bouncy castle, child-friendly movies play in one corner, a central table hosts colourful art projects and a petting zoo completes the picture. The dessert room is another reason to check out this brunch. Like Willy Wonka’s inventing room, you just don’t know where to forage first. (LL) When: Fridays 12noon to 4pm How much: From Dhs295 (adults), Dhs95 (kids aged seven to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 444 0000
Dhs200 and over Beachcombers, Jumeirah Beach Hotel Located right on the beach, the cuisine at Beachcombers is a mix of pan-Asian and international, and there’s a buffet of kids specialities for the less adventurous (we were impressed that the chefs cooked up a few off-menu dishes on request for our picky eaters). Grab a coveted table on the terrace so the nippers can play in the sand, overlooked by the Burj Al Arab (lovely!) There’s a bouncy castle plus a dedicated kids area watched over by trained staff, with face painting, kids’ activities, and an impressive magic show with very funny clowns. (JD) When: Fridays and Saturdays 12.30pm to 4pm How much: From Dhs250 (adults), Dhs125 (kids aged five to 12), under fives go free Reservations: 04 106 8999
Dhs200 and over The Ivy, Jumeirah Emirates Towers You’d be forgiven in thinking that The Ivy is not the kind of place to take the kids for a long and lazy Friday brunch. But while the setting is formal, the service is friendly, thus charming the kids from the start – especially when they are plied with enough crayons to keep them occupied until the food arrives (promptly). Unlike other Dubai brunches, the Ivy has a set menu, which begins with fresh breads and jams, and follows with three courses of tried and tested Ivy favourites, such as fish pie, gnocchi, a vast rib roast and comforting apple pie. Kids have their own menu, and it’s a chance for them to try mini portions of what the grown ups are having, as well as tomatoey pasta and the like for fussier palates. When: Fridays 12pm-4pm How much: Dhs275 (adults), kids under 10 go free Reservations: 04 319 8767
Dhs200 and over Can Can Brasserie, Ritz Carlton DIFC Every last detail for families has been considered. There’s a dedicated kids’ area on a sun-free terrace, laid out with miniature tables and chairs spilling over with cookies, cupcakes and copious amounts of jelly beans and sweeties (expect a sugar high). Impressive small touches such as non-spill drinking cups and smash-proof crockery, plus a special kids’ buffet featuring faves such as mini burgers and mashed potatoes with mixed vegetables, make it a winner. There’s a bouncy castle, as well as a selection of chunky toys for children who just want to hang out and play with a train set. With enough to impress both parents, and a just-walking, inquisitive toddler, this ticks all the right boxes. (TM) When: Fridays 12.30pm-4pm How much: From Dhs290 (adults), Dhs145 (kids aged six-12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 372 2323
Dhs200 and over Jazz Friday Brunch, The Talk, The Movenpick JBR The live jazz and enormous selection of food is a big draw for the grown ups, but there’s enough to keep little kids entertained too, thanks to a fenced-off, supervised kids’ section to the side of the room. The small ball pool and swing is not likely to entertain older ones, but there’s a bouncy castle outside in cooler weather, plus face painting, colouring and a small collection of toys to keep them amused. There’s a selection of children’s food with healthy bites plus sandwiches, popcorn and some rather delicious ice cream. However with such a wide variety of food in the ‘adult’ section there is bound to be more than enough quality options for your children to try. (WM) When: Fridays 12.30-4pm How much: From Dhs222 (adults), under 12s go free Reservations: 04 449 8888
Dhs200 and over Bubblicious, The Westin Dubai Taking over three of the Westin’s restaurants (Blue Orange, Hunters and Spice Emporium), this vast brunch is incredibly popular with families. Little diners are very well looked after, with a whole area dedicated to kids: expect a kids’ buffet with faves such as chicken strips and burgers, plus healthier offerings and plenty of fruit and veg; an ice cream van hands out mini cones, as well as candyfloss and popcorn; there’s a bouncy castle for burning off that excess energy; and best of all there’s a mini-petting zoo with all manner of furry and scaly friends to play with. There’s even a Chinese circus act who had our little guests mesmerized as they gracefully performed. (CG) When: Fridays 1pm-4pm How much: From Dhs350 (adults), Dhs190 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free Reservations: 04 399 4141
Dhs200 and over 19 Saturday Roast, The Address Montgomerie One to take granny and granddad when they come to stay, the Montgomerie’s Saturday Roast is a huge draw for families. Sample the hors d’œuvre buffet, then choose from a choice of traditional roasts, cooked to perfection and served with a vast array of accompaniments from roasties and gravy to tasty veg (there’s also a live pasta station for fussier kids). After they’ve eaten their fill, let them loose on the huge desserts buffet, complete with ice cream, sweeties and chocolatey treats galore. While there is no dedicated kids’ zone, if there are enough family bookings the restaurant will set aside a quiet area at the side of the venue with films and games. (CG) When: Saturdays 12pm-3.30pm How much: From Dhs235 (adults), under 12s go free Reservations: 04 390 5600
More fab brunches! Sadly we didn’t get to try all the best brunches in town, but here are some more options we know are winners too!
Mina A’ Salaam, Madinat Juneirah A positive food fest with all the trimmings, plus alfresco or indoor dining options – it’s all we’ve come to expect from Jumeirah, with lots of entertainment on offer for the nippers, too. From Dhs325 (adults) Dhs220 (kids under 12). 12.30-4pm. 04 366 6730.
More fab brunches! Wokalicious, Movenpick, Deira If you’re into Asian food, this reasonably-priced brunch is an excellent choice. The kids will love the activities laid on, and the grub. Dhs175 (adults), Dhs80 (kids aged seven to 14), under sevens go free. 12.30pm-4pm. 04 444 0111.
More fab brunches! Radisson Blu Creekside A firm family favourite, and with good reason. There’s heaps of wonderful food and there’s loads for children to get on with. From Dhs125 (adults), price for kids depends on height: 1.3m+ Dhs70; 1.2m+ Dhs60; 1.1m+ Dhs50; below 1.1m free. 12.30pm-4pm. 04 222 7171.
More fab brunches! Anise, InterContinental Hotel A fairly classy joint, Anise is a great place for a special celebration, and although no specific activities are laid on for the kids, the restaurant is very family-friendly, and there’s a children’s menu too. From Dhs295 (for adults) Dhs150 (kids aged six to 12), under sixes go free. 04 701 1111