Indulge this weekend at one the emirate's best blow out meals
Time Out Dubai staff
Highly Commended – Best Brunch Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
Bubbalicious This huge brunch, covering multiple venues, allows you to take your pick from bright and airy, intimate and less ostentatious or even al fresco – whatever takes your fancy. Three restaurants join forces to dish up almost every food imaginable. Among others, there's a sizeable sushi station, a cheese section, oyster bar, live Asian cooking stations, seafood galore, plenty of steaks and Brit grub, plus a huge dessert section with a dedicated chocolate table. In addition to the expected house beverages, there are various mixed drinks stations dotted around the venue, and the lemon fountain is truly a sight to behold. You also won’t be short on entertainment, because there’s a three-piece band belting out popular hits, an outdoor petting zoo for the kids (during the cooler months), a magician and even a group of gawp-inducing acrobats. Altogether, Bubbalicious is a good choice for families and doesn’t get as rowdy as some rival brunches. Dhs390 (with soft drinks), Dhs490 (with sparkling grape), Dhs680 (with bubbly), Dhs190 (children aged six-12 years), free (children under six). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road (04 399 4141).
Highly Commended – Best Brunch Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2014
Zuma Sophisticated, distinctly Japanese and oozing style, the venue is in keeping with DIFC’s business-like demeanour. It’s therefore not the place to come for a raucous party, but is perfect for classier affairs. Brunch at Zuma is also a great chance to enjoy some of the finest sushi and sashimi in all the land, or at least in all of Dubai. Diners order their mains à la carte and help themselves from two buffet stations. Food isn’t piled up in the familiar eyes-bigger-than your-stomach manner but instead presented in small, appetising batches that are restocked as required. Drinks include delicious ‘cleansers’ (chilled tea, juice and fruit combinations), premium drinks and a range of Japanese rice-based beverages. With a rather strict elegant dress code, this is less of a party and more a fine-dining brunch, resulting in a slightly more mature crowd. But kids are welcome and have their own play area. Dhs345 (with soft drinks), Dhs495 (with selected house beverages), Dhs600 (with bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Gate Village, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Al Qasr One of Dubai’s largest brunches, the terrace overlooking Madinat Jumeirah’s waterways is a great choice in the cooler months. That said, indoors is also pleasant and suitably luxurious. Food stations are positioned at every turn, with Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, Indian, Spanish, German and British dishes all available, along with barbecued meats, cold and hot seafood, cheeses and a whole array of desserts, sweets and fruit. Soft drinks and sparkling grape are topped up by an army of staff, in addition to a variety of drinks stations conveniently positioned throughout the sprawling venue. There’s a live band, but the space is so large most diners won’t hear them, and instead enjoy music that’s played through speakers. This is quite a dressy affair with an infectious buzz and definite sense of excitement in the air. Expect everyone from families with toddlers to tourists in search of a quintessential Dubai experience and larger groups celebrating special occasions. Dhs475 (with soft drinks), Dhs575 (with bubbly, mixed beverages, grape and soft drinks), Dhs795 (with premium bubbly), Dhs250 (children aged four-12 years). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 8888).
Gaucho Boasting cool cow print decor, combined with cream leather furniture, black marble tables and eye-catching lighting, it’s easy to see why Gaucho is a popular haunt among city slickers. Relatively new to the Friday brunch scene, it’s quite a relaxed scene, with a DJ playing a mix of soothing beats. Brunch is served à la carte; hot and cold starter options, along with dessert, can be reordered as many times as you like, however only one main meal can be ordered. We love the variety of starters including doughy and crispy bread, served with creamy guacamole, and ceviche spoons of tuna, sea bass and prawns. For mains, we recommend the trio medallion of beef, which is juicy and huge in size. Try to keep room for dessert, too; the chocolate cake is a bit too rich, but the cheesecake is absolutely divine – so tasty that we reordered it twice. Dhs350 (with soft drinks), Dhs450 (with house beverages), Dhs575 (with bubbly). Fri noon-5pm. Gate Village 5 DIFC, www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk (04 422 7898).
Mina A’Salam Three of the hotel’s restaurants, connected via walkways over the Madinat Jumeirah waterways, come together to form this opulent yet not over the top Friday brunch extravaganza. You can expect everything from seafood and sushi to Arabic salads, mezze, Chinese fare, a carvery and full English breakfasts. Food stations also line the walkways between restaurants and the outdoor terrace hosts a barbecue, shawarma station and fish and chip counters. Mixed drinks, grape and bubbly are served at your table and you can pick up a colourful slushy mixed beverage from any of the drinks stations on the walkways. The sounds of a live singer, played on speakers throughout each venue, keeps crowds entertained without being intrusive or overbearing. Despite its size, the brunch is surprisingly relaxed, and the setting gives it a holiday vibe that’s also popular with families. Dhs450 (with soft drinks), Dhs525 (with house beverages), Dhs250 (children aged four-12 years). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 8888).
Nobu Nobu oozes class and romance, the dark ambiance, slate signage and the interior’s artistically twisted rope ‘baskets’ adding to the luxurious feel, while the overall colour scheme and carefully considered lighting transports you east for a sophisticated and delicious taste of the Orient. Sushi, sashimi, strips of expertly prepared beef and tomato miso soup follow edamame, tacos with spicy tuna miso and a variety of salads. The sushi lacks the wow-factor you might expect given Nobu’s worldwide reputation, but other options more than make up for it. Drinks include classic combinations with a Japanese twist and free-flowing premium bubbly. Nobu’s brunch is a take on the classic ‘high tea’ and is overall a very highbrow affair. People head here to celebrate special occasions or to enjoy a quieter, more refined brunch experience. Dhs395 (with soft drinks), Dhs545 (with house beverages). Fri noon-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Saffron Located in Atlantis, this brunch is like going to a packed club in the middle of the day. The venue’s sheer size and high ceilings, as well as the DJ pumping commercial classics, all heighten this ambiance, and although it’s not particularly classy, it’s undoubtedly somewhere to go to let your hair down and just celebrate. There’s a huge variety of food, with everything from South East Asian noodles and South Asian curries, to Chinese dumplings and massive roast dinners, while fresh seafood is the restaurant’s specialty. The drinks selection is just as varied, with numerous counters dotted around the venue serving everything from cans of hops and mini bottles of bubbly to mixed beverages and slices of pineapple stabbed with liquid-filled eye-droppers. You’re unlikely to find many better venues if you’re after somewhere to go in a large group to party. The downside is that some of the food isn’t quite as high quality as other brunches in a similar price bracket. Dhs485 (with soft drinks and house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Spectrum on One There’s a welcome, lively atmosphere at this popular brunch, although it can get a little cramped in the small dining area. The South East Asian, Indian and Japanese food options are fantastic, while the Arabic and seafood spreads are a little lacklustre. Make sure you don’t miss the cheese room or the cold cuts station, which both have an impressive selection. Another must-try is the crepe station; it’s definitely worth enduring the long queues for these fantastic desserts. Unfortunately, it’s not just the crêpe station that suffers from delays, with service quite slow across the board. Drinks are available in several different packages and the midrange one will get you everything except bubbly. It’s a brunch that tends to attract a slightly more mature crowd, if you don’t count all the toddlers there with families. Dhs345 (with soft drinks), Dhs455 (with selected beverages), Dhs575 (with bubbly). Fri noon-3.30pm. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 332 5555).
Toro Toro A sleek, slender and dimly lit venue in the second tower of Grosvenor House, this Latin American restaurant occupies the lower floor of the two-tier Toro Toro and is a hotspot for small plate delights. Tapas servings are sizeable in comparison to other venues in the city and four or five dishes should be more than enough to fill a hungry belly. Tapas options come in the form of cold and hot dishes, and the zesty ceviche huachinango – a chunky medley of raw pink snapper, leche de tigre sauce, avocado, onion and coriander – is an ample way to kick-start the meal. Follow that with a fresh heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, which exceeds expectations. Next move onto hot dishes, such as the deep-fried salt cod croquettes, with a gooey centre, the zucchini-filled empana pastry, or rich and saucy beef short ribs. Round things off with the Toro Toro tres leches featuring genoise cake, dulche de leche and coconut sorbet. Open Sat-Wed 8pm-2am; Thu 8pm-3am; Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 8pm-3am. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina, www.torotoro-dubai.com (04 399 8888).