Where to find top afternoon dining experiences on the weekend
Time Out Dubai staff
Al Qasr For this opulent brunch the hotel’s three restaurants ¬– AlHambra, Arboretum, MJ's Steakhouse – come together to put on an extravagant Friday lunchtime affair. With live cooking stations aplenty and numerous beverage stations lining the walk ways between venues, this brunch is more a feast for the eyes. Expats come to celebrate an occasion and visitors take in the pure luxury that Dubai, Al Qasar and the Madinat Jumeirah have to offer. MJ’s is a pleasant venue to experience the afternoon from if you’re in a small group, while the main dining area on the ground floor is perfect for large, celebrating groups. Dhs475 per person (with soft drinks), Dhs575 (with bubbly), Dhs795 (with premium bubbly), Dhs250 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Fri 12.30-4pm.Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).
Bubbalicious Whatever food you’re looking for, you can find it at Bubbalicious, the Westin’s expansive brunch offering. There are over ten live cooking stations to peruse, serving up everything from traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings to Arabic mezze. With the brunch taking place in Blue Orange, Hunters Room and Spice Emporium, diners are free to move around as they wish, with seating also available on the outdoor terrace. The atmosphere is lively and buzzing thanks to the band, while kids are kept entertained with a trampoline. Dhs450 (with soft drinks), Dhs550 (with sparkling grape), Dhs680 (with bubbly). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, www.westinminaseyahi.com (04 511 7136).
Crescendo This spacious, open-plan restaurant is bright and airy and opens up onto a terrace with views of the pool and beach. Expect a relaxed yet lively atmosphere, suitable for families, friends and couples. The ‘fork and cork’ Friday brunch is deﬁnitely one for foodies, with everything from a mouth-watering selection of fresh breads and an impressive range of exotic cheeses to salad stations, cold mezze and platters including fresh ﬁsh, smoked salmon and oysters. Desserts are just as impressive, from chocolate fountains to fresh fruits and crème brûlée. Kids will love the sweet cart that rolls around, piled with gummy bears and ﬁzzy creations. You’ll also ﬁnd a drinks counter with all sorts of mixed beverages on offer, and there’s even a tea specialist on hand to recommend a brew best suited to your taste. Dhs300 (soft drinks). Dhs420 (house beverages). Dhs530 (bubbly). Fri 1pm4pm. Crescendo, Anantara The Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeirah (04 567 8304).
Gaucho A swish restaurant, decked out in cowhide and black and white leather, Gaucho certainly looks the business. It specialises in South American food – think empanadas, ceviche, and chimichurri – but the Argentinian steaks are what draw in the customers. You can sit at your own table and can order as many starters as you like, followed by a choice of main courses, then unlimited desserts. The meat and fish is all wonderful, but the sauces and accompaniments lift them to another level – you’ll be sure to manage more than one plate of these. A relaxed, romantic brunch, one for the foodies and meat lovers. Dhs320 (with unlimited soft drinks), Dhs395 (with house beverages), Dhs495 (with sparking grape). Fri noon-4pm. Gate Village 05, DIFC (04 422 7898).
Mina A’Salaam This varied brunch serves food from three restaurants at MadinatJumeirah – Al Muna, Tortuga and Zheng He’s. In addition, you’ll find plenty of food and drink stations dotted along the canal. Of these, the stands serving dim sum, duck pancake and spicy pulled beef sliders really stand out. One of the highlights of this brunch is the cheese room in Tortuga, while there seafood selection of fresh lobster and prawns in Al Muna is also worth checking out. Dhs425 (with soft drinks), Dhs525 (with house beverages), Dhs250 (children aged four-12), free (children under four). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6730).
Nobu Nobu is cool, calm and tasteful. Its High Brunch is similarly delightful: elegant and understated with stellar food and an intimate atmosphere. The outdoor seating feels more informal where pale stone, fountains and lush greenery make for quiet and pleasant surroundings. As expected, the standout dish is the black cod yuzu miso;sweet, sticky and melt-in-the-mouth, it’s worth visiting for this alone. Dessert is a refreshing selection of cheesecake, yuzu sorbet and mochi in classic ice-cream flavours including strawberry, vanilla and mint chocolate chip: simple but exceptional and wickedly moreish. Dhs395 (with soft drinks), Dhs595 (with selected beverages). Fri noon-4pm.Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Saffron With only one package on offer, inclusive of all drinks, the focus here is ﬁrmly on fun. Expect queues to get in before the doors open at noon where you’ll be presented with a glass of sparkling before being led into the sprawling venue where the DJ will already be pumping out the tunes. There’s a huge variety of food on offer, with mini burgers, ﬁsh and chips, paella, roasted meats, sushi and seafood some of the more memorable options. Deﬁnitely the place to book if you want a big old knees up. Dhs495 (selected house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Toro Toro Toro Toro is a masculine-looking restaurant with deep browns and oranges in the colour scheme, complemented by cowhide and horns on the wall. The Friday ‘HolaHola’ brunch is a refined à la carte experience that’s all about the quality of the flavoursome Latin American food coming from the kitchen of Mexican celebrity chef Richard Sandoval. There’s no wandering around buffet stations at this brunch: starters and mains are brought to the table, including tortilla chips and a deliciously fresh guacamole and skewers of juicy, tender beef. Guests can order as much of these as they desire, until the main churrasco course is served, traffic light-style. Diners have a card – red on one side and green on the other – to let the waiters know when they want meat carved onto their plates. This is a great one to show off to visitors. Dhs350 (with soft drinks), Dhs500 (with selected beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm.Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 317 6000).
Traiteur You can wonder about amid the live cooking stations and in among the chefs as you pick up plates of succulent grilled lobster, foiegras crème brûlée and a mind-blowing cold cauliflower and black truffle soup. Seafood lovers can knock themselves out on oysters and more from the raw bar at The Terrace next door, or queue up at the gourmet carvery found outside. Finally, if you’ve got the room, you’ll find Traiteur’s private dining room re-invented as a dessert room. But first, get to grips with the dedicated French cheese display, where you’ll find some really knock out examples to try. Dhs465 (with soft drinks), Dhs570 (with sparkling grape), Dhs690 (with bubbly), Dhs235 (for children aged six-12). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 317 2222).
The Ivy There are two dining options depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Put your faith in The Ivy’s team of chefs and opt for the eight-course degustation menu featuring British classics and optional grape pairing. Or there’s the d’hote table menu, which features three courses and classics such as duck hash and egg and shepherd’s pie. Both end with a well-stocked cheeseboard. Drinks of every kind are available throughout, and there’s a refreshing range of mocktails to enjoy. The live entertainment and atmosphere make this brunch stand out from the crowd, while the service is very inviting as well. Dhs299 (soft drinks). Dhs399 (house beverages). Dhs499 (premium grape). Dhs599 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8767).