Give yourself just one weekend off your saving plan and splash out on a luxury brunch
Al Qasr: While we’re all in favour of the odd bit of understatement, brunch is not a time to hide your light under a bushel. Modesty is all well and good for a refined Thursday night, but come Friday morning we want to revel in excess – and nobody revels quite like Al Qasr, one of the best brunches in the city. The feast spreads across the entire ground floor of the chandelier-happy hotel, thus the AQB (as nobody is calling it) allows you to stumble between flambé stations in MJ ’s,
Arboterum’s patisserie and Al Hambra’s table of tapas. Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888). Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Dhs499.
Four Seasons Golf Club: If you’ve got the money for it, The Four Seasons offers what is easily one of the best brunching experiences in the city. Spread across two sizeable eateries (The Tea Lounge and Blades ), everything from the ’60s-influenced mod architecture to the helpful staff and the carefully spaced food stations, is spot on. We particularly recommend the tender lamb from the carvery, the chicken curry and pretty much all of the Arabic dishes. But whatever you go for, you’re guaranteed quality food. It’s a family place – there’s even a children’s section hidden out of the way, with a face painter and children’s DVDs to watch – so you might want to go light on the sauce. Four Seasons Golf Club
, Dubai Festival City (04 601 0101). Brunch served Fri 12noon-3pm. Dhs365 with house beverages.
Junsui: As the first new restaurant to open at the Burj Al Arab in eight years, much was expected of Junsui, and few were surprised to see them enter the world of brunching, with a buffet restaurant. What was surprising is that they restricted themselves to purely Asian fare, with dishes from South-East Asia being cooked at 12 stations by an army of 40 chefs throughout the eatery. Because many of the dishes are prepared at cooking stations right before your eyes, it avoids the stodgy stagnation that can blight other brunch buffets in our city. Burj Al Arab (04 301 7600). Brunch served Fri 11.30am-4pm. Dhs450 with soft drinks.
Mina A’Salam: Some brunches offer free-flowing house bevvies, while others tend to suit more of a family crowd – it’s rare that a brunch finds that middle ground and is able to offer something for everybody. But despite, or perhaps because of, being based around two restaurants – making use of the waterfront setting that runs between them – Mina A’Salam strives to do just that. The Wharf
restaurant offers a buffet of mixed international fare, while the nearby Al Muna , serves up helpings of Arabian goodness. These venues are complemented by a variety of food stations, with everything from curries to grilled lobster, and those with a sweet tooth can pick up a toffee apple or two. Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888). Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dhs395 with house beverages.
Nineteen: In some realms, the word brunch has become synonymous with dancing on tables and partying like its 1999. That’s even before you hit the artery-clogging grub and free flowing bubbly. But Nineteen – stationed at the Montgomerie Golf Club – is a slightly more sophisticated affair. It’s for those who can differentiate Stinking Bishop from Port Salut (they’re types of cheese, for those who can’t): a place for sniffy relatives to admire Dubai from afar, perhaps. It’s arguably the George Clooney of restaurants, but with a little less stubble. If ever there was a reason to ditch Chesney Hawkes and go easy on the Möet, Nineteen’s brunch is it. Montgomerie Golf Club (04 390 5600). Brunch served Fri and Sat 12noon-3.30pm. Dhs255 with house beverages.
Spectrum On One: This brunch institution comes with a fearsome reputation, and it takes a strong stomach and a long afternoon to get an overview of Spectrum On One’s cornucopia of global delights. The scale of ambition here is literally all-encompassing, with region-specific kitchens purveying specialties from the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, South-East Asia and Japan. Orders at the various cooking stations are coordinated via strap-on headsets that wouldn’t be out of place at a boy band’s stadium gig, so whether your dishes hail from the mountains of India, the shores of southern Thailand or the heart of rural France, the whole affair is carried off with miraculous harmony and dishes arrive within seconds of one another. Fairmont Dubai (04 311 8316). Brunch served Fri 12noon-3pm. Dhs550 with champagne.
Traiteur: When the gold and gaudy chandeliers of Dubai’s finest five stars are about to send your tourist chums running for the boutique hotel hills, it’s time to book brunch at the relatively understated Park Hyatt. Marble floors, enormous white lamp shades and the sort of sweeping staircase that makes you unsteady on your Jimmy Choos just looking at it: it’s a fitting setting for one of the finest Friday food-fests in Dubai. With free-flowing champagne and delicious but unbidden cocktails arriving at your table at what will appear to be 30-second intervals, it’s tempting to remain at your table for the duration. However, you’d be well advised to head to the impressive cheese and dessert room before you even break your freshly-baked bread roll. Just the sight of it will lead to waistband-widening, but at least you’ll know how much room to leave for the waffles, crepes and more mini cakes than a teddy bear’s picnic. Park Hyatt (04 602 1234). Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Dhs550 with champagne.
Yalumba: Yalumba’s eclectic brunch covers a spread of continents while maintaining a laid-back Aussie ethos. The food is good – the combination of buffet and a la carte means the main courses don’t get cold or congeal – and the setting, is warm and sophisticated. Vegans should be warned that there’s little for them to tuck into (the emphasis is on seafood and roasts) but desserts are a treat. The modern decor is the perfect setting for a leisurely – if sometimes boisterous, thanks to the free-flowing Bollinger – Friday afternoon with friends, and they get the price-versus-quality balance exactly right.
Le Meridien Dubai (04 282 4040). Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dhs429 per person with champagne.
Ewaan: Ewaan at The Palace in Downtown Burj Dubai has a buffet with an a la carte option every day of the week, meaning it’s had plenty of practice to perfect its Friday brunch. Indeed, we’ve found it very close to perfection, with its fresh Arabic fare, tasty international dishes and delicious desserts. The Palace, Old Town (04 428 7888). Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dhs390 with sparkling wine.
Choices: It’s hard to argue with the name of Al Bustan Rotana’s restaurant, Choices. For Friday brunch truly global fare is offered from six front-of-house cooking stations. Tandoori, noodles, pasta, grilled barbecue, falafel and teppan ice-cream are a few of the dishes on offer. The seafood table is fantastic and the hot offerings are similarly impressive, with a mezze spread, Indian curries and spicy vegetable dishes. Children are well catered for too, with a dedicated table full of fodder to guarantee them an obese adulthood. Al Bustan Rotana , Garhoud (04 282 0000). Brunch served Fri noon-3.30pm. Dhs180 with soft drinks; Dhs199 with house beverages.