Time Out Dubai is the guide to the best brunch in Dubai. Here we profile the pick of party brunches in Dubai. Get reviews, contact details and more
Don't forget to pack your dancing shoes at these popular Friday feasts in Dubai.You'll be given food in toy boats and cars, served 'disco sushi' and what else says party like a chocolate fountain? You might be confused about whether you've just been to a nightclub or out for a meal after emerging from these places into the daylight, but one thing's for sure.... a good time will be had by all.
This iconic granddaddy of Asian fusion restaurants hosts a quirky brunch affair, where the eight-course menu of signature dishes is served in an array of toy cars and boats. There is also entertainment taking place in the lounge each week, and a resident DJ. Dhs450 (mixed drinks), Dhs550 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm.
This fun and casual brunch is a good budget option in Souk Al Bahar, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Extras: A live in-house band plays old school hits and new favourites throughout the day, Food and drinks: American dishes from CLAW’s signature menu including baja fish tacos, Texas beef brisket and buffalo jumbo shrimp.
Dress code: Casual.
Family friendly? Yes, CLAW provides crayons and paper for kids.
Prices: The Freshman package: Dhs195 (with soft drinks and mocktails). The Varsity package: Dhs295 (with house beverages). The Graduate package: Dhs345 (with premium mixed beverages).
Dubbing itself, ‘Disco Sushi, The Friday Party Brunch’, this event is like an indoor, daytime club night. The theme is 80s and 90s, and if you don’t dress up, Okku will give you rave glasses and glow sticks galore. Also on offer is the star attraction, a 12-course menu of signature Okku dishes. Dhs399 (soft drinks), Dhs599 (beverages), minimum group booking of four people. Fri 12.30pm-5pm.
The major USP at the Friday brunch at this popular nightspot is that it lets you have a little lie in, since it runs from 2pm to 5pm. During that time, a three-course meal is served at the table, featuring a carvery, as well as cheeses and desserts. There is also a post-brunch party starting from 8pm with music from the DJs.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Fri 2pm-5pm.
In a tweet: A Thursday night out with great music at one of Dubai's coolest venues. Best for Thursday night party time.
The venue: Zero Gravity is now one of the best locations for a night out in Dubai, and it may have struck gold with its House Party brunch. Located on the first floor, brunch here is quirky and drink heavy. The food is decent, but it’s the music, entertainment and drinks that make this brunch stand out.
The food: The choice isn’t massive and the portions are on the small side; it’s almost a canapé brunch. We’re fans of the wait staff bringing around trays of food, so if you want to prop yourself up in a corner and wait for the food to come to you, that’s absolutely possible. But if you want to stuff your face with food, this isn’t one for you. We expect the food variety will increase as the brunch matures. We should say, too, the food is pretty good – we just wanted more of it.
The drinks: There’s a variety of quirky drinks here, served in test tubes and tea pots and mixed with Skittles and so on. The standard hops, grape and mixed drinks are available as normal. Specialist mixed drink bars are dotted around the venue.
The crowd: The crowd is here to party, so don’t expect to sit and have a quiet chat. This is a lively and mobile brunch – you know, like a house party.
The dress code: Nightclub door policy applies from 9pm. Mixed groups and smart dress required. So Dubai.
The service: The food service is great, thanks to the staff who pop around with trays. Drink service can be slow, so we suggest you find a bar.
Extras & entertainment: DJ Soulninja, one of Dubai’s unsung DJs, spins an incredible set. Expect character actors to pop up, too. On our visit, we had a grandma giving the place a spring clean – we guess this was her house party. There’s also table football, giant jenga and other games adding to the fun.
Highs & lows: This is a different kind of brunch and it’s quite refreshing. The music plays a big part and the DJ’s set is really very good. Drinks are interesting, but the food, while good, lacks variety and range when compared to a traditional brunch. But that’s its strength and hook: it's not a traditional brunch. Plus it's fantastic value for party-goers.
The after party: You’re in safe hands here; the brunch finishes at 11pm, but you can stay and party right where you are 'til 3am.
The Friday affair at Yalumba has a much classier tone than its cousin Warehouse, and yet both manage to strike a similar tone of all out party. Here, at the Australian-themed restaurant, you’ll be served premium French bubbly, alongside a buffet and an à la carte selection.
Dhs499 per person (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm.
This good value brunch offers an extensive buffet and unlimited selected beverages in Double Decker British pub. Either dine inside or in the garden.
Extras: Resident DJ and live band.
Food and drinks: Double Decker Brunch serves traditional British cuisine. Visit the carving station to stock up on roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, or choose from a selection of salads, hot dishes and desserts from the buffet.
Dress code: Smart casual.
Family friendly? No. Brunch is open to those aged 21 and over.
Post brunch: A live band from 4.15pm to 7.30pm in Double Decker.
Prices: Dhs199 (with soft drinks and selected beverages).
In a tweet: A lively brunch with a focus on drinks rather than food.
The venue: The venue is pretty much just a huge marquee next to XL Dubai. Long tables are crammed side by side with various inflatable toys and fancy dress accessories strewn on top as centrepieces. The venue is divided into sections: a bar and DJ booth in one corner and the buffet sectioned off behind a glass wall. It all works well to create a party atmosphere, but with only four toilets in total and a few hundred brunch goers, things can get pretty messy.
The food: Food doesn’t take centre stage here, but it’s not the worst spread we’ve ever seen at a party brunch. Staff replenish the buffet often, so whatever you choose will at least be warm. Options include pasta dishes, a roast and plenty of salads to start. There’s also a cheese board and fresh breads should you get peckish later on.
The drinks:You'll find some elaborate mixed beverages, served with sparklers, dry ice or some sort of silly straw and umbrella. Grape, hops and shorts are also on offer.
The crowd: Candypants is like going on an 18-30 package holiday. Everyone here looks like they work as a model or personal trainer, and most are on a stag or hen do, or celebrating a birthday party.
The dress code: Full on club gear. Gents are well-polished, with slick hair, pressed shirts and chinos, while the ladies do their best impression of The Saturdays in figure-hugging dresses, shorts and heels.
The service: At such a rowdy brunch, staff really outdo themselves. Drinks are topped up before you’ve had a chance to finish.
Extras & entertainment:A DJ plays party songs throughout the day, with commercial hits from pop and urban to classic tracks. If you’re celebrating an occasion, the staff will make you feel extra special by bringing out various fishbowl-sized drinks.
Highs & lows: There’s a great party atmosphere, and it’s good value for money. But with so many people in attendance, more toilets are needed, and the air-conditioning could be improved. The food’s nothing special, but it’s enough to keep you going on the dancefloor.
The after party: Head next door to XL Dubai, where the party turns into a full-on clubbing experience from 3.30pm until 9pm.
In a tweet: Great atmosphere with nostalgic undertones. Food could be better. Best for small groups.
The venue: Take the lift up to the ninth floor of the Media One Hotel and you’ll find a fresh and bright restaurant with views across Media City and out to the Palm Jumeirah. Diners sit on tan leather seats, and the walls are decked with pale wood for that tavern effect. For this themed brunch, film posters and playful slogans from the ’80s and ’90s are hung on the walls.
The food: For a crab restaurant, there’s a distinct lack of crustacean on the brunch menu. There is other seafood, plus meat, steaks and other traditional brunch items, but there’s a glaring hole in the middle of the menu where a bucket of crab legs should be. Carnivores will enjoy the rump steak. Starters are for sharing and include crab doughnuts (fried doughnuts with creamy crab paste), which, while novel, need more crab meat to pack a punch. American-style desserts such as chocolate brownies and pecan tart are shared among the table, too.
The drinks: The usual house selection, plus American mixed beverages. There are also some special oversized mixed beverages that are perfect for big groups.
The crowd: A mixed clientele of young professionals and media-types. Not one for families as there’s no entertainment or special provisions for kids.
The dress code: Smart casual is to way to go here to fit in with the crowd.
The service: On our visit the bar staff were great at keeping drinks refreshed, but other staff were slow to respond to requests.
Extras & entertainment: The fun nostalgic ‘80s and ‘90s playlist will get you singing along and grooving in your seats. Guests who grew up during that era can also relive their childhoods with the mini slinkys and finger skateboards on the tables.
Highs & lows: The atmosphere is fun and lively, and the venue smart. However, the welcome drink could be swapped: a tomato-based mixed beverage with a slice of veal bacon isn’t the ideal greeting for everyone.
The after party: There’s no need to leave the hotel, with Q43 open for a few post-brunch beverages. Or you could head towards Al Sufouh and The Westin or Le Meridien Mina Seyahi. Verdict: 3.5/5 Dhs395 (all inclusive). Fri 1pm-5pm. Media One Hotel, Media City, www.crabtavern.ae (04 420 7489).
In a tweet: The Black Lion gastropub serves up fun tunes and a party atmosphere. Best for a party.
The venue: A stylish gastropub in The H Dubai, The Black Lion is one of the better new venues on the scene. There is plenty of space for big parties, and tables for couples and smaller groups.
The food: Courses are served à la carte, with a set menu of starters shared before you choose one main course from a menu of about eight dishes. Desserts are also served to share. The dishes are not subtle, with the starters including an incredibly punchy spicy fried chicken and nachos covered in cheesy sauce, tomato salsa and guacamole. We also found the mains to be hit and miss; the corn beef hash (with two fried eggs) was tasty but heavy, while rump steak with fries was cooked exactly how we asked but a little tough. It’s a new brunch, so we’re sure it will be tweaked as the weeks go by. Desserts are good, especially the deep apple pie, though some cream would have perfected it.
The drinks: In a word, plentiful. Buckets of hops and carafes of grape are available, while staff bring around fruity shorts throughout the meal. Big bowls of mixed beverages also turn up at the table. These touches make it clear that the focus is on fun more than food.
The crowd: Groups of friends and couples who want a more stylish place for Friday brunch. This is probably one more suited to people in their late 20s and early 30s who like a laugh, rather than youngsters out for a wild afternoon.
The dress code: This is a stylish venue so you’d look out of place if you were too casual. Some people are dressed to impress, but the brunch’s collection of party hats and other props soon make their way on to people’s outfits.
The service: Enthusiastic if not always very clear. Maybe as the weeks go by the selection of drinks that are available will become clearer and the staff’s knowledge of the menu and the brunch format will improve.
Extras & entertainment: The clue is in the name – guilty pleasures refers to the music. A DJ plays fun tunes from the ’80s and ’90s that some of us will enjoy without feeling too guilty. For us, this was the highlight of the brunch. The props for people to pose for photographs with also seem popular.
Highs & lows: The music and atmosphere really made the brunch for us. However, the food, while perfectly fine, was slightly disappointing given the venue’s gastropub status.
The after party: Across the lobby is One On One Bar, where you’ll find a happy hour.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages and sparkling). Discount of Dhs50 for dressing as a movie character. Fri 1pm-5pm & 6pm-10pm. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
In a tweet: A lively Spanish gathering that brings in the crowds. Best for a party brunch.
The venue: Rustically decorated in dark wood and tiles, Casa de Tapas is an inviting venue. It’s also deceivingly spacious, with seating spread out around corners and in hideaways. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the Creek and give this brunch a light and airy feel.
The food: When you arrive at your table, you’ll find some light dishes, such as salads, waiting for you. How long they’ve been sitting at the table for is unknown. Tapas dishes are occasionally brought to the table, and you can expect to feast on typical Spanish treats such as patatas bravas and the less-traditional mini chicken burgers. It’s the seafood dishes that impress the most, including prawns in a slightly spicy sauce. There are also an array of salads, roast meats, cold cuts and desserts laid out buffet style.
The drinks: Drinks packages for this brunch are very competitively priced, with Spanish mixed beverage included with the mid-range option. If it’s a special occasion, you can also splash out on bubbly.
The crowd: This is very much a party brunch, with large groups of friends out celebrating. It can get quite rowdy as the day progresses, especially when the live music starts up.
The dress code: Guests tend to wear casual clothing or fancy dress, depending on the occasion. Don’t dress up too smart for this one.
The service: Chaotic would be a kind word to use. It starts off brightly, with a staff member showing guests to a table, but after that you may find yourself left to your own devices. No explanation of the format of the brunch is forthcoming, and drinks orders may require repeating several times. Tapas dishes are served to the table from the open kitchen, but this service is sporadic at best.
Extras & Entertainment: A live band takes to the stage midway through the brunch, playing Spanish songs to an enthusiastic crowd that likes to sing along.
Highs & Lows: The atmosphere at Casa de Tapas for its brunch is perfect for a lively gathering with friends. If you’re out to celebrate a birthday, then you’re sure to have a good time. It’s also great value for money, especially the mid-range package with house beverages. However, the poor service is a let-down and can be frustrating at times.
The After Party: Head up stairs to Cielo Sky Lounge for al fresco drinks overlooking the Creek.