What’s on offer? Fresh crab, lobster and other shellfish make up the centrepiece at the cold buffet station, accompanied by a scattering of salads, seemingly inspired by cuisines from across the globe. Unfortunately, it’s not a resounding success, and you’re better off sticking to the fish and crustaceans which haven’t been tampered with beyond a slight steaming or curing. Though there’s a decent selection of cheese nearby, it’s left uncovered and unattended, which is an open invitation to the flies that happily buzz around the area. The hot station, though small, also offers up international variety, with varying degrees of success. The curry is adequately spiced, but the oriental offerings fall flat and are distinctly bland. With an entire room dedicated to dessert, we thought this would surely be where price tag for our brunch with house beverages would pay off. But the berry crumble was distinctly lacking its namesake topping, the array of Day-Glo mousse cakes were indistinct from one another and the biscotti smelled so strongly of egg it conjured up images of a Nicoise salad rather than a tasty dessert.
The venue? Overlooking the marina and the rows of impressive yachts harboured at the club, Aquara’s Friday brunch has a seafood focus, as you might expect from a waterside location. Natural light floods the room, which seems rarely to be at capacity during the day – though nights are another matter altogether. It’s a decent spot for entertaining more mature visitors, who might not fair too well at one of the more extravagant affairs that the city’s brunching scene is famous for.
What sort of crowd turn out? It’s a reasonably mellow affair for a more cultivated clientele. Room for improvement? The offer needs to be better value for money.
Standout dish? The avocado brûlée is rewarding, but it isn’t enough to justify the price tag. In one sentence… You will find better food and a more vibrant atmosphere at other venues around town. Dhs220 (soft drinks); Dhs350 (one glass of sparkling wine upon arrival); Dhs400 (one glass of bubbly).. Fridays 12.30pm-3.30pm or 7.30pm-10.30pm. Dubai Marina Yacht Club (04 362 7900).