Pure excellence in terms of service, setting and the standard of food
Time Out Dubai Staff
DETAILS: Dhs450* (soft drinks and cleansers), Dhs595* (sparkling and house beverages), Dhs655* (bubbly and Japanese beverages), Dhs225* (kids aged four to 12), free (under fours). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660). *Excluding ten percent DIFC tax
There can be only one. Yes, it’s a quote from the greatest movie of all time, Highlander, but it also applies to the Best Brunch winner at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. And this year, that winner is Zuma.
Coming out on top of the pile is no mean feat, and this year there were strong contenders in COYA and Novikov, who were both highly commended in the awards. But time and time again we return to Zuma, which does not put a foot wrong during brunch.
Booking a table in a restaurant can sometimes be so difficult that you want to give up before you’ve even got to the venue. Not so here. But make sure you book early, as it’s pretty much always fully booked.
Upon arrival, the transition to your table is smooth and if you happen to be a little early (like us) there’s time to have a drink and some oysters at the bar before you’re seated.
Service during brunch is routinely superb, too. The packages are explained clearly, as is the format (raw counter, hot counter and other starters buffet-style, a selection of small plates to be ordered to the table as many times as you like, one main course from a list of about six and desserts at the buffet station) and drinks are topped up with minimum fuss.
While we’re perusing the, quite frankly, astonishing selection of buffet dishes, staff regularly pop up to ask if we need anything explained (turns out we do – and we’re very pleased that we asked about the octopus pancake/dumpling ball). Most of it is familiar, but done nowhere else at this level of quality. Sashimi is simply stunning, the selection of maki and other sushi rolls is awe-inspiring and the playful and healthy twists on the standard options is inspired.
If this sounds like we’re gushing, well, we are. We head up to the counter again and again and don’t have the same thing twice, the breadth of dishes is amazing.
We’re taken with the wagyu rib, perfectly cooked and displayed with pomp. The gyoza are excellent, too. Just try them all. In fact have a go at as much of it as you can handle. Absolutely order the salt and pepper squid to the table, the crunch, seasoning and green chilli all works together perfectly.
And don’t worry about the difficult choice of mains, because they’re all excellent. Everyone knows about the black cod and Chilean sea bass, but the grilled lobster perhaps beats both.
Desserts are very good, but they could serve us Mr Whippy and we’d still be happy after what precedes it. The Bottom Line If there was only one brunch in town, we’d want it to be this one.