Friday feasts to take you straight from buffet table to bar counter. Or dancefloor. Or both
How do you even begin to narrow down the epic number of brunches happening every weekend? Or, for that matter, throughout the week now, too.
If you can’t be bothered with the faff of going from brunch to taxi to bar, save yourself the hassle by heading to one of these events, where you can simply stay put. You’ll be pleased to find that many of them are the most pocket-friendly in the city, too. What more do you need?
Belgian Café Tuck into traditional Belgian dishes such as huge, steaming pots of mussels. In the winter months, you can laze this three-hour brunch away out on the terrace, though the rustic interiors are an equally pleasant retreat from the heat. Stay firmly in your seat for the post-brunch happy hour, when you can get selected beverages for Dhs25 until 7pm. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 447 0227).
Brunching on a budget? Hit Biggles. For just Dhs99 you’ll get food, soft drinks and two beverages, and complimentary pool access. There’s a breakfast corner full of fry-up foods and pancakes, roast meat stations with Yorkshire puddings, as well as plenty of mains (steaks, baked chicken, veggie enchiladas) and puddings. Needless to say, this isn’t the fanciest or liveliest brunch around, but if you’re looking for something chilled-out and don’t fancy having to loosen your belt as you struggle to get your money’s worth, Biggles could be just what you need. Dhs99 (soft drinks, two beverages and pool access). Fri noon-4pm. Millennium Airport Hotel, Garhoud (04 702 8888).
Brit Brunch at The Rose & Crown A brunchier version of Sunday roast, you can tuck into a huge portion of grilled meat along with sides, appetisers and salad at this British feast. There’s plenty of food, plus unlimited drinks, so you can easily get your money’s worth. You’re also well placed to wander up to Blind Dragon post-brunch for a spot of karaoke, and, should you still be in the mood to party (and are dressed for the occasion), BOA Nightclub is next door. Dhs150 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The Atrium, Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 437 0022).
You’ll be spoilt for choice at the Scottish pub where there are no fewer than five brunches to choose from. The breakfast brunch kicks off the day with cereal, toast, croissants, cooked breakfasts, plus breakfast bubbles with orange, and tomato-based, spicy mixed beverages. Once noon hits, you can go for a drinks-only package, or add sharing platters and desserts for a more traditional brunch. Our favourite? The Roast Brunch. Copper Dog’s plate is sublime, featuring pink, juicy slabs of meat and pillowy Yorkshire puddings, rounded off with a traditional English dessert and two hours of unlimited beverages. From Dhs175. Fri-Sat from 10am. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR (04 559 5355).
We love this friendly bar for many reasons, and the brunch is certainly one of them. We’re not entirely sure why it’s airline-themed, but it’s so good that we’ll go with it. You can order à la carte dishes from the bar’s regular menu – ranging from burrata to tacos to black cod – all of which is fantastic. Expect to be out of your seat and on the dancefloor by the end of the afternoon. Dhs299 (soft drinks), Dhs399 (house beverages), Dhs499 (sparkling grape). Fri 1pm-4pm. Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC (04 354 5435).
Double Decker This brunch has been a popular one for years for two consistent reasons: it’s a bargain, ringing in at under Dhs200 for house beverages, and it’s always packed. Don’t expect a gourmet feast for that price, but all the staples are present and correct, plus the roast dinner is pretty decent. But when it comes to value and a party atmosphere, this place can’t be beaten. Dhs199 (house beverages). Fri noon-4pm. Roda Al Murooj, Downtown Dubai (04 321 1111).
Emerald City Brunch at The Dubliner’s As the website welcomingly states, “Everybody’s Irish every Friday at The Dubliner’s”. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to let their inner Irishman loose for a few hours at the weekend? Tuck into a buffet of the Emerald Isle’s specialties, along with a five free drinks, and top it up with buy two get one free deals all afternoon. Dhs79 (one soft drink), Dhs99 (two soft drinks), Dhs179 (five soft or house drinks). Fri 1pm-4pm. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 702 2508).
As the name suggests, there’s a pleasantly relaxing Mediterannean vibe to this brunch, especially if you can bag a table by the window, or in cooler months, out on the terrace. A scaled-down version of the gastropub’s menu is on offer (crispy calamari, watermelon and beetroot salad, Southern fried chicken and burnt lemon tart to name just a few of the standout dishes). The place is bustling with brunchers and long lunchers who drop in for a pint of craft hops or two, ideal for a slightly lazy, slightly lively afternoon to take your time over. Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs345 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 514 3778).
Funk Soul Supper Brunch at The Black Lion There are multiple brunches to choose from here. From Thursday night and Friday afternoon options to Wednesday evening feasts (two hours of unlimited pizza and beverages for Dhs160). Thursday offers three hours of street food-style bites and beverages, while Fridays are more about dancing to the cracking soundtrack of hip-hop, R&B, funk and soul than the food (though the menu, which includes dishes like Carolina fried chicken and waffles, chilli dogs and tacos, is ace, too). Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs335 (house beverages). Fri 6pm-10pm. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).
Girders Garden Brunch at Girders Perfect for anyone on a budget (or, for that matter, anyone looking for a fun, laid-back afternoon) Girders’ brunch of British classics takes place across the bar and, in cooler months, the outdoor terrace. Entertainment comes in the form of games, hops pong and DJs, while live music kicks off post-brunch from 4pm. Ideal for a casual al fresco brunch, or for retreating from the heat for an afternoon over summer. Dhs199 (all-inclusive). Fri noon-4pm. JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR (04 814 5590).
Kickers Sports Bar Cheap and cheerful, this sports bar serves up the brunch basics like salads, potato wedges, burgers, spicy wings and chips smothered in gravy and chilli. Food is pretty good, there are two pool tables, and the atmosphere is buzzing (especially if there’s a rugby match on). A great option for those living out around Sports City, Motor City, JVC and JVT, plus, if you want a bit of pub grub and a few pints before heading out on a Friday, this will do nicely. Dhs195 (house beverages). 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dubai Sports City (04 453 5200).
This stylish brunch has a distinctly city-chic vibe to it. You’ll be brunching amid the skyscrapers of Business Bay with views of the Burj Khalifa, sipping beverages and nibbling on sushi, ceviche, salads and barbecued meats. This isn’t a smorgasbord buffet brunch, but the vibe is upbeat, there’s a DJ pumping music, and it all feels fairly mature. It’s a place to sit back and relax. Dhs290 (soft drinks), Dhs460 (house beverages), Dhs650 (bubbly). Fri 1pm-5pm. The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (056 951 1442).
Lock, Stock & Brunch at Lock, Stock & Barrel Invariably packed, our 2017 Bar of the Year (and winner of our 2017 award for Best Bar Food, no less) is one for the brunch bucket list. Located in what is fast-becoming a Friday party hub of the city (in the same hotel that houses another raucous brunch, Lucky Voice), Lock Stock’s Friday atmosphere is loud and proud – perfect for big groups. Food comes out in huge sharing platters featuring everything from mac ’n’ cheese balls and sliders to flatbreads and pizza topped with buffalo chicken. All rounded off with cheesecake, brownies and pecan pie. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (04 514 9195).
Long’s Bar If you’re going to spend your Friday night out along Sheikh Zayed Road, you may as well head down early to fill up on grub from Long’s Bar. The house beverage package is only Dhs20 more than the soft drinks package, and it’s basically impossible to argue with that value. It’s a classic and predictable spread of brunch classics, but it will fill you up nonetheless, and by the time the buffet is cleared away you’ll be in the thick of Sheikh Zayed Road’s post-brunch parties. Ideal. Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs185 (house beverages), Dhs245 (bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. Towers Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 312 2202).
McGettigan’s JLT and DWTC McGettigan’s’ brunch reputation precedes it. It’s loud, it’s lively, and the party carries on long after the last plates have been cleared away. If you’re looking for somewhere to make an entire day and night of it, head to one of these spots. The pub grub is great, the price won’t break the bank, and there’s plenty of entertainment from live bands. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs249 (house beverages). Fri noon-5pm. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 356 0560). Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 6247).
Outlets of this little pub are scattered across some of the furthermost reaches of the city (think Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Investments Park), but are not to be overlooked. Especially on a Friday afternoon when you can get three courses of hearty pub fare, plus five house beverages at any time. Literally. It runs for 13 hours. Dishes include beef pie, pizza, burger and salads and British classics such as apple pie for dessert. Dhs159 (three courses and five beverages). Fri-Sat noon-1am. Various locations including Dubai Silicon Oasis (04 336 3084).
Original Wings & Rings This brunch runs day or night, so you don’t need to give up your weekly lie-in in the name of brunch. Settle in and get messy with a platter of deliciously sticky wings, though the menu stretches to Buffalo chicken nachos, spinach and artichoke dip, as well as sandwiches, wraps, gyros and burgers. Dhs149 (soft drinks), Dhs249 (house beverages), Dhs189 (night package). Fri noon-4pm, 8pm-11pm. Liberty House, DIFC (04 359 6900).
Sick of the heat? May as well head to an après-ski themed bar for a bit of respite. Graze on cold cuts before indulging in a gooey pot of cheese fondue or juicy meats, cooked on a hot stone. The selection is small, and the food is best enjoyed in a big group so that you can share multiple mains (it’s one per person, while starters and desserts come from the buffet). More mains mean more cheese. And that can only be a good thing. Dhs185 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8550).
Q43 As one of the city’s liveliest bars, it stands to reason that the Friday brunch would follow suit. It’s on from 7pm until 10pm, so you can head straight from the table to the dancefloor once you’ve filled up on sharing plates – far fancier than you might expect from such a pumping nightspot – such as mushroom and truffle arancini, baked aubergine bruschetta with sweet miso and pecorino, glazed beef brisket and vanilla bean crème caramel. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages). Fri 7pm-10pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 443 5403).
This Caribbean spot has made waves with its kitsch, bright neon interiors, upbeat vibe and excellent food. This deal includes three courses, plus a side dish, per person and unlimited mixed beverages. Choose from crispy fish tacos, jerk chicken and even jerk ramen, or tuck into a hearty oxtail stew, while sipping drinks packed with tropical ingredients such as lime, coconut, watermelon and pineapple. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs390 (house beverages). Fri noon-5pm. Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 356 2900).
Summer Saturday Brunch at Zero Gravity If you love the beach and you’re not put off by soaring temperatures, Zero Gravity’s weekly brunch is still going strong, with an unlimited buffet from noon until 5pm, five hours of unlimited beverages, DJs who keep things going well into the night, plus all-day pool and beach access from 8am, so you can laze off your brunch belly on a sun-lounger for the rest of the day. And all that’s not to mention the two-for-one beverages available from 5pm to 8pm. Arrive early and settle in for the day. What better way to round off a weekend? Dhs199 (ladies, house beverages), Dhs249 (gents, house beverages). Over 21s only. Sat from 8am. Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).
If, by “All-American”, you’re thinking a frat party-style gathering with red plastic cups (you know, the ones you see in the movies), large Mexican mixed drinks and hops pong, you’re basically right. When it comes to food it’s all about bites like jalapeño poppers, chicken wings and chilli cheese fries, which you can order à la carte, while there’s also a buffet with a live guacamole station. There isn’t much seafood involved, but you’ll find plenty of barbecued meat in its place. It’s not necessarily a brunch for foodies, but the atmosphere is loud and lively, the games are fun and the cheesy tunes get people up and dancing by the end. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs349 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 432 2300).
The Brexit Weekender at Barrel 12 If you’re still feeling down in the dumps about the referendum outcome, don’t let the name of this brunch put you off. For less than Dhs300 you’ll get a hearty three-course meal of proper British pub food and three hours of unlimited beverages. Prawn cocktail, roasts with Yorkshire puds, fish and chips and Eton mess all feature. But leave your political opinions at home. Dhs295. Fri-Sun noon-10.30pm (three-hour package). Palm Views East, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 4000).
The Great British Road Trip at Reform Social & Grill Fry-ups, fish and chips, toad in the hole, trifle, crumble and custard… these are just some of the nostalgic British delights on offer at this gastropub brunch, which takes in national classics from across the country, paired with summery British beverages. Alternatively, round off the working week with the pub’s brand-new Thursday package, complete with ’90s tracks, a platter of bar snacks and two hours of beverages between noon and 10pm for just Dhs199. Dhs260 (soft drinks), Dhs360 (house beverages), Dhs405 (sparkling grape). Fri noon-4pm, 6pm-10pm. The Lakes, Emirates Living (04 454 2638).
While the vibe is as laid-back as you’d expect from a bar as casual as The Huddle, the bar has stepped things up when it comes to its Friday feast. Expect a huge range of international foods delivered in The Huddle's classic sports bar style, including soups, salads, hot and cold selections, a live cooking station and a huge selection of desserts. This is surely one of the best-value brunch packages around at the moment, and an all-you-can-eat Friday treat. Dhs79 (soft drinks), Dhs149 (house beverages), Dhs199 (premium beverages). Fri noon-4pm. Citymax Hotels Al Barsha (04 409 8000).
The Irish Village One of the newest additions to the city’s network of huge Friday feasts (for a limited time only) is The Irish Village, our favourite pub in the city. Its cool, dim interiors are perfect for sheltering from the summer sun, and the menu of brunch food changes monthly, switching between hearty dishes like fry-ups, curries, fish and chips and roasts. With Drew from the Maple Jacks on stage and the kind of lively, pub ambience that very few establishments in the city provide, The Irish Village has already shot to the top of our list. Dhs199 (soft drinks), Dhs299 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Garhoud (04 282 4750).
The Lucky Brunch at Lucky Voice This newcomer to the brunch scene is already legendary. So much so, that it took us several weeks to bag a table. While the food won’t blow any minds (with the exception, that is, of the insanely good chocolate brownie that we practically inhaled in a matter of minutes) the atmosphere and entertainment is unbeatable. The DJ is hands down one of the best we’ve encountered in the city, and the lip-sync battles are hilarious. Plus you can hole up in a karaoke pod and sing your heart out once the brunch ends. Frankly, you’ll be booking your next table before you’ve even left. Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs295 (house beverages), Dhs350 (sparkling grape). Fri 1pm-4pm. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (800 58259).
Though we’re not entirely happy about the insinuation that women can’t also enjoy a day of pub grub, sports and gaming, we’re willing to overlook it. Firstly because the idea is brilliant, and we’re fans of the fact that you can play darts, pool, PlayStation and hops pong, you can pull your own pints, watch sport or just sit back and listen to the fab soundtrack of classic tunes. Secondly, because the food is top-notch. There’s a reason this place was Highly Commended in the Best Casual Newcomer category at our 2017 Restaurant Awards. Don’t miss the moreish barbecue wings, shrimp po’ boy or Reuben sliders. For Dhs299 you get three-and-a-half hours of drinks and food (two starters, one main and one dessert per person) starting from when you arrive at the venue, no matter the time (the last session starts at 9pm). It’s been a quiet Saturday offering so far, but we’re sure the crowds will flock once the city fills up again in September. Dhs299 (house beverages). Sat noon-midnight (3.5-hour package). The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 435 5577).
You may know The Agency less for brunch and more for its grape selection, but this smart, little bar in Madinat Jumeirah is worth a whirl on a weekend afternoon. It’s another rolling brunch that runs almost all day, with unlimited sharing platters and beverages for three hours whenever you arrive, plus you can guarantee the house grape will be excellent. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs350 (house beverages), Dhs495 (sparkling grape). Fri-Sat 12.30pm-6pm (three-hour package). Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 5845).
Barasti needs little introduction, and thanks to the missing Gorilla incident, neither does its new jungle-themed summer tent, The Lost World, where its brunch takes place. The famous beach bar is all about party vibes, so you don’t need us to tell you that this event is less about the food and more about sitting back and relaxing with a pint and some nibbles. Which isn’t to say it’s as wild as the name suggests. It’s actually fairly chilled-out, with a spread of decent enough food (Mexican pizza, veg curry and other tidbits of pub grub) that makes the value-for-money excellent. A lazy, sociable, Saturday retreat. Dhs175 for ladies (house beverages), Dhs250 for gents (house beverages). Sat 2pm-5pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 318 1313).