A slightly retro offering in a venue that’s an old favourite in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
There is one striking reason to book in for this brunch and the giveaway is its (and its venue’s) name. Yes, it’s all about the views in here.
Perched on the 52nd floor of Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites in Dubai Marina, the Sky High Brunch boasts some of the most impressive, panoramic vistas of the Marina on one side and Palm Jumeirah on the other. The Observatory is a long-standing classic in Dubai – if you haven’t experienced it by now, you really do need to book in for this brunch.
The venue is set up a bit like an observation deck or viewing platform, with the huge, concave, floor-to-ceiling windows drowning the space in light and drawing your gaze as you wander through the semi-circle layout, taking it all in.
Perhaps because of its age though, things feel a little bit retro at this brunch – the venue is a bit tired-looking and none of the food really jumps out at us, offering up that wow factor, which is a shame, considering its spectacular setting.
The afternoon fiesta takes place buffet-style, with a an array of dishes set up that guide you through the two sides of the space – the non-smoking dining room, right around to the bar area on the opposite side.
Service is a little slow, despite our Friday visit being far from over-subscribed (only a few other tables are occupied, and nowhere near enough to justify us longingly looking for staff for top-ups). But walking around is what it’s all about at the end of the day.
Pick up salads, sushi, sashimi and cold starters as you go, including a tasty, little tube of gazpacho.
Move on the hot dishes, and you’ll be rewarded with delicious roast meats – the short rib is a must, tender and full of sweet, meaty flavour. The standard accompaniments and sauces you’d expect to see (and all you could possibly want – don’t pass up on the mustard) are also present and correct. Our only gripe? The creamy spinach suffers a little from sitting out for too long.
The hot food section also includes grilled seafood, chicken, steaks and kebabs, but if you’re a fan of barbecued meat and fish, head for the live grilling station.
Take the numbered cards on your table over to cooks, pick your meat and seafood raw – go for a steak, some king prawns, salmon and tuna steaks and lobster – and get it freshly grilled to your liking (though chefs can be a little heavy-handed and some of our items return a touch over-cooked. Overall, though, the live grill is a great addition to the buffet, the produce all being super-fresh. Try some of the enticing and seriously chocolatey desserts, too.
The Observatory’s High Brunch isn’t the best Friday buffet in town, but for the views, it’s not to be missed. Dhs300 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4000).
The bottom line Impressive vistas steal the limelight.