Let’s not beat around the bush. Weekends in the UAE involve food, and lots of it. Dina Maaty has 20 fabulous brunches to guarantee you, and your kids, will be kept very happy indeed
Brunches are an institution in the UAE and they make for great family weekend gatherings, too. While yum, home-made dishes might keep the kids satisfied, sometimes you just need a little bit more for that parent guilt (they really wanted to go to the theme parks. For the fiftieth time). Luckily, we have 20 brunches that go the extra mile for kids. Expand their horizons (and their palates) as they have an almighty good time. And the best bit? They’re incredibly fun and tasty for you, too.
Bambini brunching at Luigia Ristorante There are a few things that kids love, and this brunch has them all, in one place. Located at Rixos Premium Dubai in JBR, new restaurant Luigia offers a daytime getaway for the kids, serving up pizza, pasta and a jolly good time. The food here is the real deal – the pizzas are authentic and the pastas home-made. Parents can enjoy a selection of traditional Italian dishes from the à la carte menu, while kids eat for free. And the section for the little ones is a world of its own. There’s a kids’ cinema, football table and arcade games. A nanny is available at all times to help keep your mind at ease, too. Prices à la carte (adults), free (kids aged one to 12). Fri and Sat 12.30pm-5pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR (04 349 6950).
Bubbalicious at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
This brunch is well known among families, and is consistently packed out each week. While it does have a “party” atmosphere, the cool kids (actual youngsters) can also have some fun of their own at the kids’ corner inside. There’s also an outdoor section for little ones, as well as a menu dedicated to sprogs. So while parents are enjoying the live music and fun weekend vibes, the kids will be kept filly entertained. The likes of acrobats, face-painting and more are all included, too. Dhs480 (soft drinks), Dhs580 (sparkling grape), Dhs680 (bubbly), free (kids aged 12 and under). Fri 1pm to 4pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 399 4141).
When you think kids, you think cartoons. This JLT brunch is super-exciting for children, but it’s great for grown-ups, too. It has a vast international buffet spread featuring roasts and seafood, live stations inspired by all-time favourite cartoon characters and real-life superheroes, and a dedicated “Power Bites” buffet for kids, as well as face-painting and games. And there’s a separate kids’ area where they can watch the movies, paint, play and basically just be kids. Dhs179 (soft drinks), Dhs289 (house beverages), half price (kids aged six to 12), free (kids aged five and under). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, JLT (04 438 0000).
Family Brunch at Bread Street Kitchen It’s all about treats and activities Bread Street Kitchen’s Family Brunch. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s Friday feast offers sharing starters, a choice of main courses, signature desserts, an interactive ice cream counter, and much more. The kids get to attend culinary masterclasses and they’ll get to visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium for free, too. Dhs240 (soft drinks), Dhs355 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Family grazing at Carluccio’s, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
A brunch where kids under the age of 12 eat for free? That’s music to our ears! The Family Grazing Brunch at Carluccio’s includes a dedicated kids’ corner with a gelato cart, face-painting, kids’ food, balloon animals, colouring and games for the little ones. Foodie parents can indulge in live cooking stations in an open kitchen-style diner, with pizza, pasta, antipasti, and traditional desserts. Head out to the terrace, too, which is an absolute must, as it looks out to a mesmerising view. Dhs195 (soft drinks), Dhs345 (sparkling grape), free (kids aged 11 and under). Fri noon-3.30pm. Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Garhoud, Dubai (04 230 8555).
Farmer’s brunch at Al Forsan
If you’re looking for an experience that’s a bit different to most others out there, the Friday Farmer’s Brunch at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa’s Al Forsan restaurant is bound to work for you. It’s super family-friendly and offers a lavish buffet spread, live cooking stations, a live entertainment programme, and dedicated kids’ activities – all in one gorgeous desert hideaway. The special kids’ corner features classic kids’ bites and a wide selection of international sweets, with more than 20 different desserts from all over the world. The brunch celebration doesn’t end here, there. A clown will also be making the rounds, along with a magician, there’s a mini zoo with camel and pony rides available, plus face-painting, balloon-twisting, lawn games, and mini golf challenges. Dhs365 (soft drinks), Dhs545 (house beverages), half price (kids aged five to 12), free (kids aged four and under). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Qudra Road, opposite Endurance City (04 8096194).
Friday fun at Farriers
It’s a full-on brunch bonanza at The Meydan Hotel, featuring an extensive, luxurious buffet, 14 live cooking stations and live entertainment. There’s even a Chinese live wok station, a pasta corner and a butcher’s block carvery. The little ones will enjoy a wide range of fun activities including face-painting, drawing, arts and crafts, balloon-bending, movies, PlayStation games and the ultimate bouncy castle in the their dedicated, supervised kids’ area. A special mini buffet for youngsters offers kiddie favourites, too, including candyfloss, marshmallows and a chocolate fountain. Dhs305 (soft drinks), Dhs470 (house beverages), Dhs160 (kids aged five to 12), free (kids aged four and under). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba (04 381 3111).
FUN-tastic family brunch at JW Marriott Dubai
This is a fantastic choice for a weekend treat with the whole family. You’ll be spoilt for choice with activities and culinary experiences. There’s huge a variety of international dishes to choose from at The Market Place, a traditional Bavarian feast at Hofbräuhaus, and an Asian extravaganza at Bamboo Lagoon, plus live entertainment from the Polynesian band. But it’s the kids who will be having all the fun, with a dedicated area housing their buffet, a bouncy castle and their own little colourful tables. Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs150 additional for house beverages), Dhs60 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira (04 262 4444).
Pirates and Mermaids Brunch at Mazina The pirates have sailed the seven seas and brought some rather hungry mermaids from their undersea homes with them, for a Dubai feast that every pirate from Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow would approve of. Kids dressed up as pirates or mermaids will be entered into a competition to win best-dressed prizes. And the afternoon promises plenty more fun besides. The kids can follow their map to find a buried treasure chest. They can also get temporary tattoos, which are bound to make the pirates happy, before they besiege the bouncy castle. The fun-filled afternoon will continue with Magic Phil, who will perform some of his best tricks, keeping the whole family entertained. Mazina’s five show kitchens will serve up delicious brunch fare, and there’s a whole themed kids’ area with its own buffet, too. Don’t forget to check out the mermaid cake! Dhs330 (soft drinks), Dhs460 (house beverages), Dhs622 (bubbly), free (kids aged five and under). Sat 12.30pm-3.30pm. Address Dubai Marina (800 346 464).
The Carnival Brunch at Palm Garden Abracadabra! How many magic tricks will it take to turn your Friday into a carnival? Probably none, because Sheraton Dubai’s Carnival Brunch will make it happen. Make your way to the hotel’s garden for a lavish family feast that’s heaps of fun for the kids. From live entertainment to a corner designed exclusively for the little ones, this is one way to make your Friday unforgettable. You also get pool and beach access one the extravaganza comes to an end after 4pm, so you can make a whole day of it. Dhs225 (soft drinks), Dhs325 (house beverages), half price (kids aged six to 12), free (kids ages up to six). Fri 1pm-4pm. Sheraton Dubai Jumeirah Beach, JBR (04 399 5533).
Ultimate brunching at Flow Kitchen
Our brunch cover star is all about fun, frolics, and lots of delicious food. It’s a journey from Asia all the way to the Mediterranean and Middle East – think Asian wok dim sums, rib-eye beef with Yorkshire pudding and a Brazilian churrassco. There’s a kids-only corner, too, brunch eats dedicated to little ones, including a breakfast brunch with a selection of healthy treats and kid favourites such as strawberry and mango smoothie, vegetarian sushi, smiley-face cheese sandwiches, mocktails and fresh juices. They also get two hours of interactive activities including photo opportunities with cartoon characters, face-painting, balloon-twisting, arts and crafts and a magic show. Kids aged three to 12 will have free access to the Fairmont Falcons Kids’ Club, while kids aged 18 months to three years can also play for Dhs60 per hour. A qualified team of in-house “playmakers” will entertain with a range of afternoon activities, including group games, face painting and competitions. Let the little ones loose on the mini climbing wall, or unleash their inner Picassos with arts and crafts. And it doesn’t end there. Beach access is available at a 50 percent discount, which means relaxation time for mum and dad while the kids cool off. Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs495 (sparkling grape), Dhs100 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids aged five and under). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).
Arabesque-ing at Sofra BLD
International cuisine in an Arabesque setting sounds great to us, and we have one brunch that totally fulfils this. At Sofra BLD, the buffet set-up includes different stations for different kinds of cuisines. You get to enjoy yum food to the beats of the live band, and you get complimentary beach and pool access for a dip with the kids. They also have their own food corner, which includes all sorts of colourful treats and pops – and three chocolate fountains too, plus face-painting and a magician. Dhs285 (soft drinks), Dhs365 (house beverages), Dhs495 (bubbly), half price (kids aged six to 12). Fri 1pm-4pm. Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta (02 509 8555).
Children’s Counter at Nahaam
Brunches are usually tons of fun for adults and this one is no different. You have the sushi, salads, and posh setting, however, it’s this brunch’s kids’ counter that really impresses. It has assorted sandwiches and wraps, which include tuna bread rolls, chicken mayo wraps, and peanut butter and jam stacks for kids to munch on. The kiddie salads, which are amazing for parents who are looking for healthy eating options for their brood include roasted turkey and melon and pineapple coleslaw. Hot dishes range from chicken sliders and shrimp popcorn to barbecue chicken wings and even fish fillet tempura. Sweet treats are as sweet as they get, with the hotel’s restaurant offering fruit skewers, doughnuts, and much more. All that and there’s even a hot dog steamer and popcorn machine on the side. Now that’s what we call a kid-friendly brunch! Dhs360 (soft drinks), Dhs475 (house beverages), Dhs500 (bubbly), Dhs625 (premium bubbly), half price (kids aged 12 to 16), free (kids aged 11 and under). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).
Fantastic family Fridays at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan Okay, now we know this one’s technically half a brunch, since it’s actually a lunch deal, but if you’re looking for a more laid-back outing, this is the one for you. Expect great variety at great value and lots of indulgence. The kids will have a ball with the bouncing castle, too. We’re thinking we may not even need a brekkie… Dhs125 per person (food only), Dhs165 per person (soft drinks), Dhs225 (house beverages). Fri, 12.30pm-4pm. Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Al Forsan International Sports Resort (02 201 4131).
Fish Market Brunch at Sevilla While a fish market may not be your typical option for an outing with the kids, Al Raha Beach Hotel’s Friday Fish Market Brunch will definitely be high up on your list. With specialities including a traditional roast, sushi and sashimi, French cheese, fritto misto, roasted organic vegetables and live cooking stations, there’s so much more to see besides the seafood selection and superb dessert spread filled with freshly baked pastries, from seasonal scones, muffins and cookies, to cinnamon rolls and much more – it’s all there! As if that wasn’t enough to induce a major sugar rush, kids will have their pick from a promised “Abu Dhabi’s biggest kids’ buffet” with special treats. They can even interact with the culinary experts and pick up some top cooking tips while being supervised by one of the professional cooks. Dhs240 per person (soft drinks). Beach and pool access also included. Fri 1pm-4pm. Al Raha Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi (02 508 0431).
Palatial brunch at Las Brisas
You know it’s a perfect Friday when you can dine poolside, surrounded by lush gardens and swaying palm trees. At Emirates Palace’s brunch, there’s also so much to munch on with live cooking stations, barbecue, traditional tandoori, dim sum and shawarma stations. The kids will fall in love with the sweet treats in the form of a candy bar (an actual station, not a Snickers bar) and an ice cream wagon. There’s also a popcorn cart and entertainment just for them. Dhs370 (soft drinks, Dhs465 (house beverages), Dhs680 (bubbly), Dhs780 (French bubbles), Dhs180 (kids aged ten to 12), free (kids aged nine and under). Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi (02 690 9000).
Seafood Saturday brunch at Eastern Mangroves Promenade This one calls on you to enjoy everything seafood as you treat yourself to a seriously tempting selection of fresh seafood, a huge paella pan, and barbecue all on the terrace. Kick back with a freshly mixed beverage and enjoy the live band while the kids enjoy their special menu. Dhs150 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages), Dhs85 (kids’ menu with soft drinks). Sat noon-5.30pm. Al Salam Street, Sheikh Zayed Street, Eastern Mangroves, Near Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Abu Dhabi (02 406 1462).
Slow Food Brunch at Aqua
When we heard that Aqua was serving up a Slow Food Brunch, we were intrigued, but slow food and kids? Yep, that can happen. A farm-to-table concept, this brunch redefines cooking stations with international dishes reflecting traditions and heritage rather than a rushed, fast-cooking for brunch approach. The kids get their own mini buffet, with a nanny supervising proceedings, while they decorate doughnuts and muffins and watch kids’ movies. Dhs300 (soft drinks), Dhs410 (house beverages), Dhs475 (bubbly), Dhs135 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids aged one to five). Fri 1pm-4.30pm. Rosewood Abu Dhabi (02 813 5550).
The Crust Brunch at Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi
This one of the capital’s top brunches for kids. It has the usual extensive international buffet and live cooking stations, but the chef also get carving at your table for some tableside cooking. There are no bouncy castles, but the Kids Club’s dedicated play area offers plenty of fun for little ones – and you can keep an eye on them too, as it’s not far away. Dhs285 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs560 (bubbly), Dhs125 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids aged five and under). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Maryah Island (02 333 2222).
Village kitchen Brunch at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi
Time to ignore the alarm clock and sleep in at the weekend, then wake up to a massive brunch. The Village Kitchen Brunch at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi is a good way to do so, as nothing is off limits here. You can eat and eat to your heart’s content at this evergreen oasis and discover Italian, Greek, British and other international delicacies from Pappagallo, Acropolis, Captain’s Arms, and NRG – or what they call “The Village”. Everything is served to the table, including juicy burgers, delicious ribs, lamb pita and vegetarian options, plus kids’ favourites such as chicken wings, hot dogs, traditional fish and chips, eggs Benedict, Tex-Mex rice, and more. The kids will love the play area, which has a bouncy castle, but also delightful treats such as candyfloss and popcorn. Dhs139 (soft drinks), Dhs229 (house beverages), half price (kids aged six to 12), free (kids aged six and under). Fri 1pm-4pm. Al Zahiyah (02 644 6666).