Incredible vistas out to sea at this sky-high brunch where à la carte trumps the buffet
Time Out Dubai staff
Make no mistake, Alta Badia is sophisticated. With its sky-high setting on the 50th floor of Jumeirah Emirates Towers showing off expansive, sweeping views over DIFC and out to sea over the Pearl Jumeira, the venue alone offers a real sense of occasion. So it’s with high hopes that we take our table for brunch.
You have a three-hour eating window at this Friday feast, which doesn’t leave you with much time if you have hopes for seconds (or thirds) from the à la carte menu, but its address deters us from approaching this feast in our biggest, least elegant pants, in order to accommodate for multiple rounds – Alta Badia is classy, after all, and demands your best manners.
And perhaps because of that, the food stands at this part buffet, part à la carte brunch are a little underwhelming.
The theme is Italian and you’ll be able to grab slices of pizza topped with cheese, or pepperoni, or a cursory scattering of bell peppers – not exactly Italy’s finest.
There are also deep-fried croquettes stuffed with turkey (a little odd), cold cuts (a tad better) and triangles of cheese sandwiches (erm…). So it’s a mishmash of happenings to say the least.
It’s best to save yourself for the à la carte offerings, of which you can order multiple throughout the afternoon.
We go for a chicken dish, a fish plate and a pasta, and of those, the pasta steals the show. Baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce, topped liberally with more cheese, baked to a golden crisp, all topped off with black truffle, it’s a dish we could have come back to time and again – if only, we’d worn those stretchy, inelegant pants.
The fish – a delicately prepared sea bass – is full of Mediterranean flavour, light and fall-apart. The olives give it a real kick, and it also goes down a treat. The chicken, however, sitting atop its lentil base, is less noteworthy – bland and a little dry. It’s the accompanying blanched broccoli and baby carrots that appeal to our taste buds most. And teamed with the delightful pasta, they make that dish sublime. It takes a little time for the kitchen to prepare the à la carte offerings – a good sign. Staff are attentive and personable, too, but not overbearing considering how few people are in for brunch.
The afternoon passes swiftly and before long, we’re notified that the buffet will soon be cleared. But not before we’ve had the chance to load up on dessert.
Dainty little cakes, tiny portions of apple pie (which is really cake), tarts and more, enticingly gracing the stands, make it onto our plates. And it’s a great sweet finish to what is a pleasant afternoon meal.
This isn’t the finest brunch in town, but the views and à la carte dishes make it worth it. Dhs260 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 432 3232).
The bottom line Stick to the menu and you can’t go wrong.