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Exceedingly opulent party brunch best for large groups

What’s on offer?
Saffron’s brunch at Atlantis can only be described as offering unrestrained opulence, with more than 220 dishes to choose from, many with a loose Asian theme. There are huge sections devoted to sushi, Chinese, Thai and Indian, as well as European staples, salads and desserts. Far more popular than any of these, however, are the omnipresent drinks stations. The house was kept entertained by a roving magician performing mind-bending tricks and a DJ spinning ’70s funk – showing great promise for the afternoon, but the quality nosedived as festivities reached their peak.

The venue?
Six days a week Saffron tends to be lifeless and the cuisine disappointingly bland. But it explodes with boisterous activity every Friday when the clock strikes (half past) 12. It’s interesting to see how this livens up the venue, but unfortunately even the hubbub of brunching antics fails to combat the establishment’s peculiar neon lights and Formica-style surfaces. The decor was conceived by award-winning New York restaurant designer Adam Tihany, but it lacks the chic, tasteful style of its neighbours, and in our opinion, it’s Atlantis’ least appealing dining option.

What sort of crowd turn out?
Saffron’s brunch is known for being a big knees-up with a truly celebratory atmosphere. For this reason, it tends to attract diners of the ostentatious kind who are out for nothing short
of a raucous party. Those looking for a sensible sit-down brunch should head elsewhere in the hotel.

Room for improvement?
The age old adage of quality and quantity rings true here. Boasting more choice than a supermarket, it’s most certainly grandiose, but if just half the dishes were on offer, more attention could be paid to the quality of them and all could be enjoyed. In addition, due to how busy the venue gets for brunch, the tables are just that little bit too close together for comfort. And while there are scores of attentive staff scuttling around the restaurant, unfortunately most have little knowledge about the food on offer.

Standout dish?
The range of dim sum was strong – try the ha gau, which is a real treat.

In one sentence…
This is an exceedingly opulent party brunch suited to those in large groups who are out for a bash.
Dhs435 including mixed beverages. 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).

By Time Out Dubai staff

Time Out Dubai, 25 September 2012