Zabeel Saray feast has bags of potential Reviews

Meal Deal
Saturday brunch

A New Orleans-inspired jazz brunch. Dhs275 (soft drinks). Dhs395 (sparkling grape). Dhs495 (bubbly) Timings: 1pm-4pm (Saturday)

Friday brunch

The impressive Imperium interior is complemented by French brasserie-style cuisine, such as seafood, terrines and offerings from the carvery. Dhs330 (Classic brunch) per person with fresh juice and soft beverages; Dhs450 (Emperor's brunch) per person with grape and house beverages; Dhs575 (Sovereign bubbly brunch) per person with free flowing bubbly; Dhs2,500 (Royale brunch) per person with bottle of premium bubbly Timings: 1pm-4pm (Friday)

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Imperium has all the ingredients for a great brunch. For a start, the venue captures the essence of Dubai wonderfully. Huge chandeliers drip from the high-vaulted ceiling, while walls are adorned with faux-Renaissance reliefs. It’s mad and beautiful in equal measure, and the perfect setting for a Friday brunch, a pastime that is, by its very nature, excessive and over the top (not to mention a great deal of fun).

Likewise, Imperium’s à la carte brunch menu (laced with French favourites) as well as the extensive buffet options (which include a carvery, pork options, a garden’s worth of salad, indulgent desserts and a commendably varied cheese section), suggest a gut-busting Friday afternoon is in store. From the deliciously tender beef cuts (a real rarity at buffet brunches) and excellent beef Wellington (which you’d be happy to order à la carte in a restaurant) to the heartily sized oysters that make their way from table to table via trolley, the food is excellent and is all the better when lubricated by lashings of premium bubbly.

But in a city saturated with brunches, Imperium has yet to combine its ingredients into a recipe for success. My biggest gripe was the service. While it was by no means bad, it wasn’t befitting of the Dhs550 price tag (for the premium package). On arrival, our group of 10 were left waiting for 15 minutes before our drinks order was taken – surely any large group at any high-end brunch should have a waiter stationed at their table? After all, there’s a time limit to brunch and slow service should never be an issue. What’s more, I felt the venue and food deserved more ‘classic’ entertainment. The singer was certainly talented, but she did little to set herself apart from the countless live entertainers at the countless other brunches around town. Rather than croon cheesy covers to a tinny keyboard accompaniment, why not get into the spirit of the brunch with ’20s French jazz? She tried this for one fantastic song and it was the most memorable moment of her brunch-long set.

Once the meal is done, diners have the option of heading to Voda Bar next door for half-price drinks, which takes care of the post-brunch lull. Indeed, there are many good, if not great things to say about this brunch, but for the time being, service needs to be fine-tuned and entertainment tweaked to enhance the heady extravagance of the venue and its offerings. Only then can Imperium’s brunch contend with the best of the rest.

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 453 0444
  • Travel: The Crescent (West), Palm Jumeirah
  • Website | Send mail

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Imperium On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Brunch served

User reviews:

Posted by: Julie on 13 Apr ' 13 at 05:03
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

One of the few brunches in town that serves REAL champagne! Very good quality of beverages and food.

Posted by: sawsan on 13 Apr ' 12 at 09:21

i planned my husband birthday dinner there. I have to say that it was a a great experience. The restaurant manager , Mr. Rochdi Mokatel, is an amazing gentleman. He helped alot and made everything go very smoothly. The food was amazing & the service was excellent. Its the best place for private events

Posted by: Mg Santiago on 20 Oct ' 11 at 12:48
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

For our starter, we had the pumpkin soup which was velvety smooth and perfectly seasoned (but could have been better if hotter) and some carved smoked duck that is well cooked and tender. A plus point is the freshly baked bread served upon our arrival that complimented our starter well.

We then chose our main course from the a la carte menu and decided to go for the restaurant manager’s recommendation of Beef Bourguignon for my significant other and Sea Bream cooked in lemon butter sauce for myself which were served the typical French way – in warmed pots. Though we find the Bourguignon a little salty, it was beautifully cooked, flavorsome and was served piping hot. This was accompanied by a heavily creamed mashed potato and though too rich for our taste, it eased a bit of the saltiness of the beef. The two small sliver of fried sea bream fillet lay on top of the potatoes, fennel, asparagus and lemon butter sauce was slightly cold and dry. The potatoes were under cooked although we were told that this is how it should be and the lemon butter sauce could do a bit more lemon juice into it. This, unfortunately, was a letdown.

To conclude our meal, we made our way to the dessert buffet that has selection of fresh fruit salad, green tea and chocolate cake, bread and butter pudding with pistachio (that looked more like Arabic Om-ali) and Espresso mousse cake to name a few though the banana and strawberry crumble won us over. It was a good mix and both fruits stood out but it would have been better if it was served with custard or an ice cream as it was a bit dry.

In general, the food is average and the selection of beverages is very good. To give credit where it is due our friendly server, Jehnas and chirpy restaurant manager, Roschdi who genuinely seems to care about the wellbeing of guests. However, we couldn’t quite shake the feeling of all the confusion that left us uncomfortable which was not conducive to a relaxed dining experience and the level of service expected from a Jumeirah Hotel was, on this occasion was lacking its usual high standards.

Posted by: Jigga N on 30 May ' 11 at 08:05

Very good quality and affordable buffet compared to other 5 star hotel buffets. Fixed price at 135/175 for both lunch and dinner...Very good selection of salads and desserts for those who prefer to eat those rather than main entrees at buffets. I would definitely go back

Posted by: Alex on 28 May ' 11 at 19:43

very good french food especially the Bourgignon, to be tasted!

Posted by: Jason on 19 May ' 11 at 13:17

The restaurant brands itself as French & International cuisine serving both buffet and main courses.

There was 8 of us that went for dinner and one had nothing good to say about the place apart from the decoration. The buffet mostly consists of salads, broccoli with crème, baked potatoes, few sushi’s and sweets. A very poor selection indeed for AED 135. If you pick a main course along with the buffet then that will set you at AED 175.

For drinks we ordered still water. For 8 people a bottle is not enough so they poured equally a very little amount for all then the person walks away without asking if we need more drinks which he had to call back and order another bottle along with 2 soft drinks and 2 glasses of vine. Comes the servant with 3 soft drinks and we mention 2 are enough then the servant leaves and comes another and insists you asked for 3 while completely forgetting they have to bring the 2 glasses of vine which took us calling 3 different servants to get it done in about 10 minutes while the place wasn’t even 15% full.

The menus were left on table while food was being eaten. The plates were needed to be asked to be removed when it was even completely empty. Staff communication was very poor and some seemed very moody. To make the night better noticed a hotel guest standing at the buffet and eating sushi directly with his chop sticks from the serving plates while the staff just looked at him when we complained.

Would I go back or recommend the restaurant ? No

Anything nice to say about the restaurant? Yes, only the decoration looked great.

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