Less a brunch, more a long lunch 23 Reviews
Hola Hola brunch
Offers Latin American favourites, including Toro Toro’s signature churrasco grill. It features great mixed drinks, and is a good way to sample some of the restaurants best dishes. Dhs300 (soft drinks), Dhs400 (selected house beverages) Timings: 12.30pm-4pm (Friday)
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A brunch review and a restaurant review are, in my opinion, two very different beasts. If anything, the former is a microcosm of the latter – a four-hour window in which a venue can showcase its food, service and drinks selection, and basically pull out every possible stop to lure customers back.
In this respect, I was interested to find out what Toro Toro had in store at its new Friday feast. The Richard Sandoval restaurant has already impressed with its oh-so-fashionable Latin American fare, not to mention giving Dubai’s preeners and pouters a place to convene. What more could it possibly offer? I was worried that it might try to broaden its appeal by offering atypical buffet stations, such as sushi and a carvery, thus diluting its distinct appeal in the process.
On arrival, this didn’t appear to be the case. There was evidence of a kids’ corner in the non-smoking section, which I suppose is a necessity for such daytime dining events, but no live cooking stations, ice sculptures or chocolate fountains in sight. Food is served in the true tradition of Brazilian churrasco-style dining: guests are issued with a special table mat – green on one side (‘keep it coming’) and red on the other (‘back off’). We were very much in a ‘green-side-up’ state of mind and were soon being lavished with guacamole and tortilla chips, tangy tuna ceviche with sweet potato and quinoa, and heirloom and tomato salad. These were washed down with wonderfully refreshing, well-made Latin American mixed drinks, before our table was further crowded with tortilla de papas, chilaquiles (tortilla chips with cheese, white onion and tomato sauce), smoked salmon flatbread embellished with horseradish and capers, and (our favourite) beef chorizo empanada.
The only downside thus far was that we were full before the main course, during which achiote chicken, lamb sausage, lamb chops and sirloin Brazilian beef were marched over to our table and served rodizio-style. The onslaught didn’t stop there – side dishes including potato tostones, yucca fries, fried rice, yet more salad and frejoles con carne (black beans, braised beef and avocado cream) arrived and we began to wish there was a buffet station that we could escape to. As it was, we were eventually overwhelmed, and with some reluctance we turned our mats red-side up.
As far as four-hour showcases go, Toro Toro couldn’t have presented itself better: the food was exquisite and the service was so polite it verged on affectionate. But a quintessential Dubai brunch Toro Toro is not – it’s more of a long, lazy and extremely luxurious lunch. It’ll be interesting to see how the efficiency of the table service fares when it gets busier (which it will), and we can only hope that the restaurant doesn’t raise its prices when it becomes more popular, as with so many other brunches in town. Yet for now, Toro Toro’s Hola Hola brunch is a treat for gourmands and gluttons alike.
Brunch served Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Dhs300 per person with soft drinks; Dhs400 with selected beverages. Grosvenor House, Tower 2, Dubai Marina (04 399 8888).
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