Yalumba is something of an institution on Dubai’s Friday brunch scene. For years it was the place to be if you were looking for a belt-busting buffet, a colossal range of beverages and a pumping party atmosphere to boot.
But many more brunches – more trendy, more affordable – have come along since the Garhoud staple’s heydey, so we’re interested to see if it’s as good as it once was.
The first signs are undoubtedly positive. Every table is garishly garnished with party hats, horns and Hawaiian-style garlands to help you get into the mood. So far, so good.
There’s a full wall lined with miniature jelly drinks, as well as bowls of fruity mixed drinks. The variety is impressive.
And the buffet is even better. If a picture paints a thousand words, this spread paints a million – it’s hard to fathom quite how much grub is on offer here. Not in the way that will see you traipsing around the room overwhelmed, but more than enough for it to be impossible to try everything.
Whether it’s the delicately laid platters of sushi, the shelves of cheese or the enormous roast station, even the fussiest of eaters are spoilt for choice.
As well as the buffet, there are ten à la carte options, ranging from a fancy foie gras terrine with beetroot glaze and poached pears to a classic full English fry-up.
The mains and fresh seafood at this brunch are a treat, too.
The 12.30pm kick-off implores you to try the breakfasty options, of which the eggs royale is a good start. It’s served quickly and is perfectly seasoned – you won’t find any bland Hollandaise here.
And the spongey bread is the perfect amuse bouche for what comes next – a rack of short beverages in test tubes held by a waiter dressed as a scientist (the “ology” bit, we presume).
These are quickly followed by a round of jelly beverages as well as watermelons filled with mixed drinks.
However, Brunchology’s highlight is without a doubt the well-stocked dessert table.
And we’re told that everything on this wondrous display is edible – Willy Wonka-style.
The rocks are made from sugary tablet, small trees are sculpted from chocolate and sit in a “muddy” bed of custard and crumbled biscuit. All that’s missing is a chocolate river (which is probably no bad thing, we all know how that turned out).
By halfway through the brunch, the party is in full swing. It’s not a young crowd, but brunchers aren’t shy about hitting the dancefloor, making for a fun vibe.
Service stops promptly, but an after-party runs until 7pm if you’re enjoying yourself too much to leave, which you may well be. It might not be the trendiest brunch in town anymore, but the food and vibe still make for a top afternoon.
Dhs389 (sparkling), Dhs529 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud
(04 702 2455).
The bottom line
An oldie, yet still a goodie.