Wanderlust at Garden

A party brunch that lives up to its reputation

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As far as party brunches go Wanderlust is one of the big ones on the Dubai party scene, and it’s still so popular two years after opening that it takes us a couple of attempts to get into the Friday soirée.

We say soirée – but what we actually mean is massive shindig. If you’re after a low-key Friday afternoon then look away now – and run for the hills.

The sprawling venue, across Garden restaurant at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, is routinely packed to the rafters and the fun-loving crowd are ready to party.

Picking up a Highly Commended Best Party Brunch title at March’s Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards, we’re hopeful that the brunch is as good as ever, and in many ways we’re absolutely thrilled.

Glammed-up brunchgoers sashay around the huge buffet, piling plates high with sushi, seafood, curries, noodles and more. There’s a massive spread at this brunch, and considering it’s known for a party, the food is spot on.

At every turn you’ll find a different cuisine. As well as the aforementioned sushi and seafood (which is deliciously fresh and flavourful), there’s a roast station where you can get your mitts on a Yorkshire pudding that’s as good as any you’ve had before.

The Italian station is a highlight, with some top fresh pasta as well as tasty arancini. Worthy of a special mention is a giant brie baked in a bread house, providing an outstanding cheesy carb feast.

The grill section serves up some pretty standard cuts that are way above par for your buffet brunch and we are also big fans of the curry section.

The venue itself is cool, too. The main dining area is set around a water feature dotted with potted plants, and light streams in from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Low-hanging filament lights and street art on exposed brickwork add a bit of an edge, and there’s an outside seating area for the cooler months, which is lovely.

There’s also a bar and plenty of drinks stations where you can help yourself. Here crowds of people linger around making for a fun, upbeat vibe and we’re happy to mingle and make new friends.

Once you’ve had your fill of the savoury dishes, it’s time to consider dessert. The room housing puddings is a cavernous space occupied by cakes, ice creams, fruit platters and enough chocolate mousse to satisfy even the maddest of cocoa fiends.

Let greed take over and pile your plates high with all the sugars (we’re not here to judge) before you continue the lively party.

However, just as cheery partygoers are getting in full swing, 4pm rolls around and the brunch ends abruptly. There are no pleasantries as the crowd is shuffled into the after-party, which is where things take a downturn. The venue is dark, with a poky dancefloor, and feels a bit of a letdown.

It’s a shame, but like the cheesy discos of our misspent youth, all good things must come to an end, and Wanderlust really is very good indeed.
Dhs425 (house beverages). Friday 1pm-4pm. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).

The bottom line
The brunch is top but avoid the after-party.

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