Grand Bazaar brunch at RÜYA

A fancy-yet-fun brunch at Time Out Dubai’s Best MENA Restaurant

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If you love Anataolian food, chances are you’ll have dined at RÜYA before. The restaurant has made a huge splash since arriving on the Dubai dining scene a couple of years ago, so much so that chef Colin Clague and his team set up a (a not quite so critically warmly received) sister restaurant in London. But whether you’re a newbie to the city, or a regular at RÜYA, the Grand Bazaar brunch is must-try.

It’s a pay-at-the-door sort of gathering, which seems a little odd for such a swish restaurant, but once that’s out of the way we’re invited to have a drink at the bar before taking our seats. It’s a popular option, with large groups standing, sampling the inventive mixed drinks and chatting before heading to their tables. The has a grown-up party brunch feel (there are short measures being handed out throughout) and the vibe is upbeat with a mix of couples and larger parties.

With the terrace open for winter it’s the ideal place to while away the afternoon watching the boats in the Marina below. Party yachts departing for the afternoon, traditional dhows ambling past – it’s all serene and pretty picture-perfect (just ignore the building work going on directly opposite), making for a lazy, cool Friday afternoon.

Sometimes brunches can be a little hit-and-miss when it comes to representing the quality of food a restaurant produces. But considering RÜYA is a dual Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards winner (taking home both Fine Dining Newcomer in 2017 and Best MENA this year) we have high hopes.

And we’re not disappointed. The menu perfectly showcases the dishes, and there are plenty of them. A selection of olives and dips are brought to the table to kick us off, and we love the tangy muhammara, which we scoop up with crisp bread.

A range of sharing starters then appears, with highlights being light simit-coated squid and roasted baby beetroot with goat’s cheese. The börek – feta wrapped in filo – is also top, being a deliciously crispy and cheesy combination that’s not at all greasy.

The third round includes lahmacun (moreishly spicy lamb flatbread) and that famous two-cheese pide that the city’s foodies haven’t stopped talking about in two years. Both are as delicious as we remember – although we can’t help wondering a little sadly where the rest of the pide has gone as we look quizzically at the halved mini cheese boat on our plates.

It’s a leisurely afternoon and courses don’t all come out in a flurry, which leaves time for chilling out and chatting.

Don’t miss the marinated baby chicken with pastry-wrapped rice pilav and the grilled fillet of seabream for main courses. Both are excellent with the delicate flavours shining through. We can’t fault either of them. Desserts are decent – if you’ve room – and the rosewater rice pudding is a real highlight.

As the afternoon goes on the atmosphere picks up with people heading to the bar for more drinks and some partygoers even up and dancing by 4pm. It’s fun and it’s relaxed.

Priced at Dhs299 for soft drinks and Dhs399 for house beverages (including sparkling), it’s also excellent value for a restaurant and meal of this standard, too.

With top views, delightful décor, excellent dishes and an upbeat, trendy vibe, this brunch ticks all the boxes. If you’re looking to impress visitors at one of the city’s top restaurants, make a date for brunch at RÜYA.
Dhs299 (soft drinks), Dhs399 (house beverages), Dhs499 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).

WHAT IS IT...
A fancy-yet-fun brunch at Time Out Dubai’s Best MENA Restaurant

WHY GO...
For the top food and party vibe

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