THELA BAAR at Bar Baar

The newly-launched Friday brunch at Bar Baar

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Since Bar BAAR opened earlier this year, we’ve had nothing but good things to say about the venue.

Occupying the former spot of former Time Out Dubai award-winner The Music Room, the Indian “social gastropub”, as it’s coined itself, had some pretty big shoes to fill – and fill them it has.

Bar Baar literally translates to “again and again” and the live music, excellent happy hours and banging Indian food have kept us going back, so when the venue announced the launch of its new brunch recently, we were itching to get down there and check it out.

When we arrive the resto-bar is busy – though it seems to be full of families as oppose to a party-going crowd. A salad bar takes up the majority of the dancefloor, which puts an end to any notions of having a boogie, though we are appeased by a drum kit and microphone on the stage and the promise of some live music to get things going.

For those who haven’t yet been to Bar Baar, it’s an undoubtedly cool venue. The décor is urban, with exposed lighting and some eye-catching street art. In summary – it’s the perfect place for a Friday shindig, but sadly, it’s not to be.

The problems start before we even make it through the door when we’re told abruptly that we’re not on the list (only to be called up part way through brunch to ask where we are).

We’re somewhat reluctantly let in and seated, before being left to fend for ourselves at the buffet stations dotted around the place.

As well as the aforementioned salad bar, there’s a live chaat counter, a breakfast station (eggs and the like) and a tawa station with bhajis and fries. It’s a bit of a measly spread, and we can barely fit anything on our saucer-sized plates, leading to some slapstick-style juggling as we try to transport as many dishes as possible back to the table.

As always, the food is outstanding, and at just Dhs99 for soft drinks, it’s cracking value. The Bombay special pani puri is excellent and the bheja fry is packed full of flavour. In fact everything we try is stupendous – but that’s not where the issues lie.

After stuffing ourselves full of bite-size street-food style dishes, we’re asked what we would like to order for our mains – which is news to us, having being advised previously that the entire brunch consisted of the buffet.

The revelation that we’ve filled up before the main event is a devastating blow, and we peruse the à la carte menu in a haze of bubbling anger and absolute misery – not that we can make head nor tail of it.

Unless you’re extremely well-versed in Indian cuisine you’d do well to make sure your phone is fully charged – you’ve got a good bit of Googling ahead of you. This isn’t the standard chicken tikka masala or lamb balti – it’s authentic (and totally delicious) but chances are you won’t know what half of it is – and the waiters aren’t much help.

Perhaps most disappointingly of all, there’s no entertainment, and the drum kit sits forlornly gathering dust.

If you’re coming for the food, then you won’t be disappointed, but as a brunch experience it has a fair way to go, and until it does, we won’t be returning again... and again.
Dhs99 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (house beverages), Dhs295 (premium). Fri 1pm-4pm. Majestic City Retreat Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 501 2631).

WHAT IS IT...
The newly-launched Friday brunch at Bar Baar

WHY GO...
Excellent food for just Dhs99 per person

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