Plaj brunch by Al Nafoorah at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

A full-day Lebanese brunch for families and sunseekers

Plaj brunch by Al Nafoorah at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Plaj brunch by Al Nafoorah at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Image #2
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If there's one thing that bothers us about brunches apart from the unyielding Dubai Stone, it’s that they have an unapologetic knack for zapping away weekends.

You know the routine – finish work on a Thursday, eye up that early-morning HIIT class, crumble immediately despite promises of an early night, wake up an hour after class finished, rue the dirhams fined for not even turning up, exit bed in a huff, shower, dress and zip down Sheikh Zayed Road for a brunch before it’s even noon. Four hours later, you’re heading home having eaten a week’s worth of food in one sitting, washed down with a questionable variety of drinks and bracing yourself for another night falling asleep on the sofa before sunset.

And, poof. That’s the best part of your weekend up in smoke, again.

So, it’s with big, recharged batteries that we present to you the remedy for that: Plaj beach brunch by Al Nafoorah in the beautiful Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

The pool day, beach day, daycay combination is a marathon brunch that merges all the best parts of a proper Dubai weekend into one. It runs from 10am to 7pm every Friday and provides access to the postcard-pretty infinity pool, the private beach and enough food to treble that Dubai Stone.

We arrive bright and early, jump onto the back of an electric buggy and meander our way to the open-air Plaj restaurant. We receive a warm welcome from the host, an ice-cold welcome drink from the bartender and a beach bag of goodies including fluffy towels, sun lotion and skincare spray. The feast begins at 1pm, leaving plenty of time to find a couple of sun loungers, lather on the freebies and proceed to the perfect horizontal position.

Now this is what Fridays are about. We can grab a book, work on the tan, reenergise and still do a proper brunch all in one day.

The décor is that ol’ classic “beach chic”, white wooden furniture, flecks of azure blue and a DJ spinning chilled-out chart-toppers.

When it comes to food be sure to brace and pace yourself for the feast. Plaj’s usual menu of world bites is gone, waiters bring out a bit of everything from Lebanese restaurant Al Nafoorah and we mean everything. Twelve plates of cold mezze, ten different hot mezze and 12 more mains. We don’t make it to puddings, but we’d expect the same exceptional standards and portions.

Dishes are classic Arabic favourites, elevated to a supreme standard. Cold starters include traditional dips and salads such as hummus, muhammara, fattoush and assorted cheeses, while hot dishes include kibbeh, cheese rukak, cheese-stuffed falafel and spinach fatayer. Our waiter rightly recommends not filling up on starters – not his first brunch either – to save room for mains. They’re cooked outside on a charcoal grill and include lamb chops, lamb cubes, lamb kebab and shish taouk. Completing this brunch is like stepping into the ring with a super-heavyweight boxer. We break up the rounds by hydrating with the excellent options of Lebanese hops and grape and one of the best tomato-based mixed drinks we’ve had.

And, just like any good boxing match, it’s a knockout. We find ourselves at the end of round 12, flat out on our backs with stars in our eyes having woken up on a lounger long after sunset.

We guess some things just never change, but at least we’ve had a proper weekend.
Dhs595 (soft drinks), Dhs745 (house beverages), Dhs945 (bubbly). Fri 10am-7pm. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0444).

WHAT IS IT...
A full-day Lebanese brunch for families and sunseekers

WHY GO...
When you want your Fridays to be a combination of sun, sea and sensational spreads

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