Friday Brunch at MINA Brasserie

Brunch of Mediterranean eats in DIFC

Friday Brunch at MINA Brasserie
Friday Brunch at MINA Brasserie Image #2

Loudly advertised as a party brunch, we should establish immediately that this is not what you’ll find every Friday at MINA Brasserie. Yes, there’s a DJ. But with few tables to spin for, and a relatively relaxed, grown-up vibe, this is not about to knock Candypants off its perch.

But why would you come here for that anyway?

Party brunches are rarely about the eating, and MINA Brasserie’s Friday affair absolutely is. After all, it’s certainly not about the beverages, as even in a half-empty restaurant it takes more than half an hour for the first round to arrive.

It’s not the last issue to occur with pacing and service.

But onwards to the edibles. We’ve previously raved about regular dinner service at the DIFC restaurant, so does the daytime weekend session measure up?

MINA’s brunch is served to the table from a set menu. At no point do diners make any decisions, for everything on the list is brought out.

It all kicks off with a petit fours-style amuse-bouche, featuring a quartet of tiny morsels. Seared Maldivian tuna (fine), foie gras macarons (bland), a delightfully smoky aubergine cracker and a caviar and potato pavé topped with quail egg, whose flavours hint not-at-all unenjoyably at those of a fried breakfast.

We’re still waiting for that first beverage when two plates of seafood arrive to the centre of the table, piled with king crab, oysters, poached prawns, Maine lobster and a beetroot-cured salmon tartare.

It’s all superbly fresh, and a generous serving for two – not that this halts a duel of forks for the last of the plump prawns.

It’s all (very) swiftly followed by the arrival of three full-sized mains (between two), and we’re instantly overwhelmed with food.

Grilled octopus is apparently served with tomato five ways. Despite the fact we can’t identify them, the dish is a winner, with its terrifically tender tentacles and artistic presentation.

We move straight over to the trio of Australian lamb, rapidly cooling elsewhere on the table, and sink our teeth into perfectly charred chops and rich, buttery shoulder pavé, skipping the less remarkable merguez sausage.

Finally, paella Valenciana is up, and it’s immediately clear we’ve saved the most dismal until last.

Surrounded by a mountain of rice that wouldn’t look out of place in a biryani shop, bland confit rabbit and “golden” (read, not golden) chicken are barely discernible from one another. It’s woefully undercooked, devoid of flavour and, aside from containing rice, lacks any of the hallmarks of real paella.

Nevertheless, by being the worst part of the meal, it does at least put the maddeningly inattentive service into rather warmer perspective.

After flailing our arms in the air for the umpteenth time, we’re finally presented with the bill and canter towards the exit.

We depart both stuffed and deeply unsatisfied. And not because we didn’t get to shake our thing on a dancefloor.

Brunch of Mediterranean eats in DIFC

Don’t. Whether you’re after food or a party atmosphere, there are better of both to be had

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