Saturday Braai Brunch at Joe’s Backyard

Saturday brunch at Dubai Festival City’s barbecue hangout

Saturday Braai Brunch at Joe’s Backyard
Saturday Braai Brunch at Joe’s Backyard Image #2

Claiming to be “your barbecue hangout”, you’d expect Joe’s Backyard’s new Saturday Braai brunch menu to be brimming with all types of grilled meats. But disappointingly, the meaty menu is surprisingly sparse.

You can almost forgive this though, thanks to its prime views of Dubai’s skyline from its rooftop setting, the selection of drinks and buzzing vibes.

Set on the 19th floor of the Holiday Inn, Dubai Festival City, the restaurant and bar is a delight to walk into – trendy, modern décor, thumping background grooves and a spacious, welcoming al fresco terrace that’s perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon brunching.

And brunchgoers are making good use of it, lounging on comfy corner couches or standing around the crowded bar stools.

Traditionally a South African-style barbecue, we’re ready for the braai and are thrilled to see the open grill, already giving off deliciously smoky aromas.

Starters are underwhelming – meatballs dosed in monkey gland sauce (a spicy sauce, not involving monkeys), along with some peri-peri prawns. There’s also a miserable-looking braai broodjie (a type of grilled sandwich) – which is lukewarm and barely charred. The pap (a kind of South Africa porridge) topped with saucy beans is an unexpected treat, but again would be better warmer.

But we’re here for the meat, after all, which so far has not been that forthcoming.

However, mains arrive with three different meats kept hot on a black sizzler tray. And Joe’s does a good job of the cuts it offers, for a decently-priced all-in brunch for Dhs250.

The neatly sliced pieces of hanger steak are flavoursome and tender, while the peri-peri grilled chicken has a wonderfully smoky taste (although we would like it a bit more punchy spice-wise).

Meanwhile the South African boerewors (sausages) are bite-sized and juicy.

Topping it all off is seafood potije (a sort of fish stew). Again, the portion isn’t massive but you can ask for more (and we’d recommend you do, it’s ace).

Don’t worry about saving room for pud, as “Joe’s Sweets” aren’t going to overwhelm you, being a small sponge cake sloppily topped with cream. It’s a disappointment for dessert fans.

But if the food doesn’t do it for you, the music certainly will, with a playlist of new beats and nostalgic songs.

We wouldn’t call it a traditional braai, and some dishes are a bit hit and miss, but if you’re a carnivore looking for a chilled out al fresco Saturday afternoon then at Dhs250 for brunch, it’s not a bad shout.
Dhs250. Every Sat, 1pm-4pm. Holiday Inn Festival Dubai Festival City, Dubai Festival City (055 709 4509).

Saturday brunch at Dubai Festival City’s barbecue hangout

Stunning al fresco views of Dubai’s skyline

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