La Famillia Brunch at Playa Nomade

A rather vague brunch near the beach, serving up neither theme, menu or consistency

La Famillia Brunch at Playa Nomade

when is brunch not brunch? Possibly when there’s no menu. Or people. Or when it’s at Playa Nomade which, when we arrive late for the Saturday afternoon session, boasts neither.

Food is served in the restaurant, but brunch-goers now also get free access to the beach and pool as part of the package.  A couple of hours in, more guests arrive in the dining area, if not all for brunch – which could well be for the best, given that this is possibly the unbrunchiest of all the brunches in the land.

It all begins rather unreassuringly with a vague overview from the waiter on packages and what kind of food we can expect to be brought forth. This is, verbatim, salads for starters, then some roast chicken, salmon and asparagus pasta for mains, followed by a chocolate brownie for dessert.

So far, so uninspiring.

But the kicker comes when it’s revealed that hops aren’t included in the house beverage package, only in the premium drinks package – and then the bar runs out of diet soft drinks one can in.

Salads arrive, and they are indeed salady. They’re also all in some way related (suddenly the brunch’s moniker makes sense) and not just thanks to the heavy-handed use of oil. A bowl of mixed leaves and avocado, chopped tuna tartare topped with avocado, chopped salmon tartare topped with quinoa, a quinoa salad... Clearly, at Playa, it’s familiality, not variety, that is the spice of life.

It’s with low expectations we eyeball mains, but lo – stodgy, sickly tagliatelle aside – we’re astonished by the cooking.

Served atop beautifully rendered peppers, the roast chicken is superbly seasoned and tenderer than Gaga and Cooper’s Oscars performance of Shallow (though, mercifully, nowhere near as saccharine).

Just as impressive is the fillet of salmon, crispy around the edges and a deep, satisfying pink in the centre, served with a tangy splodge of ratatouille-style peppers (hang on a minute...).

To say the brunch experience at Playa Nomade is inconsistent would be an understatement.

To say the food is terrible would be extreme.

But to say this brunch is worth either your time or money would, as things stand, be flat-out absurd.

WHAT IS IT...
A rather vague brunch near the beach, serving up neither theme, menu or consistency

WHY GO...
To get a tan – get a beach pass instead, they’re Dhs250 every day and you get the value back in credit to use against regular food and drinks

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