Alternative brunchesCultural BrunchA good alternative brunch for the culturally curious and first-time visitors to DubaiThe venue:
The cultural brunch experience offered by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) takes place in a renovated 'wind tower' house in Dubai's historic Al Fahidi district. Brunch guests can take a seat on one of the woven cushions around the food displayed in the centre, in a traditional majlis set up, inside a covered courtyard.The food:
The brunch menu is laid out in the centre of the majlis for guests to help themselves. The dishes are typically Emirati, and come with plenty of explanation and interesting anecdotes. A typical menu includes dango chickpeas, chicken machboos, sweet vermicelli noodles with scrambled eggs, khameer bread with soft cheese and date syrup, and luqaimat donut balls. The selection is modest, but there is plenty of each variety of dish, and guests are encouraged not to stand on ceremony, but to get stuck in and have as much as they wish.The drinks:
Traditional Arabic coffee, infused with cardamom and saffron, is served before the meal (alongside a date), and tea is served at the end. Water is also freely available throughout the meal.The atmosphere and crowd:
The majority of brunch goers are tourists, with several families coming to the event.The entertainment:
Here, entertainment comes in the form of 'edu-tainment', with the hosts offering an insight into their culture through stories and discussion. During a group Q&A with Emirati volunteers, brunchers are invited to chat openly with native Dubaians about their culture, history and religion, encouraged to ask anything they are dying to know the answer to.Highs and lows:
The focus and highlight of this brunch is the lesson in Emirati culture and traditional bedouin customs. Sampling real Emirati food is also a rare treat. We particularly like the sweet, chewy luqaimat donuts and light, aromatic coffee, although some dishes are an acquired taste and may not be enjoyed by all. Dhs80. Sat 10.30am-noon. Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, House 26, Al Mussallah Road, Al Fahidi, www.cultures.ae (04 353 6666).