The joy of cartoons usually comes alive at the movies, or even theme parks, but Dubai’s only brunch to be themed in its entirety around the world of animation takes place at Jumeirah Lakes Towers’ Mövenpick Hotel.
We’ve visited the Cartoon Brunch before, and decided to come back for its new edition for some selfies with Thor and the sheer pleasure of picking out cheese while a Moana cardboard cutout smiles at us from a distance. Much to our dismay, that isn’t what we find this time.
Initially, as we walk past the dessert station by the door, we’re thankful that the setup doesn’t seem to have changed much. The Minion cake still makes an appearance and everything from mango pudding to crème brûlée brownies are showcased amid LEGO bricks and huge cuddly toys.
Peter Pan is standing by the counter, and seats us by the window.
The brunch is quite full, with plenty of kids running around, and the atmosphere is lively and relaxed.
We start off with bread and cheese, both lacking flavour and freshness, and we manage to get our soft drinks around 35 minutes in, which is quite late for any brunch.
The hosts seem disinterested and not in the least bit cheerful or responsive, and they make rounds in a fairly disinterested manner – not what you’d expect on what’s supposed to be a happy Friday afternoon event.
Unimpressed parents barely scan the food stations and head back to their tables almost empty-handed.
We make our way to the extensive seafood and sushi station. While the maki rolls could have done with more variety, the sashimi is fresh, and so are the tasty raw calamari, oysters and shrimps that are piled up.
Next up are salads and mains. The latter don’t look that appealing, so we end up with a spoonful of lasagna, which is stodgy and unappetising. Surprisingly, the ready-made seafood starter cups are the only memorable part of that section.
The vine leaves look wilted and the salad bar needs more options to spice things up, to cater for vegetarians and healthy eaters. The shawarma station seems to be making fresh sandwiches, but they taste like they have simply been reheated, although the fun addition of a clothline clip to hold the edges of the thick pita together is a novel touch.
The pizza is mediocre at best, so we decide to head for the kids’ section and get some fried chicken and hot dogs, which, lucky kids, are the highlight of the meal. However, if you can’t manage to get these right, then there’s a bigger problem.
Most little ones keep busy running around, getting balloons and ice cream, and being the easily-impressed munchkins that they are, it’s just the parents that are left disappointed.
Nosh’s Cartoon Brunch is not bad value, especially as it’s free for kids under six, but there are better brunches for families out there, both for food and entertainment.
We leave in hopes of coming back one day and enjoying the Cartoon Brunch we once knew, but it needs to up its game first.
Dhs179 (soft drinks), Dhs289 (house beverages), half price (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A (04 438 0000).
WHAT IS IT...
A cartoon-themed brunch, without many cartoons
The kids will stay entertained and keep busy