Latitude's Saturday family food fest, at first glance, looks a bit swish for rowdy nippers, with large glass windows and a chic modernist interior. Never fear, families are shown by the unfailingly polite staff to the far end of the restaurant, away from the serious brunchers and next to the kids’ entertainment area.
Well-staffed (we counted at least fi ve enthusiastic supervisors bending balloons, painting faces or just joking and mucking around with the young ’uns) there’s also a Play- Station for older kids and a mini buffet choc-a-bloc with the kind of munchies little people love – hot dogs, chicken nuggets, macaroni cheese and fried rice. The beauty of this buffet is that children can go backwards and forwards, and even if mum and dad are packing their plates in one of the grown-up areas located, bizarrely, across a corridor, there are plenty of staff on hand to assist if need be.
The food, while standard brunch fare, is of the top-notch quality we’ve come to expect from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Particular highlights from an adult viewpoint include the sushi and sashimi, an excellent range of veggie curries served with piping hot naan and roti, a carvery serving perfectly tender roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, extensive fresh seafood and some excellent shish tawouks. Of course the kids are welcome to dig into any of the main stations, and our brood made a bee-line for the make-your-own pizza – satisfying their appetites and getting entertained in one fell swoop.
While the stupendous central dessert section is a beacon for all (it often gets crowded out with punters of all sizes lining up at the pancake stand, choccie fountain and ice cream parlour) it’s the hilarious half-hour magic show that is the real piece de resistance for youngsters. The ‘Magic Chef’ comedy show features fruit juggling, cake-baking, bubble-blowing and plenty of audience participation. What little terror wouldn’t be pleased to see dad getting his hand chopped off in a kitchen guillotine or catapulting carrots into a blender from across the room? Follow that up with a jig to the live band and a few dancing games, and this is a brunch the whole family can enjoy.
Latitude, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 348 0000). Saturday family brunch 12.30pm-4pm. All major credit cards accepted. Dhs185 per person with selected soft drinks, Dhs340 with selected alcoholic beverages. Kids aged fi ve-12 years Dhs85, under fives free