Perhaps it’s a touch of nostalgia that draws us to the Waldorf Astoria’s Secret Garden brunch, the name conjuring up images of families enjoying wholesome organic food in a lush, leafy setting – an antidote to the popular, in-your-face affairs we usually love.
This brunch has an understated glamour set within the hotel’s lawns, paired perfectly with the sound of the live resident guitarist who sets the relaxed tone.
The kids’ entertainment is pleasingly low-key, consisting of an enthusiastic clown who greets us with balloon-bending on arrival and a small, dedicated children’s zone they can dip in and out of for face painting and a spot of arts and crafts.
A delicious organic salad, hand-picked from the hotel’s secret garden, tucked away beside the terrace, is served as we’re seated, accompanied by cured meats and a tangy homemade pickle. Every taste is catered for across the buffet spread, so, whether you’re craving roast beef and Yorkshire puddings or just wish to gorge on seafood, you’ll be satisfied.
The kids go for pasta and pick their sauce ingredients (sourced mostly from the secret garden, naturally) and devour the entire range on the mocktail station. It’s a balance between quality and quantity – this isn’t an overwhelming spread, but they’ve thought of everything, presented it beautifully and we are seriously impressed.
The tiny, bite-sized mini quiches and paté pots stand out and the desserts deserve a special mention. There’s a chocolate fountain flowing with milk, dark and white chocolate and a live, bubbling churros-making station, churning out delicate curls of sugared pastry, on demand.
The bouncy castle makes a last half-hour appearance and we get to take a basil plant keepsake home with us, rounding off a truly lovely, laid-back brunch.
Dhs345 (soft drinks), Dhs425 (house beverages), 50 percent off (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Fri 1pm-4pm. Crescent Road, The Palm Jumeirah (04 818 2222).
The bottom line
The best-kept secret (brunch) is out! Book your table now.