Our first glimpse of Picnic Pantry is reminiscent of Little Foot and Co discovering the Great Valley. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, imagine gleaming sunlight breaking through dark clouds to reveal lush green vegetation.
Situated in the gardens of the Crowne Plaza Festival City, the brunch overlooks Dubai Creek, and is laid out like a picnic.There are huge cushions and beanbags surrounding low tables, and a bench area if you’re not one for lazing on the grass.
We are provided with a picnic basket, to fill to our heart’s content with all manner of goodies. Cute jars of green bean and potato salad sit next to homemade hummus and dips, fresh juices and even sushi platters. And then there are the desserts. Cakes, pies and tarts distract us from our five-a-day foraging, but this is brunch, after all.
The kids are in their absolute element here – and there are loads of them. The Kids’ Zone has a games booth, a soft play area, a face painting zone, a workshop area, a soccer table and a Jenga corner. And when they aren’t tearing around from station to station, they’re dancing to the live music – a lone bloke with a guitar whose set list involves feel-good classics like Stand By Me.
Other food stations include a barbecue, featuring huge, juicy prawns (our favourite), salmon fillets, lamb kofta, chicken, corn-on-the-cob and hot potatoes. There is also a smoked beef station, a sweets and ice cream stand, and a bar offering mixed drinks. The food is fresh and neverending, and we can’t help but go back for more.
There’s also pool access if you fancy a dip and plenty of shaded areas for the little ones to cool off. The vibe feels almost like a kids’ party, but without the questionable clown. We love it, and judging by the smiles all around, so does everyone else.
Dhs245 (soft drinks), Dhs345 (house beverages), free (kids under 12). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Crowne Plaza, Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
The bottom line
Massively family-friendly with good food and a great, fun atmosphere.