Family brunches in Dubai
Time Out Dubai is the guide to the best brunch in Dubai. Here we profile the pick of family brunches in Dubai. Get reviews, contact details and more
Fancy going to brunch but in need of a place keen to keep the kids occupied? We’ve got plenty of ideas. Here we list venues that go all out to entertain children for a few hours at the weekend with activities including face painting, games, magic shows, theatre and of course food for small hands. Meanwhile adults in the party get to enjoy fabulous food and drink without too much fuss from little ones.
A bona fide family-friendly Dubai institution, Reform Social & Grill is that rare thing – a community pub.
Set in The Lakes, Reform is perfect for a weekend meal with a few drinks – mum and dad can chill out in the garden and let the little ones go wild in the small playground, as well as the makeshift football pitch that goes along with it.
During the week this place also gets rammed with people popping in for a pint and bite to eat on the way home after work. And those bites are very good, by the way, hence the award.
Pâtés, steak tartare and salads pepper the starters – and the pear and Stilton tart is a corker, too. Meanwhile there are four packed sharing platters to choose from, top grills good salads. A special shout out to the burgers as well. Juicy and fat. Just as they should be.
Weekends also mean special roast dinners, see right, with options including chicken and beef – as you’d expect. There’s also a properly authentic bangers and mash on the menu, too, and that will keep you coming back for more, as all the dishes here do.
There are good brekkies at this place, too. This is a real top choice for grub that we wholeheartedly recommend.
After nine years, Palm restaurant Ronda Locatelli (of celebrity chef, Giorgio Locatelli fame) is one of the longest-running Italians on the city’s dining scene. It still remains fairly popular too, mostly thanks to families and holidaymakers to Atlantis The Palm.
In comparison to other eateries in its category this Italian doesn’t wow. But dishes are mostly well-flavoured and nicely presented.
We opt for delicate salt and pepper-battered prawns to start. Perfectly paired with a lemon mayo, they’re a highlight. We’re also left wanting more of the carpaccio di manzo with peppery rocket leaves and cubes of sharp beetroot, too.
An unusual pairing of rich duck ragu with spinach linguine for our main course starts off well, but becomes little monotonous halfway through and is left unfinished.
A margherita pizza meanwhile is excellent (as it should be), with fresh, plump dough.
Ronda Locatelli may not be the finest (and certainly not the cheapest) Italian you’ll find in the city, but for family-friendly dining on the Palm, you could do worse.
The bottom line
An oldie, and a relative goodie.
Why we like it:
• Service is second to none
• Spending a day at the pool is a real pleasure
• The places to eat are very special
Location: Most Dubaians know Raffles and the Wafi complex well, it has long been on the map in Oud Metha. It has good metro links, if, like us, you don’t mind using public transport, and is so much of a landmark that you can’t miss it. It’s a pyramid with an illuminated peak after all.
Character: Wafi is an Egyptian-themed part of town, and the hotel, as we’ve said above is in the shape of a pyramid. There’s Asian style and Egyptian influence inside too – when we stepped inside we were wowed by the grandeur of the lobby. The pool area and gardens are a real surprise when you find them too – there’s no hint at such beauty and size when you’re on the street below. This is a hotel of real warmth and character – in the rooms, the public areas and in the staff.
Service: The staff at Raffles are extremely warm and friendly. They seem genuinely interested in the wellbeing of every guest and make a huge effort to make sure each stay is personalised. There is no difference in attitude between any member of staff – perhaps the best service we’ve experienced in the region.
Rooms: Just like with the initial impression of the hotel, the rooms at Raffles are warm and welcoming. At first glance they might seem a little out of time, but that’s surely on purpose. They have a real sense of history, right down to the Egyptian art. Don’t be fooled though, the rooms have as many modern twists as its newer rivals. Balconies are huge with comfortable loungers and are a perfect place to relax and gaze over the Dubai skyline. The bathrooms are big and luxurious, with the sunken bathtub particularly impressive. There’s also Wi-Fi, excellent entertainment facilities and everything is controlled by an iPad.
Restaurants & bars: Let’s start at the top with People by Crystal, which occupies the top two floors. The Time Out award-winning club has 360-degree views of Dubai and is one of the places to be seen in the city. Underneath the club is Tomo, a fantastic Japanese restaurant with a stunning terrace for dining and a separate one for its bar. Also in the hotel is Solo Bistronomia & Bar, which won Best Newcomer at the Time Out Dubai 2015 Restaurant Awards. All-day dining restaurant Azur is the place for breakfast, with a good array of Arabic dishes as well as European food. There’s also a brunch at Azur and an innovative afternoon tea at Raffles Salon in the lobby. Drinks are available by the pool, which has a swim-up bar (and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a swim-up bar?), and in Crossroads, which has a terrace overlooking the impressive garden and is one of Dubai nightlife’s best-kept secrets.
Facilities: A butler service is available, there’s a library and there are activities for kids. These are just three of the many things on offer. The hotel’s spa, with separate male and female areas and salons, is a real sanctuary. Treatments include a gold facial and other extravagant treatments and rituals, but we chose a simple, but very effective, aromatherapy massage. The gym is well-appointed and has a trainer on hand should you need any help or pointers.
Activities: There are the award-winning restaurants and bars sure, and the excellent pool, but perhaps the coolest thing of all is the Raffles Cinema. You can pick a movie for you, your family and friends, or just for the kids, in the nine-seat screen in the hotel.
For this opulent brunch the hotel’s three restaurants ¬– AlHambra, Arboretum, MJ's Steakhouse – come together to put on an extravagant Friday lunchtime affair. With live cooking stations aplenty and numerous beverage stations lining the walk ways between venues, this brunch is more a feast for the eyes. Expats come to celebrate an occasion and visitors take in the pure luxury that Dubai, Al Qasar and the Madinat Jumeirah have to offer. MJ’s is a pleasant venue to experience the afternoon from if you’re in a small group, while the main dining area on the ground floor is perfect for large, celebrating groups.
Dhs475 per person (with soft drinks), Dhs575 (with bubbly), Dhs795 (with premium bubbly), Dhs250 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Fri 12.30-4pm.
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