What’s on offer?
The overall tone is traditional and European. There’s a particular focus on French brasserie-style cooking, with a few English classics such as beef Wellington (how ironic), added to the mix. There is a decent but not overwhelming variety of buffet stations to delve into, offering hot and eggy breakfast items, terrines, quiches, salads, charcuterie, seafood and roast meats. Also available is a limited (and slightly patchy) à la carte menu of main courses.
The setting for Imperium is certainly the trump card at this brunch; it’s as imposing as the name, and certainly the aspect most likely to impress visitors. Less a restaurant than a grandiose banqueting hall, it is embellished with elaborate plaster work, grand columns and gilt, making it just about worthy of Versaille. Also adding to the ambience is the live music from a jazz duo who play at the front of the venue.
What sort of crowd turn out?
While Imperium is generally busy, it’s a mixed group taking up the tables, from families, and older brunchers to tourist groups, charmed by the bling. Dubai evidently deems it worthy of a birthday celebration or two, but it’s a space suited to a special occasion, not a party.
Room for improvement?
Imposing as this venue is, the food is not quite as impressive. The variety is good, but the dishes themselves could do with being refined, and more thought needs to go into how
it's all displayed.
The French flair becomes most effective at the dessert station, where the influence of Gallic patisserie shines. The buffet selection includes traditional favourites such as bite-sized pieces of tarte tartin, macaroons, floating islands, crème caramel and mini squares of opera cake.
In one sentence…
It's a grandiose and formal setting, but the food can’t quite live up to the grandeur.
Dhs275 including soft drinks, Dhs395 including selected house beverages, Dhs550 with bubbly. 1pm-4pm. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0444).