Spice Island brunch

Something for everyone, including Indian, Mexican, sushi and seafood

What’s on offer?
Expect Indian, Mexican, sushi and seafood (lobster and king prawns are cooked to order) at this budget brunch, along with an abundance of fresh salads and desserts. There is plenty of choice – more than can realistically be sampled during one visit – and it makes for a real feast for the eyes. The sushi is a delight and the freshly prepared breads a real treat. However, the hot dishes seemed to follow a disappointing theme of tasting over spiced and over salted, or under spiced and bland. The tandoori chicken has an authentic charcoal taste, but it's too heavily stacked with spice to thoroughly enjoy. And the same goes for the butter chicken unfortunately. The freshly cooked lobster and prawn medley is pleasantly soft, but the mix of flavours it's cooked in – butter, lemon and garlic – escapes the fish, which remains tasteless and under seasoned as a result.

The venue?
The rustic wood, brown and red decor, complete with canes, bamboo and sudden bursts of colour, gives this restaurant Eastern character and charm. While the size and bright lights keep it feeling airy, despite the colour scheme. It also means you're less likely to knock over or step on roaming rug rats, who, despite having their own large dining room and play area, complete with in-house entertainment, tend to spill out into the walkways. There are food stations aplenty and the layout is easy to navigate.

What sort of crowd turn out?
Expats had gathered to celebrate here – there were three birthday parties taking place when we visited. Staff present cakes while singing happy birthday to celebrating guests, and you can expect nearby tables to join in. This livens up the venue, so it’s a good brunch for big groups. Families also get together here for an adult brunch, leaving the little ones to their own corner.

Room for improvement?
The theme is abundance rather than taste, which is a real shame. It’s not terrible, but for a restaurant with a name that would suggest it’s focused on flavour, the cuisine – especially the Indian – is lacklustre.

Standout dish?
Fill up on the oriental dishes and sushi, both of which are done well here.

In one sentence…
It’s a value-for-money buffet that offers an interesting variety of dishes, but not the best variety of taste.
Dhs179 including soft drinks, Dhs239 including selected house beverages, Dhs299 including selected premium beverages, Dhs69 (children aged six-12); free (children under six). Noon-4pm. Crowne Plaza, Deira (04 262 5555).

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