Qbara Friday brunch

An innovative collection of Middle Eastern delights, served in Wafi’s stunning venue


The venue: Qbara is a beautiful-looking venue, grand in proportions, glamorous in ambience and flooded with intriguing and original design detail, from the mural of Middle Eastern carpets to the light show moving wall.

The food: For brunch, Qbara serves up a signature selection, brought straight to the table. This includes a set list of starters, and an à la carte choice of one main course and one dessert per diner. Pace yourself, those plates may look small, but the quantity of food is generous, and seemingly never ending. The recipes served are sophisticated re-interpretations of Arabic flavours. Highlights include crudo of yellow tail with coriander seed and Persian lime, fried calamari, compressed watermelon salad with shanklish and heirloom tomatoes, spicy lamb cutlets with minted labneh, and ‘smash’ baklava shards with camel milk ice cream.

The drinks: The selection spans bubbly, grape, mocktails and mixed drinks. Unfortunately, considering Qbara’s mixed beverages are quite a draw in themselves, at the brunch there is only a choice of four, some of which are something of an acquired taste.

The crowd: Most tables at Qbara’s brunch are occupied by large groups, and there is a (civilised) sense of occasion and celebration as a result. While not a typically child-friendly venue, we noticed a few tables with young children at them.

The dress code: No official dress code is described when booking, but Qbara is a glamorous and elegant venue, and a similar style of dress is fitting.

The service: The pressure of serving brunch within a set time was evident and as a result, service isn’t as slick as we have previously experienced during dinner service. Servers were over eager to take plates from the table, and generally hurry the process along.

Highs & lows: The food served is both a talking point and very enjoyable, making it absolutely the high point of brunch here. However, as so much of it is served, it is tough to take your time and enjoy it, with the barrage of anxiety from servers, clearly trying to keep service at a sprinting pace.

Extras & entertainment: Entertainment includes live performances from an electric string duo, and a magician who does the rounds of each table.

The after party: Nothing much else going on around Qbara, but you’re not too far from DIFC if you want to continue on.

Best for: a chilled-out brunch

Dhs350 (soft drinks), Dhs490 (house beverages), Dhs590 (bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm.
A la carte, live music / entertainment

(last orders 3.45pm). Wafi, opposite Raffles Hotel, reservations@qbara.aewww.qbara.ae (04 709 2500).

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