In a tweet: Gastropub eats and a laidback vibe, twice every Friday. Best for families and friends.
The venue: Positioned within upmarket gated community The Lakes, Reform Social & Grill is a Marylebone-born gastropub, transported to sunny Dubai. Expect stylish, retro pub interiors, a spacious patio and large garden overlooking an artificial lake, where the kids can roam freely.
The food: The eating commences with a ‘posh ploughman’s larder’, designed for sharing and featuring nibbles such as cold cuts, pate, battered scallops and haggis fritters. Choose your main course from a selection of the ‘best of British’ – the steamed Shetland mussels in particular is a monstrously generous portion (though with no sides, it probably should be), while other options including roast chicken for two, lamb shank, fish and chips and a full English breakfast. Finally, another sharing plate arrives, featuring desserts including toffee pudding, strawberries and cream mess, and a rhubarb and custard crumble – sadly, it’s the weakest part of the event.
The drinks: Choose from grape, hops, shorts or a jug of mixed beverage (plus Italian bubbly, if you’ve opted for the top tier package), while the staff offer mixed drinks at the interval between courses.
The crowd: Reform’s posh-pub vibe, sprawling garden and kids’ play area attracts family brunchers as well as large groups of adults, couples, and just about every amalgamation of dining party you can imagine. The evening brunch slot from 6pm to 10pm is quieter than the noon to 4pm one, but at no point do things get rowdy.
The dress code: What you wear is entirely down to the occasion you’re celebrating (if any). Reform has no strict code of dress, and you’ll feel as at home in flip-flops and shorts as a shirt and trousers – we recommend a casual-chic vibe to carry you through to any post-brunch parties.
The service: Reform’s staff are unfailingly friendly and welcoming but, as ever, are spread thinly, with speed suffering as a result. When we visited, starter platters began turning up before half the table’s drinks had arrived.
Extras & entertainment: None, unfortunately.
Highs & lows: Generous mains are the high point, but service can be disappointing.
The after party: No promotions here, but as it’s open all day, you can continue your revelry without leaving your table. With the restaurant located within a quiet residential area, there are no nearby after parties you can easily head to.
Dhs260 (soft drinks), Dhs360 (house beverages), Dhs405 (Italian bubbly). Fri noon-4pm and 6pm-10pm. The Lakes Club, The Lakes, Emirates Living, www.reformsocialgrill.ae (04 454 2638).