Golden rules for surviving brunch in Dubai

As the season gets back into full swing, this handy guide will ensure a good time is had by all

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Things to never do at brunch...

10 Double dip
By all means have a little taste of the sauces before you slop them on your plate. But after sticking your fork/spoon/bread/chip/crudité or whatever in and having a bite, don’t you dare go for a second scoop. You might be happy with hundreds of strangers spitting directly into your mouth, but we’d rather our dips don’t cross your lips first.

9 Go against the flow
We get it, brunch is a bit of a free-for-all and there’s no clear road map telling you which direction you can and can’t go. But there’s no need to turn this into a demolition derby. If you see a line of people flowing in one direction, don’t go to the end of the row and start moving the opposite way. There’s every chance somebody is carrying soup and they shouldn’t be jostled.

8 Go back to savoury
A certain culinary flexibility is expected at a buffet. Fourteen pieces of sushi, some carvery, Indonesian noodles and a slice of pizza on one plate? If you so wish. But once you’ve taken your meal from starters and main courses along to the desserts you really shouldn’t down spoons and return to the savoury selection. Have as many mini-trifles as you want, just don’t use them as an amuse bouche between the prawn wontons and Mongolian barbecue.

7 Over- or underdress
Nowhere else in Dubai could you expect to see people side-by-side in such a jarring fashion mix. We’ve seen women wearing full-length ballgowns elbow past girls tottering along in high heels and barely there hot pants to beat fancy dress hen parties in matching Ninja Turtles onesies to the last Yorkshire pudding. Just remember, you’ve come out to a restaurant serving unlimited food, so comfort and manoeuvrability should be considered, especially if you’re worried about people paying more attention to the shawarma station than your new couture.

6 Think you can beat the restaurant
Inexperienced buffet slayers imagine they’ll eat until the cupboards are empty. Unless you’re a professional competitive eater you will never chomp your way through the entire kitchen. We’re not quite sure why you’d want to anyway, but please stop trying to break even at brunch. Enjoy the food, but don’t make yourself ill to prove a point nobody is arguing.

5 Forget to explore
What do you mean you didn’t go to the cheese room? “I’m just gonna do a quick lap and see what there is” should be the first words out of any Dubai bruncher’s mouth the moment they arrive. Without having a comprehensive tour on arrival there’s a chance you could miss the good stuff. We once went to a brunch and didn’t know about an entire room full of Chinese gymnasts, a petting zoo and a wagyu cooking station until seeing the photos online the next day.

4 Take more than your share
Without waiters, a buffet can turn into something of a competition, but that doesn’t mean losing your mind. Having seen a brouhaha break out when one diner picked up a plate with the restaurant’s entire supply of prawns, we know brunch can turn ugly. Socialist principles rule at brunch, so be sure to share. And no matter how nice the blinis are, let everyone have a try.

3 Neglect your pacing
Don’t make brunch error number one and stock up on bread, hummus and cocktail sauce in the first ten minutes. It is not a race. In the same way you select a designated driver, let one of your party be the foodie pacesetter responsible for making sure you all get from canapés to cheese course without any dropouts along the way.

2 Use social media
Actually that’s not fair. By all means post an update and share a picture, it’s nice to know you’re enjoying yourself. But we’ve been at brunches where companions – actual human beings sitting side-by-side – have messaged each other on Facebook and tagged us in Instagram pics. If you can’t interact with the people sitting at the same table, then, frankly, you can consider yourself unfriended. We know you didn’t LOL because we’re right next to you, and if you take one more photo of the cakes, we’re taking that phone and dropping it in the chocolate fountain.

1 Make plans for dinner
After brunch, are you serious?

Will Milner is a contributing editor. He has done all of these things.

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