In a tweet: A refined brunch with a generous helping of a high-end dishes.
The venue: The elegant 1920s Brussels-inspired decor is the perfect setting for brunch. The large dining room is bright and airy, with plenty of well-spaced tables ensuring the restaurant never feels too crowded. There’s also a pleasant outdoor terrace, that despite its lack of views, has been designed to continue the restaurant’s stylish theme. An ornate bar is the centrepiece of the restaurant, and a popular place to retreat to after brunch.
The food: Prepare yourself for an onslaught of food, all served to the table. Brunch begins with a well-stocked seafood platter including half a lobster, crab, mussels, oysters, shrimps and even more shellfish nestled amid the ice. Next up is a rich selection of six starters, with small plates of dishes such as truffled egg, foie gras waffle and beef tartare. Once you’ve successfully tackled that, a wave of six mains arrives; salmon steak, seared sea bass and mini wagyu burgers all make an appearance. If you’re still hungry, there are six desserts to round off the brunch, including apple fritters, cream cakes and tarts.
The drinks: Sticking with the 1920s theme, there’s a prohibition soft drinks package, but it’s pretty basic with water, standard juices, fizzy drinks, and teas and coffees. The ‘Jazz Hands’ package features the bar's Belgian hops, plus grape and sparkling.
The crowd: This is a popular brunch with couples due to the relaxed vibe. Some larger groups attend as well, but it’s not really a rowdy one. On our visit, a couple of families were enjoying the brunch, but there’s no special menu or activities for children.
The dress code: There’s a smart casual dress code, and everyone seems to take it quite seriously. This is a pretty stylish brunch.
The service: Very slick and well informed. The staff are clearly well-versed in serving brunch, and they’re always on hand when needed. They space out the servings nicely as well, and you’re in no rush to leave at the end.
Extras & entertainment: A DJ plays contemporary jazz throughout brunch, while a saxophonist joins in at times, lifting the volume.
Highs & lows:If you’re hungry, or just generally have a large appetite, you’ll be delighted with the amount of food. The seafood platter is a light and fresh way to begin, before the heavier starters, mains and desserts arrive. There’s no doubting the quality of the food and you can reorder what you really like. However, the sheer volume of it can overwhelm those who have smaller appetites.
The after party: Recently-opened grape bar Dusty’s is just around the corner in Al Fattan Currency House. It’s the perfect place to continue the day after the refined Café Belge brunch.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, www.cafebelge.com (04 372 2323).