In a tweet: The Black Lion gastropub serves up fun tunes and a party atmosphere. Best for a party.
The venue: A stylish gastropub in The H Dubai, The Black Lion is one of the better new venues on the scene. There is plenty of space for big parties, and tables for couples and smaller groups.
The food: Courses are served à la carte, with a set menu of starters shared before you choose one main course from a menu of about eight dishes. Desserts are also served to share. The dishes are not subtle, with the starters including an incredibly punchy spicy fried chicken and nachos covered in cheesy sauce, tomato salsa and guacamole. We also found the mains to be hit and miss; the corn beef hash (with two fried eggs) was tasty but heavy, while rump steak with fries was cooked exactly how we asked but a little tough. It’s a new brunch, so we’re sure it will be tweaked as the weeks go by. Desserts are good, especially the deep apple pie, though some cream would have perfected it.
The drinks: In a word, plentiful. Buckets of hops and carafes of grape are available, while staff bring around fruity shorts throughout the meal. Big bowls of mixed beverages also turn up at the table. These touches make it clear that the focus is on fun more than food.
The crowd: Groups of friends and couples who want a more stylish place for Friday brunch. This is probably one more suited to people in their late 20s and early 30s who like a laugh, rather than youngsters out for a wild afternoon.
The dress code: This is a stylish venue so you’d look out of place if you were too casual. Some people are dressed to impress, but the brunch’s collection of party hats and other props soon make their way on to people’s outfits.
The service: Enthusiastic if not always very clear. Maybe as the weeks go by the selection of drinks that are available will become clearer and the staff’s knowledge of the menu and the brunch format will improve.
Extras & entertainment: The clue is in the name – guilty pleasures refers to the music. A DJ plays fun tunes from the ’80s and ’90s that some of us will enjoy without feeling too guilty. For us, this was the highlight of the brunch. The props for people to pose for photographs with also seem popular.
Highs & lows: The music and atmosphere really made the brunch for us. However, the food, while perfectly fine, was slightly disappointing given the venue’s gastropub status.
The after party: Across the lobby is One On One Bar, where you’ll find a happy hour.
Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages and sparkling). Discount of Dhs50 for dressing as a movie character. Fri 1pm-5pm & 6pm-10pm. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 359 2366).