A typical Dubai brunch is truly something to behold. Vast landscapes of global cuisine winding through multiple restaurants, entire rooms turned into huge galleries of chocolate or cheese, and the whole experience frequently coming to an end with a conga around the crêpe station.
Boca is anything but typical. In fact, it’s an award-winner, taking home the gong for Best European at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards back in February. It’s a bit of a shame, then, that brunch, termed the “weekend feast” doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the Boca experience. This brunch is indeed a feast, though, and dishes are brought to the table as a series of sharing courses.
First to arrive is a slate of rich, creamy, crumbly foie gras served with a home-made preserve and brioche. It’s swiftly followed by bite-sized cylinders of seared tuna loin, interspersed with seaweed – which turns out to be a little overpowering for the subtle fish. Next up is a squash soup. Though tasty, it’s not a small portion, and it doesn’t quite feel like brunch food.
Of the next course, the deconstructed lasagne is the winner on the table. Sheets of fresh pasta fold around blobs of creamy mascarpone, fresh peas and mint, all dressed with a touch of olive oil. It’s simple and beautiful.
A large vessel of guinea fowl and smoky, almost Tex-Mex-y beans passes without inviting more than an exploratory mouthful, and is quickly forgotten as soon as dessert is set down. This is where Boca is stashing its sense of play. Looking like a small tropical island, this is the mothership of meal endings, hosting such delicious lifeforms as soft mango ice cream, crisp-topped, coconutty crème brûlée and miniature lemon meringue tarts.
While the dessert almost justifies the price tag alone, this doesn’t feel like brunch in the classic Dubai sense. It’s not just missing the punters, but the playfulness. It is constantly evolving though, so there is a chance it will find its way soon enough.
Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (selected beverages), Dhs550 (bubbly). Fri-Sat noon-5pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 323 183304 323 1833).
Most impressive dish
A dessert that is sizeable enough to boast its own gravitational pull.