Walking through the hotel, past the psychedelic swirls of blue, pink, red and white that give W Dubai its striking USP, is like walking through a ’70s disco.
Inside the large dining space where this Mediterranean brunch takes place, the theme continues in the form of cooking stations outlined with neon pink lights. If the room was a little darker, and Stayin’ Alive pumping from the speakers, we’d think we were in ’70s Brooklyn stepping onto the dancefloor of Saturday Night Fever. But it’s early afternoon and extremely bright, with a soundtrack more noughties pop played live than classic Bee Gees on the soundsystem. But alas, this is a Dubai Friday brunch, after all, so we take our welcome drinks (thanks very much) and prepare for the feast ahead.
Most tables are filled, including a huge communal one seating a big group – word about the W brunch is clearly on the street.
We sit for a while. No one comes to explain the packages or take our orders, leaving us wondering what exactly the procedure is here and feeling a little anxious about whether or not to just start filling up our plates. But since no one comes, like renegades, we hit the buffet.
It all feels a little haphazard, but there is a lively buzz about the place. There’s a sense we’re dining in a chef’s kitchen, with stainless steel pots, pans, cutlery and other kitchen utensils hanging from the ceiling above where we sit and above where the chefs cook from all the open-plan kitchen stations mixed in among the buffet area.
Some dishes are served in cute, individually sized pots, frying pans and casserole dishes, giving a fun and more interesting touch to piling up your plate. There’s also a huge fridge stocked with inventive riffs on gazpacho, such as melon, beetroot and pumpkin, served in tiny glass bottles, along with other chilled delights.
But our favourite of the afternoon is the roast station – the beef so tender and perfectly cooked, with an impressive array of delicious sides including creamy spinach, roasted and mashed potatoes and roasted root veggies, plus a mushroom and a peppercorn gravy to drown it all in. Perfection.
The salad station falls flat, though, with not much else to choose from other than a few leaves, olives and chopped up prawns. It’s disappointing to say the least.
But it’s with the substantial seafood and meet dishes that this brunch excels, with fresh sea bream grilled live, and the paella being stand outs.
Do save space for dessert, for which there is a whole room to raid. From the board of multi-coloured iced doughnuts to the almost neon iced cupcakes, plus a chocolate fountain (of course), brightly coloured candyfloss and a stunning Umm Ali, it’s a sweet end to a brunch that is clearly coming into its own. Some live ’70s disco tunes would be welcome too.
The Bottom Line
A cool feast rightfully growing in popularity.
Dhs395 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (house beverages), Dhs595 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. W Dubai, Al Habtoor City (04 436 6666).