Ting Irie’s Family Fun’ch evokes memories of our own past – Saturday afternoons in the garden with extended family and friends, reggae music playing, jerk chicken sizzling on the barbecue, plastic cups being topped up with fruit punch, kids cackling away in their own space, adults laughing and happily catching up. The family-friendly restaurant’s brunch recreates this atmosphere brilliantly.
An area for kids features colouring books and toys and is close enough to the other tables for parents to keep a watchful eye on their little ones, but far enough away for them to chill out and chat without being disturbed.
The space is bright, the ceiling, decorated with bold green leaves, which adds to its vibrancy.
The DJ plays a reggae soundtrack featuring the likes of Burning Spear and Bob Marley, and combined with glasses of fruit punch and listening to the Jamaican accents of waiters, you’ll easily feel transported to the Caribbean island. So far, so good (or “irie”, as it were).
The menu is presented to us and at first seems like you get a lot of variety for the decent Dhs195 price tag. However, we come to learn, after a little confusion, that it’s three starters, two mains, two sides and two desserts to be ordered for the table to share, rather than per person, which could feel quite limited if you’re a large group with differing tastes. It’s good for couples or groups of three.
Nevertheless, the options all sound enticingly delicious. We go for the jerk chicken shawarma, patty crust nachos with beef and the chips o’mon sliders to start. For mains, we choose the jerk chicken and jerk beef, with sides of coleslaw and coconut rice, and we finish with French toast and festival cake. The starters rule the selection and of those, the nachos are an inventive delight – like a deconstructed beef patty with added cheese, freshness and zing thanks to chopped avocados and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime.
On our visit, the chef completely underestimates the portion sizes, but this is quickly rectified as we’re given a much larger second helping – a kink that will certainly be ironed out as the brunch develops over time.
The jerk chicken is a hit – crispy, spicy and salty all in good measure. The jerk beef, however, is a total miss, far too tough to be even remotely enjoyable, but we overlook this since the coconut rice and pepper pot soup – just thrown in – are so good.
Desserts are treat, too, a huge dollop of vanilla ice-cream complementing the sweet, warm, crunchiness of the festival cake.
Staff do still lack that level of confidence to deal with certain queries or muddled orders and they do need to be more forthcoming and clear about what’s on offer. But ultimately, this brunch will get into its stride, and when it does, every “ting” will indeed be just “irie”.
Dhs195. 1pm-4pm. Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 557 5601).
The bottom line
Feel like you’re in the Caribbean with classic flavours and great vibes.