DETAILS: Dhs149 (soft drinks), Dhs249 (house beverages), Dhs79 (kids aged five-11), free for under fives. Friday 12.30pm-4pm. Radissson Blu Media City (04 366 9131).
Every now and then we want a big blowout brunch, with a party atmosphere, loud music and lots of fun. We tend to save those experiences for special occasions rather than on a weekly basis, and the rest of the time, we like brunches to be a more relaxed outing.
We realise that probably makes us sound a bit old and boring, and maybe we are, but often, you just want good music and a catch-up with friends over a few beverages and nice food. If that also sounds like you, then head over to the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City.
The Frunch spans the hotel’s Italian restaurant Certo and the two floors of Icon Bar & Lounge. There are even some stations in the lobby.
Certo is an oft-overlooked Italian restaurant, which could be due to its location – busy during weekdays, but less so at night or come the weekend. But the food on offer is really good and following a recent revamp, the dining room looks smarter than ever.
For brunch, an antipasti table is set up as you enter. It has a good selection of cheeses, cold cuts, salads and breads – we make a few return visits.
There’s also a hot buffet that offers dishes such as parmigiana and some meats. We don’t really explore those buffet trays, though, as the pizzas, made fresh to order, keep us more than happy. Be sure to nab a waiter and ask one (or two) to be brought the table. The beef salami pizza is especially good, with its excellent thin crust and a cracking tomato base.
In the lobby is an ice cream cart, dessert table, hot Spanish tapas station and some cured fish. It’s all good quality and the octopus salad alone is worth the walk over to it. The meatballs in tomato sauce are also good. They have bite, plenty of flavour and the sauce is punchy.
Downstairs in Icon Lounge are oysters and more cured meats, as well as a pour-yourself grape station. It’s quieter than Certo, but if oysters are your thing this might be the spot for you.
Upstairs in the bar, you’ll find a selection of British classics, served buffet-style. You’ll probably only want to sit in here if you’re a smoker, but we recommend a visit for the grub. The Yorkshire puddings are top and the slow-cooked beef is a hit, too. And taking a plate of food downstairs in a lift is an experience we enjoy hugely.
Throughout it all, laid-back, funky tunes are provided by a DJ in Certo. The music is just at the right level so you can converse with your friends. If you want to hang around later, it gets a bit more lively and loud upstairs in Icon.
Staff are on the ball and despite their readiness with drinks, the atmosphere remains convivial without getting rowdy. Just the way we like it. Sometimes.
The Bottom Line
For a fun, grown-up and unpretentious afternoon with friends, this is a great choice.