DETAILS: Dhs395 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-4pm. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay (04 414 3000)
If a laid-back, quiet Friday afternoon meal is on your agenda, look away now. But if you and your group want to dance outside to a cool soundtrack of soul, funk, hip-hop and R&B, while wearing garlands of plastic flowers and oversized plastic sunglasses, Wanderlust Brunch at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai’s Garden restaurant and Square nightclub was designed for you. It’s a culinary trip around the world culminating at a full-on party – it’s busy and it’s loud.
This Friday feast forgoes the formalities you might be used to at brunch. You’re here to party and keep yourselves entertained here. No reservation is required, you simply form an orderly queue at the desk, take the welcome sparkling grape or bottle of hops you’re handed while you wait and pay upfront when your turn arrives. There’s only one package, which includes house beverages and sparkling grape, and you’ll get a silver wristband.
From this point on, you’re pretty much left to your own devices – everything is self-service. There are ten live cooking stations and more than 360 dishes from all over the world on offer. It’s a Peruvian restaurant, but don’t expect a huge amount of dishes from the South American nation – we spotted just three on our last visit, including tiny pots of ceviche. There’s also sushi, seafood, grilled meats, a delicious roasted, shredded veal, Indian and Chinese dishes, chicken nuggets, a barbecue station and so much more. It’s eclectic, random and perfect for a massive Friday feast.
The trays you collect to fill with plates of food come with a map, which feels a little unnecessary, as while there’s a lot to this brunch, it’s all pretty easy to find within the two venues.
You’ll get to enjoy the novelty of walking through the open kitchen and pick your plates as you stand beside the chef cooking them. But the one-way walk-through system can get a little overcrowded at times, especially when brunchers wilfully disobey this unwritten rule. But it’s all part of the fun.
You’ll also have to help yourself to drinks throughout the afternoon. There are a number of stands serving a variety of beverages as well as a grape bar and a counter where coconuts are filled with Caribbean beverage.
While the party might not be in full swing by 2pm, staff are intent on getting it there, walking through the venue with trays of short beverages for guests.
If you’ve come here with the intention to party, you won’t leave disappointed. You’ll even get to carry it on in Square, which hosts the after-party where revellers with their wristbands get 20 percent off beverages from 4pm to 7pm, as DJ Soulninja spins the tunes.
Start off your weekend here if you’re celebrating something big or if you just want it to be a bit of a blast. Embrace your inner sense of adventure and see it through to the bitter end.
The Bottom Line
It’s go big or go home at this new addition to the city’s regular Friday afternoon shindigs.