DETAILS: Dhs310 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages), Dhs140 (kids aged six to 12), free (under fives). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Pearl Jumeira (04 376 6000).
Nikki Beach’s “Saint Tropez” brunch is not mislabelled – the South of France vibe is strong at this seafront offering.
With its white cushions, French grape and wooden poolside decking, the place definitely has an air of Riviera sophistication.
Don’t be put off by any preconceptions of a beach club, this brunch is in the hotel part of the Nikki Beach Resort, and there are no pumping beats or dancing here. The beach club hosts its own brunch on a Sunday if that’s more your cup of tea, whereas this is a quieter meal, with mainly family groups and couples.
When it comes to the food, there’s also a distinct French feel. It’s split between a petite buffet indoors and a selection of dishes brought to the table (although these are pleasant surprises as there’s no menu that we can find).
We start off at the buffet, where there’s an appetising seafood section with giant prawns, oysters and mussels adorning the mountains of ice.
We opt for a selection of shellfish, before the chef prepares it and brings it to our table, complete with lemon wedges and condiments.
We sit back and relax for a short while before a flatbread topped with fluffy scrambled eggs and truffle makes its way to our table. It’s delicious, the perfect breakfast aspect of the brunch concept.
Course after course appears on our culinary mystery tour of the bistro’s cuisine. The highlight for us is a traditional French seafood soup. The tomato-based liquid is poured over a generous portion of fish and seafood from a cafetière, which is a nice touch. The soup is light, fragrant and doesn’t overpower the delicate flavours of the fish.
Another authentic dish arrives next, which is described by the waiter as just how it looks – fish in bread. In reality it’s more glamorous than it sounds, and is tender sea bass in a hollowed-out French loaf.
If you love seafood, then so far so good. However, meat fans will be satisfied with a main course of beef, served in a heavy cooking pot with a rich gravy.
We make our way to the buffet for some hot sides including roasted root veg. And if you can limit yourself to just one helping of the creamy dauphinoise potatoes, then we applaud you.
Lastly, the cheese board and desserts are worth breaking any diet for.
We love the light yet buttery millefeuille with a crème pâtissière layered inside, and the rich, indulgent chocolate cake is not to be missed, either.
Finish off with a lazy stroll along the water’s edge, soaking up the sunshine and scanning for shells, and there’s no doubt you’ll feel like you’ve had an afternoon’s holiday.
The Bottom Line
A chilled-out, chic brunch, with some top-quality French dishes.