If you’ve heard anything about the après-ski themed bar in Madinat Jumeirah, you’ve probably heard that it serves a lot of cheese. If, like us, the thought of tucking into fondue or raclette makes you warm and fuzzy inside, then the Alpine Brunch at Publique is exactly the sort of brunch you need to book. Like, now.
But when we say you need to take a big group to make the most of the brunch’s cheesiness, take us seriously. This isn’t a Friday event with a huge variety of food on offer.
You can whip round the starter buffet in about five minutes – it’s a simple spread of cheeses and cold cuts.
After that it’s on to the mains, which are offered à la carte. Each person can choose one dish each. These include a burger covered in raclette cheese and topped with bresaola, a white-based pizza topped with potatoes, onions, meat and reblochon cheese, roast beef or a traditional French tartiflette (a dish of gratinated potatoes, meat and onion – Publique’s version also comes slathered in a thick layer of reblochon). And those are some of the least cheesy dishes on offer.
If cheese is what you came for, there are also the options of fondue savoyarde or classic raclette, both of which are for a minimum of two people.
On our visit, we’re dining as a pair so we feel that our options for mains are rather limited. One of the best things about brunch is undoubtedly the choice, so we’re a little disappointed that we can’t try both the fondue and hot-stone cooking, for example.
In the end, we go for the latter, and it’s fantastic. The meat is lean, tender, juicy and utterly moreish. There’s lots of it and it comes served with plenty of sauces and sides. Even so, we can’t help feeling a pang of food envy as we watch a gooey raclette being hungrily devoured on a neighbouring table. Hence our recommendation to visit with at least four people, so that you can order an optimum amount of mains to share between you.
The dessert buffet offers a slightly wider variety of options in comparison to the starters, though by this point we’re too full to eat much more.
There are mini pots of crème brûlée, cakes and fruit, as well as a live waffle and crêpe station. It’s good, though the chef (obviously uninspired by our requests) takes the liberty of adding a few additional sauces and toppings to each of our orders, to the dismay of our dining companion.
Overall, we do enjoy the brunch. It’s quiet, but settled at a table by the window, with palm-fringed beach views, you hardly notice. A little more choice would go a long way, especially given that the cheapest package is almost Dhs200 and excludes all drinks. But the bigger the group, the better value it becomes. Worth a try if you’re after a casual Friday afternoon out and have a fondness for fromage.
Dhs185 (food only), Dhs295 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8550).
The bottom line
Gather all the cheese lovers you know and book a table.