One of the things that first attracted us to Qwerty’s Friday brunch (apart from it being so close to Time Out Towers we can practically smell the epic cheese toasties) was its promise of an alternative, fun and wholly different brunch experience to the fill-your-face sessions we know so well and love so much.
The keyboard-tastic restaurant at Media City’s Media One Hotel is a particularly popular haunt for publishing, digital and advertising types around 6pm on a Thursday night, but Friday brunch is where it’s at for this fun and funky spot.
It’s called BRNCH, because it’s like brunch, but a little bit shorter and is only missing you (get it?).
And it’s a brunch with a twist on Dubai’s typical tried-and-tested format.
The structure is, indeed, refreshing. Two hours for Dhs199 but with the option of an extra hour of drinks for an additional Dhs99. It works, giving the afternoon more of a long and lazy lunch vibe, and we approve.
Upon arriving promptly at 1pm, our gaze is immediately (and longingly) captured by the old-school, playable games consoles that sit upon the restaurant’s centrepiece. Oh, hello Atari and your nostalgia-inducing 8-bit classics.
Instead, we promptly take our seats following a warm welcome from our attentive hostess, who does a splendid job of taking care of us for the afternoon. At no point are we left wanting, nor do we resort to desperately pawing at passing waiting staff in hope of service.
The menu changes weekly. On the day we visit, it consists of unlimited starter platters – think teriyaki chicken and vegetarian maki, beef satay skewers, chicken sliders, tempura prawns, Swedish meatballs, and an oddly quantified “pint” of king prawns – plus a choice of mains. The starters are hit and miss, with those prawns and a trio of chicken wings clear highlights, and we can’t stop nibbling the mini flatbreads, but among some of the others the meat is overly chewy (it’s also all served cold, and we don’t manage to ascertain whether it’s actually meant to be).
Mains are considerably better. We opt for the paneer tikka, and it’s a treat. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s moreish and we barely resist licking our bowl clean.
The most fun, though, is with the unspoken pub quiz running throughout the afternoon. Send a WhatsApp the restaurant to join the game (don’t worry, you won’t be stuck on yet another spam list) and you’ll be sent spot quizzes, creative tasks, and snippets of mystery songs throughout the afternoon, all with the hope of prizes, including a staycation at the hotel that we desperately fancy, but to no avail.
The final question – which requires correctly guessing a soundbite – is a real humdinger though, and it’s rolled over for the last five weeks. We’ll definitely be back for another crack.
Dhs199 (two-hour package), Dhs100 (additional hour of drinks). Fri 1pm-3pm. Ongoing. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
The bottom line
Genuine fun at this alternative, light-hearted, lazy afternoon brunch.