On first sight, there’s nothing overly impressive about the Turquoise brunch. The restaurant is in the basement of the Rixos Premium Dubai at JBR, and on arrival, we’re seated away from the windows, but happily near to the buffet.
The huge restaurant is half-full at best and there are definitely more staff than punters, although it’s only a few weeks since the brunch started when we visit, which, along with the sheer size, goes someway to explaining the quietness. We sit down feeling somewhat disheartened – until we start eating, that is.
Turquoise is a Turkish-, Middle Eastern- and Mediterranean-themed eatery, reflecting the hotel chain’s Turkish roots. There’s an abundance of treats from this side of the world, but there are offerings from every corner of the globe as well.
We take a wander around the buffet before stopping off at the seafood station. We order fresh lobster, calamari and octopus from the friendly chefs and pile our plates high with smoked salmon, seafood salad and a not-particularly-restrained stack of sushi.
As we return to the table with our sizeable spoils (and to await our various orders from the multiple live grilling stations) that initial unease evaporates faster than you can say “Turkish delight”.
The grilled seafood arrives quickly and is fresh and delicious. Spurred on by this success, we order lamb chops, striploin, chicken and pistachio kebabs from the meat station and help ourselves to roasted vegetables from the buffet.
Unfortunately, our steaks are overcooked, but this is redeemed by that Middle Eastern kebab – juicy, subtly spiced and succulent. The lamb chops are excellent, too, both crispy and tender, and we conclude that the brunch is worth a visit for the barbecue section alone.
As well as the meat and seafood, there’s also a live pasta station, sushi, and a hot buffet of Middle Eastern dishes. Waiters bring a stream of weekly specials to the table, including beef tartare (average), stuffed ravioli (somewhat bland) and kunafa (delicious), while a trolley does the rounds with mixed drinks.
But nothing can dampen our spirits, even when the band play a Michael Bublé song, which is almost cheesier than the real thing.
The live entertainment seems to go down well with the small crowd, though, and we notice more than a few toes tapping to the jovial duo.
We finish our visit with a gander over at the cheese section. There seems to be an absence of bread, but we happily get stuck in by the block, and follow it up with a few of the mini cakes, just for good measure.
This may not be the most atmospheric brunch, but for the grilled meats and Turkish flavours it’s worth a try.
The bottom line
Superb food, but the atmosphere needs to catch up.