Somewhere in that densely populated cluster of stratosphere-tickling skyscrapers that is the Dubai Marina, you’ll see Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, and in it you’ll find British-themed restaurant and bar, The Croft.
A recent addition to the brunch scene, The Croft offers a Commonwealth-themed meal every Friday – a culinary tour of the former colonies of the British empire, an admittedly retrogressive topic in 2017.
Having caught a glimpse at the menu ahead of time, we arrive at 12.30pm, salivating.
Brunch Nation takes you on a Westward journey through former British territories (sort of), starting from Australia and making its way westwards through Asia and India before arriving in Blighty.
We kick off with Aussie fare. After a welcoming glass of the classic British summertime drink, four salads arrive before us, and we begin to fathom the length of the edible road that lies ahead. Salads including seafood, chicken and feta, orange and pomegranate and cucumber yoghurt turn up. We remain conscious of the coming four courses and stop ourselves licking our bowls clean.
Course two: Asia. Sweet and sour chicken, hoisin duck pancakes, a steaming bucket of dim sum and Indonesian gado gado arrive. The veggie dim sum is a delight, though the duck pancake is a bit of a rare miss – it’s a bit dry and lacks the taste explosion you want.
Our bellies start to get full, and we already regret that early bread roll. Taking some deep breaths we boldly go on.
Course three: India, which is a real body blow to our chances of getting through this journey, thanks to the lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala, skewered prawns and veggie curry. Oh, and the samosas. And the pilau rice. And the laundry basket-sized bucket of roti, breads, poppadoms and dips.
Veggie curry is a highlight, it’s not too spicy and bursts with flavour. We scrape the bowl dry with our roti.
Now we mentally heave our way towards course four, knowing we’re almost out for the count. But we’re nearly home. We can see the White Cliffs, and we’re greeted with beef Wellington, fish and chips and cheddar croquettes. It’s all excellent, but we’re full to bursting.
We finally wheeze our way to the dessert station, belts straining, for some real treats, such as red velvet cake, rice pudding and apple crumble.
If, by now, you think we’re put out by how much we’ve had to eat, we’re not. The food is marvellous, some of the tastiest we’ve had for some time, while the package comes with unlimited bubbly and inventive mixed drinks. There’s also a killer playlist of some brilliant historic rock, and the afternoon just flies by, all with the backdrop of the Marina for company. Go, immediately.
Dhs399 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4794).
The bottom line
A (largely) cliché free, brilliant brunch.