Set amid the lush gardens of The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, Caravan provides a top spot for winter brunching. Tables spill out from the terrace to the sprawling lawns, giving a garden party feel. And a very British garden party at that, thanks to the new London Social theme.
Granted if you hail from London you’ll probably not find massive similarities between the sun-soaked terrace and sea vistas with the British capital’s streets and pubs, but the effort is there nonetheless.
On arrival, we’re greeted by a Royal Guard, resplendent in a busby, and a red phone box. It’s about as clichéd as Dick Van Dyke’s accent, however, it’s kitsch enough and we decide to go with the theme.
We’re seated on the terrace, amid the brightly coloured flowers, with a glorious view out to the Arabian Gulf. A live band plays, giving an upbeat, breezy weekend feel.
Service is slick – there’s no need for wristbands defining your packages here.
The layout is similar to other buffet brunches in the area, with petite food trucks and drinks stations scattered around outside to browse at your leisure. Food stations are named after London tube stops – think curries at Brick Lane, Asian food at Piccadilly Circus, Caribbean food at Brixton and you’ll get the picture.
We take a wander around the tube map, before heading to The Markets. There’s a lack of salads, which is a shame, while the sushi and seafood looks to have been sitting a while. We continue our commute.
Next stop is Piccadilly Circus (which is a lot less manic than its namesake) and we try some lacklustre dim sum and tepid noodles. So far, so average. Things pick up around Brick Lane, which is the highlight of the meal. We love the buttery, rich dhal, flavoursome chicken tikka masala and vegetable bhajis. We mop it all up with some tasty and perfectly charred naan.
There’s a selection of pizza on offer at Leicester Square (named Leicester City in the menu – definitely Square. We spy no Premier League trophies in London’s Leicester or at this brunch station, ahem.) All the dishes are nice enough without blowing us away.
And no British brunch would be complete without fish and chips and a roast, both of which are solid options, with the rib of beef being succulent and tasty.
After mains we take a short break, and the opportunity for a stroll around the gardens before venturing to Pudding Lane.
A live cherries jubilee station is a nice touch, and the sharp, syrupy fruit pairs well with some Mr Whippy-style ice cream.
With plenty of drinks stations, a beautiful outdoor setting and fun vibe, there are loads of things to like about this brunch, but the food doesn’t quite live up to expectations or price. An improvement on dishes would make it a Friday must-try.
Dhs395 (soft drinks), Dhs495 (mixed beverages, house beverages and sparkling grape), Dhs590 (premium beverages and bubbly). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 318 6150).
The bottom line
Picturesque setting but average dishes.