Set amid the lush gardens of The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Caravan provides a picturesque spot for brunch. 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 London Social theme.
If you hail from that city you probably won’t find massive similarities between the sun-soaked terrace and sea vistas and 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, but it’s kitsch enough and we decide to go with the theme.
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… you get the picture.
We wander around the tube map, before heading to The Markets. There’s a lack of salads, which is a shame and the sushi and seafood look to have been sitting a while. We continue our commute.
Next stop is Piccadilly Circus (less manic than its namesake) and we try some lacklustre dim sum and tepid noodles. So far, so average. Things pick up at Brick Lane – the highlight of the meal. We love the buttery, rich dahl, flavoursome chicken tikka masala and vegetable bhajis. We mop it all up with some tasty, perfectly charred naan.
There’s pizza 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). 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.
We take a break before hitting Pudding Lane. A live cherries jubilee station is a nice touch, and the sharp, syrupy fruit pairs well with the Mr Whippy-style ice cream.
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), Dhs590 (bubbly). Fri 1pm-4pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 318 6150).
The bottom line
Picturesque setting but average dishes.