For most brunch-goers, Friday afternoon is all about doing as little as possible while relaxing in the sun and guzzling an unlimited supply of miniature cheesecakes with a glass of grape in hand.
But if you prefer to throw a dart after each canapé or attempt to unsettle some bowling pins between beverages, then The 44’s new sports brunch might be for you.
It’s promising a range of traditional pub games in a bid to woo punters – as well as a barbecue grill, buffet and live carving stations.
Even better, the brunch is held on the 44th floor (who’d have guessed?) – with the venue’s enormous windows guaranteeing excellent views out across Business Bay and the Burj Khalifa in the backdrop.
There’s also an outdoor terrace with ample shaded areas. It would be a great place to sit and chill, if it wasn’t for the overly loud pumping music that feels somewhat mismatched to the small crowd.
Here is The 44’s problem. It’s billed as a sports brunch – but during our visit there’s barely anything on, meaning there are no fans in sight.
The atmosphere of a sports bar is almost entirely dependent on legions of punters animatedly cheering for opposing sides, jostling for the best seat in the house to catch the action, commiserating defeat or celebrating victory. At The 44, at least during our visit, that atmosphere isn’t there.
Fortunately, even if there is no sport on TV (Premier League matches tend to fall on Saturday or Sunday) there is plenty to do in the bar itself.
But it’s unclear whether The 44 is trying to appeal to fans who want to watch sports, or people who want to play pub games while sipping on a mixed beverage, if its the latter, it’s spot on.The pool tables and darts board are free to use, while bowling costs Dhs80 for ten rounds.
After all that intense “sport” you’ll probably have worked up an appetite. The selection here is reasonable, but don’t expect gourmet – this is not a brunch for super foodies.
As well as a buffet offering binge-worthy favourites like loaded baked potatoes and chicken strips, there is a barbecue where diners can pick a meat – but the grill is tucked away in the restaurant kitchen, so don’t expect to hear any sizzling.
If you’re a vegetarian you’d be best looking elswhere, unless you’re a big fan of beans and rice. There are other options, such as pesto pasta and a salad bar, but this is definitely geared towards the meat-eater as the barbecue is where it’s at, serving up chicken, sausages and burgers.
Desserts are the highlight – a zingy lemon tart gets the gold medal of this course.
One excellent point about the brunch is that it’s super-good value at Dhs195 for three-and-a-half hours. With a few more diners and a wider selection of food, this has potential to be a solid brunch.
Dhs195 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. The 44, The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City (054 581 1758).
The bottom line
Good value but could be livelier.