Set up in the lofty heights of the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City is Babiole, an elegant Mediterranean restaurant where the well-heeled trot in for Friday brunch each week.
The eatery sits on the 44th floor of the hotel, alongside sports bar The 44 and nightclub Dome, and is by far the most sophisticated establishment of the three.
The interior is all gleaming whites and clean greys, and the starched tablecloths and dark wooden chairs bring a sense of occasion to proceedings.
The floor-to-ceiling windows give way to a sprawling terrace, which offers stunning views over the Dubai Water Canal and Business Bay, though it’s a bit too toasty during our visit to appreciate it properly, as we remain in the cool inside.
The space is quite intimate and has a classy feel, and the vibe is upbeat.
Having dined here before – in the evening – and not been wowed, we’re interested to see what brunch brings.
The menu is certainly looks the part with starters ranging from a breakfast-lunch classic of eggs royale to beef carpaccio and truffle pizzetta.
The beef carpaccio is delicately sliced and packed with pure meaty flavour. Generous parmesan shavings add a delicious saltiness and a scattering of capers keep the dish fresh. The truffle pizzetta is delightfully pungent.
Mains include veggie dishes such as blue cheese gnocchi and basil pesto risotto, as well as grilled salmon and stuffed leg of lamb. The salmon is delicious and falls apart at the prod of an expectant fork.
The star of the show, however, is the lamb, which comes in thick medallions, stuffed with wilted spinach and mushrooms. The meat is juicy and fresh and an accompanying shallot purée only adds to the flavour.
Juicy, crisp asparagus balances out the meat perfectly.
By this time the atmosphere has picked up tremendously. The pristine waiting staff have set aside their silver spoons and donned cowboy hats to frivolously swing napkins above their heads to the beat of lively music. Our fellow brunchers – seemingly inspired – begin to follow suit and make good use of the props that have appeared from nowhere to be worn, waved and flailed about. It’s all a bit bizarre and unexpected, but in the best possible way.
Dessert arrives in the form of three decent-sized treats. A vanilla cheesecake is creamy with a delightfully crumbly base and the lemon tart is crisp, sharp and deliciously moreish. Meanwhile the chocolate delice, is rich and gooey.
It can be tricky to find a brunch that matches food with vibe, but Babiole gets a big tick in both boxes.
Dhs295 (house beverages), Dhs395 (bubbly). Fri 1pm-4pm. Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road (056 515 4665).