Destination brunch in Ras al-Khaimah
The traditional Friday brunch in Dubai has become a little exhausting. Stumbling out of bed too early, scrambling for a cab and then surveying with deep suspicion the first green bottle placed in front of you, knowing it’s a slippery slope towards late-afternoon Armageddon. There are only so many weekends in the year you want to write-off before they’ve even begun.
As a counterpoint, there is a lot to recommend what we’re going to label “the destination brunch”, where all F&B excesses can be instantly offset by a seaside slumber. The Tiki Brunch at Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge at the Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort, the recently refurbished resort in Ras al-Khaimah, is a particularly fine example: you can leave the city, check into a suite overlooking the ocean, wander downstairs to a palm-fringed, sun-dappled terrace and enjoy a long, lazy lunch and an array of skin-tingling cocktails. Afterwards? Find a lounger, a patch of beach and recline in the knowledge your freshly made bed is about 250 yards away.
Frankly, why do brunch any other way?
Importantly, location isn’t the whole story here. The Tiki Brunch concept ditches the over-tried-and-over-tested buffet and instead supplies diners with a succession of small tasting dishes, each sublimely cooked and imaginatively presented, which present an overview of the restaurant’s menu. Any dish can, at any time, be reordered, providing an appealing stick-or-twist approach to the experience.
Served side by side, the jalapeno popper and the wonton in sweet chili sauce were perhaps unusual bedfellows, but things soon got interesting with the chicken masala skewers and, in particular, the succulent beef skewers in a barbecue and peanut sauce, both of which were served on flame-heated, Aladdin’s lamp style trays. The joy of this kind of meal was immediately apparent: it’s about savouring each dish in turn, eating just enough to leave sufficient anticipation for its successor instead of crowding your plate with a pot pourri of clashing foods and styles.
It certainly ensured that there was sufficient appetite for the centrepiece of the meal: the generously proportioned volcano prawns in a sweet-and-sour-sauce with all-in fried rice, which carried the wok-seared flavour of your favourite Chinatown restaurant in each bite. The marinated lamb chop and an Angus beefburger then provided a chargrilled postscript to the savoury section and, in our case, prevented the need for any repeat orders.
Of course, there was liquid accompaniment in the form of their signature cocktails, which included a sharp and citrusy Guava Mohito and a Honi Honi, which offered aromatic spices to the mellow tones of whisky instead of the usual rum. They warmed up the palate for the twin finale of crème brulee and banana fritters and, once the plates has been cleared, helped lunchtime drift seamlessly into late afternoon.
The various tastes were still floating across the tongue as we traded dining chairs for sun loungers, the gentle lap of the sea and sending us off into a sun-kissed sleep. We knew we didn’t have to decide what to do later. This was later.
Tiki Brunch at Mai Tai Lounge by Trader Vic’s
Roving buffet with selected mai-tai cocktails and unlimited soft drinks, juices, water
AED270 per person
Roving buffet with selected mai-tai mocktails and unlimited soft drinks, juices, water
AED220 per person
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