Three brunches to know about
With brunches becoming as synonymous with Dubai as supercars, skyscrapers and staggering wealth (for some of us at least), it seems every hotel in the emirate has something to offer to those looking for a spot of weekend indulgence. As such, sifting the winners from the losers can be a migraine-inducing task, so we thought we’d help out by suggesting three brunches new to the Dubai social scene that should make your to-do list.
For the foodies: Roberto’s
While DIFC is a bustling hive of financial and social activity in the week, it can resemble a bit of a ghost town on a Friday and Saturday. That said, ignore the area at the weekend and you’ll be ignoring its newest, and arguably nicest, brunch spot, Roberto’s.
Italian specific brunches are in seemingly short supply in Dubai, and while you’ll certainly find stereotypical dishes synonymous with this brand of European cuisine (think lukewarm spaghetti bolognese or various unimaginative lasagnes) at most brunch spots around the city, it’s more a case of there simply being lots of it, without any of it done particularly well.
Pranzo Italiano however, champions a quite superb à la carte menu (again, another rarity on the brunch scene), offering a select few dishes redolent of the street side eateries in Milan or Rome as opposed to the buffet cart at Spaghetti House. As with all à la carte offerings, the menu is short, clean and to the point, and while you’re bound to order everything on offer (it is a brunch after all) be careful not to miss out on the arrabiata soaked calamari starter, Grigliata di pesce or, quite frankly, any of the pasta dishes.
Nestled in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, though the refined setting and quality of cuisine undoubtedly make the Roberto’s brunch a more upmarket affair, the warm service coupled with the relaxed vibe inspired by the in-house acoustic guitarist ensures the occasion always feels fun, and never stuffy or pretentious.
If you’re after a brunch that takes significant pride in its food, as opposed to colourful drinks concoctions drunk out of watermelons, you’d do well to find a better placed option than this DIFC delight.
Dhs425 (house drinks), Dhs350 (soft drinks), 12.30-16.30pm, every Friday, Roberto’s, Gate Village, DIFC, 04 386 0066, www.robertos.ae
For the families: Al Badia Brunch
Let’s say you’ve got friends in town. They want to know what all the fuss is about with this brunch thing that everyone talks about in Dubai. Great, there are a million places you could take them. But there’s a catch: you’ve also got kids of an impressionable age and perhaps they don’t need to see what young “adults” look like after a very long lunch in the sun. So you need a brunch that is child friendly, but isn’t some interminable crèche. And the out-of-towners also need to be impressed. The solution: Al Badia’s picnic brunch, held every Friday and Saturday on the beautiful lawn overlooking the creek-side golf club. It’s relaxed, so your kids can run riot while you have a few bevies and lie back in the sun. But it’s classy enough that no one rolls out at 4pm in an undignified manner. It’s parent friendly, kid proof, impressive to visitors, unpretentious, there’s some relaxed live music. It’s just… nice.
Food-wise, there’s an argument to say that mega buffets featuring 29 types of cuisine verge on the grotesque. At Al Badia there’s a relatively simple barbeque along with fresh vegetables and salads, though they do spend hours slow cooking some cuts of lamb and beef and they taste amazing.
Every brunch in town claims to be different. There’s an argument to say that this one actually lives up to that billing.
Dhs375 (house drinks), Dhs275, (soft drinks), 11:30am-15:30pm, Fri & Sat, Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, 04 701 1127
For the meatlovers: CUT by Wolfgang Puck
Far from the combined hen night and stag do atmosphere of many other brunches, this is a civilized affair in convivial surroundings. It also avoids the eternal disappointment of the buffet, surely the low point in social dining and little more than one step away from gathering around feeding troughs. Wolfgang Puck, on the other hand, does things correctly… and so should you.
Here you pay Dhs250 and choose a starter, main and dessert – just like a grown up. Because it runs from midday until 3pm there are still a lot late-breakfast options (such as blueberry pancakes) for those who enjoyed a lie in, and there are lots of vegetarian options so don’t let the fact it’s a steakhouse put you or your meat-avoiding friends off. In fact, the pumpkin ravioli here is one of the best things we’ve eaten anywhere this year – a real must-try dish.
Of course, you can also have steak as a main or their big burger and fries which is also exceptionally good and if you do want to drink without limits then you can pay Dhs550 and work your way through an original cocktail menu, but really, the food here is more than enough to warrant a visit. And now that it’s cooler you can get a spot on the terrace overlooking the Dubai Fountains and those eating at lesser restaurants below.
Dhs250 food only. Dhs550 including selected drinks. Every Friday from 12-to-3pm, www.theaddress.comcut-by-wolfgang-puck.aspx