Top 8 brunches in Dubai (2016/ 2017)

Vesna brunch - Conrad Dubai - Dubai brunches - Mr & Mrs Brunch - FooDivaBrunch is a funny old thing. What began as a mere hobby for us all those years ago has now spawned into a way of life. Our lonely kitchen will attest to this fact, and as our current record stands at six brunches in the same week, we would like to think that selecting an annual roundup of Dubai’s best brunches would be a relatively simple task…not so. The over-abundance of restaurants clamouring for our hard-earned dirhams and the one-up-man-ship that naturally exists between hoteliers has meant that the four intertwined, yet divergent strands we typically judge a good brunch on (food, drinks, entertainment and service) are becoming all the more difficult to marry up consistently into a good, bad, indifferent, or excellent brunch. With this round-up, we’ve focused on brunches not previously reviewed on FooDiva. So here is the Mr & Mrs Brunch top 8 brunch guide in Dubai for the new season (2016/2017) exclusively for FooDiva, starting alphabetically with…

  • Anantara The Palm Jumeirah Resort – Fork & Cork Friday Brunch at Crescendo – whether you’re a fan of Thai cuisine or not, there is an openness that epitomises the Thai culture which drifts over the entire dining room and terrace, where even the fussiest of eaters will find something to suit their palate at this ever-expansive and eclectic brunch. The quality and freshness of ingredients also impresses with their sheer number and variety. The live cooking and drink stalls dotted around are well thought out with a mix of international and Thai dishes, and one of the only espresso martini stations we have seen at a brunch in Dubai. INFO: AED345 – 699. Marquis de Joncry Champagne. Friday 1pm – 4pm. T; +971 4 5678304. Note, the packages in this round-up list the cheapest non-alcoholic option and the top sparkly/ Champagne deal.
  • Coya – Four Seasons Resort Dubai Jumeirah Beach – reminiscent of the speight of Brazilian churrascarias which sprung to life across the city not too long ago, the new trend permeating our ever-changing metropolis comes with a trace of Incan heritage and Latin American jazz. A flair which has seen the Michelin-starred London incarnation of this infamous brand become a permanent fixture on the ‘where to eat’ list over the years and garnered its outlet in Dubai with much hype, rave reviews and naturally inflated prices. Highlights of the menu include a bamboozling display of ceviches, tiraditos and causas. The zesty marinade which cures the fish gives a delicate flavour and a slightly chewy consistency that balances perfectly with the spices of red onion and aji pepper. The causas in contrast, are of a more substantial consistency – the spicy potato-layered dishes with various fillings are excellent finger food that lead perfectly into a selection of mains, from which you are able to choose – this includes the arroz Nikkei (Chilean sea bass with rice, lime and chilli) and the papa seca, setas y trufa (Peruvian dried potatoes with mushrooms and black truffle) to name but a few. Begin the day with a home-made pisco infusion in the lively lounge before completing your culinary journey without the worry of accumulating an astronomical tab at the end of it. Definitely believe the hype. INFO: AED328 – 598. Veuve Cliquot Champagne. Friday 12.30 – 4pm. T; +971 4 3169600.
  • Intercontinental Dubai Marina – Funusual brunch at Accents – chefs prepare everything a la minute from freshly made pasta and grilled seafood, to manakeesh fresh out of the oven and tossed salads made-to-order. A couple of ingenious and delicious cocktails include a gin/ meringue/ liquid nitrogen ensemble so cold, that at -140C they stick to the bottom of our palates before emitting smoke from our mouths, and Bloody Mary cherry tomatoes infused with vodka and served with small celery sticks. Sitting on the terrace overlooking the marina is also a huge differentiator, and although this brunch attracts a well-dressed crowd, the atmosphere is not one of stylish reserve, but one of casual convivial pleasure. Impeccable service. INFO: AED295 – 525. Laurent Perrier Champagne. Friday 12.30 – 4pm. T; +971 4 4466669.
  • Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort – Brunch 2.0 at Brasserie 2.0 – it would be difficult to describe a particular theme that runs through Brunch 2.0, so instead we have tried to describe what they serve, rather than struggle to pinpoint what they do not. Suffice to say that they have covered all cooking styles from fried, to steamed, to smoked and sautéed across ten live cooking stations both indoors and al fresco, with an imposing outdoor grill and smoker as the undoubted stars of the terrace. Cabrito is a specialty of various Latin and Iberian cuisines in which a young goat is slow-cooked over charcoal for upwards of eight hours; ossobuco Milanese; a huge seafood paella; a live pasta station manned by an impressively knowledgeable Italian chef; and then onto two versions of Wellington (salmon and beef). On the drinks front, there’s an Old Smokey cocktail bar and a wine tasting station – all to the tune of a live band. INFO: AED400 – 725. Laurent Perrier Champagne. Friday 1.30 – 4.30pm. T; +971 4 3995555.
  • Palazzo Versace – Giardino – inside this wacky yet truly Versace-esq indoor jungle of Giardino lies a manageable selection of quality over quantity. The brunch features all of the favourites you would expect at an Italian-themed restaurant, from ravioli with tomato and basil, mushroom canneloni, ossobucco Milanese and freshly baked pizzas to our dish of the day which is brought round on a trolley and served by the chefs at our table – fresh tortellini with chickpeas, prawns and rocket…pasta-gasmic! With a run of the mill name, the ‘slow cooked’ eggs, are anything but. The eggs are cooked sous vide for two hours at 58 degrees, leaving them looking raw to the naked eye but just the right side of runny. The resultant egg is then poured into a cocktail glass and topped with either hollandaise or parsley sauce, seasoned with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of caviar to add that extra bit of delicious decadence. Sip on Giardino Elixir cocktails or Ruinart Brut Champagne in Versace-branded flutes before taking a dip in the pool after brunch. With full pool access included and Versace towels, this is both a brunch for foodies and fashionistas. INFO: AED350 – 650. Ruinart Brut Champagne. Friday 1-4pm. T; +971 4 5568840.
  • Sofitel Palm brunch - Dubai brunches - Mr & Mrs Brunch - FoodivaSofitel Dubai The Palm Resort – Rare brunch at Porterhouse – head onto the Palm and ‘steak’ claim to what is a relatively unsung family lunch-styled brunch at Porterhouse, the hotel’s steakhouse. Sharing hot and cold starters arrive at the table, with the Australian Black Angus beef tartare and the chicken liver parfait as the undoubted starlets, boasting flavours so complex and earthy that they continue to swirl around in your mouth long after you are finished chewing. The main event is a beautifully presented congregation of ingredients fresh off the grill and rotisserie, served conveniently inside a giant wok with presentation, taste and aromas hitting all the right notes. Included in our mixed grill of goodness are succulent slices of char-grilled 250-day grain-fed prime tenderloin (USDA), free-range striploin (New Zealand), crispy and handily de-boned chicken thighs, melt-in-your mouth slow-cooked Australian lamb leg and Frankfurter beef sausages. Desserts feature unique gluten-free options including a strawberry balsamic panna cotta, which is zesty and fresh, so when coupled with the array of pre-prohibition signature crafted cocktails ensures a true drinks delight. The free pool and beach access (which at weekends usually costs AED250 alone) is a very obvious yet very valuable addition, whilst mood-setter-in-chief DJ Safet sets the tone for an afternoon of chilled-out soul, rare groove and funk. INFO: AED350 – 495. No Champagne. Friday 12.30 – 3.30pm. T; +971 4 4555656.
  • Vesna – Conrad Dubai’s Tsar Imperial Brunch – make your way past the well-presented, yet brusque hostesses and Vesna, which translates to ‘spring’ in Russian, will encapsulate you with its imperial Russian flair, opulent décor and seductive entertainment. This contemporary Slavic restaurant serves a Saturday brunch that banishes our preconception of Russian food being bland, heavy and unpalatable. On the contrary, everything we taste is well seasoned, fresh and light. Choose starters from a buffet including fresh, sumptuous, bountiful oysters and king crab legs on ice, a tartare bar, as well as a small selection of salads and breads. For main courses, sharing dishes are prepared in the bustling open kitchen and brought to the table – delicious beef medallions with a mushroom sauce; fillets of golden meaty seabass are moist in the centre whilst retaining that crisp outer skin we all strive for, ably accompanied by grilled asparagus, buckwheat mash potato, and Slavic hash browns. The DJ plays a sultry mix of laidback beats accompanied by a live saxophonist. A caviar add-on package is also available. INFO: AED295 – 695. Yellow Tail sparkling rose (no Champagne). Saturday 1 – 5pm. T; +971 3528169.
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai brunch - Dubai brunches - Mr & Mrs Brunch - FoodivaWaldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah – Secret Garden Brunch – inspired by the hotel’s approach to sustainability and the recent launch of its organic ‘secret’ garden, the brunch is hosted in a temporary botanical orchard in the all-day dining restaurant, Mezzerie, which includes live cooking stations with freshly grown organic fruit, vegetables and herbs used in most of the dishes. The open and interactive kitchen is a constant theatre of motion with busy chefs keeping the food displays fresh. A novel showcase of contemporary Italian dishes from sister restaurant Social by Heinz Beck makes its way to the table a la minute. On our visit, we are treated to a rather attractive panzanella with ricotta cheese, a charitable yet clever marketing on a starter usually costing AED68 in its own right. Other culinary delicacies include a colourful pickled vegetable bar and freshly prepared organic, green salads made from herbs and edible flowers from the hotel’s garden. Other than typical seafood, grills, a tandoor oven and a Waldorf salad (of course), the dishes that impress us are the potted rabbit, fried whitebait and a veal bone marrow with a crust of bread crumbs, parsley, squid ink and garlic. Sip on fresh summer drinks including the Waldorf Summer Cup (a classic medley of fragrant spirits and fruits), a home-made lemonade, sangria albina and an organic basil mojito, again with herbs from the garden – all whilst listening to the live acoustic sounds of the excellent resident guitarist. His accompaniments to the music are non-intrusive yet euphoric at the same time. At the end of the brunch, each guest is gifted a complimentary basil plant, a perfect memento and innovative way to keep Waldorf Astoria top of mind. INFO: AED AED345 – 725. Laurent Perrier Champagne. Friday 1.00– 4.00pm. T; +971 4 8182222.

So tell us what’s your favourite brunch in town?

Mr & Mrs Brunch are two of the UAE’s most discerning (and consistent) brunchers, having amassed a steady average of eight brunches a month over the last four years. Giving advice and recommendations comes naturally to friends, colleagues and complete strangers. You can find their full reviews on their website here, or on their recently launched app Lets Brunch, which also includes a growing list of deals and discounts to help you make informed decisions when it comes to such an important staple of UAE life…brunch.

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9 Responses to “Top 8 brunches in Dubai (2016/ 2017)”

  1. GA November 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Great round up, missed my favourite which is Feast at the Sheraton Grande 🙂

    • AJ aka Mr Brunch November 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks GA…We do love feast too…such a foodies Brunch, however we havent been since both Chef Malcom and Chef Ray have left. Will need to see how they fare now

  2. Nancy November 8, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Like GA said, Feast is my fav too. Sad to say that I haven’t tried any of the 8 listed, but its something that I’ll be working on as we go into festive season 🙂

    • AJ aka Mr Brunch November 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Perfect time to start over the festive season… 🙂

  3. AJ aka Mr Brunch November 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks GA…We do love feast too…such a foodies Brunch, however we havent been since both Chef Malcom and Chef Ray have left. Will need to see how they fare now

  4. Eat Drink Stay Dubai November 14, 2016 at 7:54 pm


    It’s always such a difficult job, picking a ‘best of’ list – and with the added subjective and emotional topic of brunch.

    How does one pick Top? is it busyness, is it rowdiness, is it quality or just the one with the best vibe or the bloggers’ faves?

    Saying that though, this list is pretty compelling and extremely well measured and comprehensively detailed.

    Not so sure about Feast – perhaps I tried it as a hotel guest before the ‘bloggers buzz’ hit as it certainly wasn’t as good as others suggest it is (then). Likewise Funusual – was very, very good but at the time I tried it (ages ago) it wasn’t anything special.

    However, time is the enemy of all brunches. One can be great then poor in a matter of weeks, and I’m delighted Vesna got in the list as it’s high time a ‘different’ concept got popular.

    Cheers for a great article :-0

    • AJ aka Mr Brunch November 15, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you for your comments….We have to agree…it was tough to settle upon a final 8 with many, many contenders falling by the wayside either on their past inclusion, or something so miniscule that on any other day and in any other list would have had them sitting serenely at the top!

      We like to try and judge them with as many hats on as possible throughout the day. Ofcourse it is easy to score on FEDS (FOOD, ENTERTAINMENT, DRINKS, SERVICE) from own own eyes, we know what we like, and we certainly know what we dont! But thinking about how a wider spectrum of ages and backgrounds would react on this week, in past weeks and in future weeks is what truly gives a brunch universal appeal. We also do sneaky spot checks to see if they were simply having an off day, or had pulled out their finest china for our visit 😉

      With Vesna, the differentiation is truly authentic, and there were others we wanted to mention that followed a clear theme, but we will save those for another roundup (Evening Drunches)

      Thanks for reading…and Happy Brunching.x

  5. Beth Boyett November 27, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Just wondering whether you have insight into New Year’s Brunch locations for 2017?

    • FooDiva November 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Beth – NY’s Day brunches are so unnecessarily overpriced here, it’s not something we are keen to support, let alone publicise!

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