Anybody who knows anything about the UAE knows that they don’t do things by halves. From the world’s tallest building to the most luxurious hotel, the Emiratis pull out all of the stops when it comes to impressing the world. And their legendary Friday brunches, which are on offer at most of the major hotels, certainly don’t disappoint.
A must-do on the tourist calendar, brunches usually kick off at midday and end at 4pm, during which time you can eat and drink as much as you like. And I’m not talking about an Eggs Benedict here – the food on offer is out of this world with more choice than you know what to do with, and the drinks are just as generous with an abundance of cocktails to choose from, alongside the usual wines, beers and spirits. So there is lots of fun to be had.
The brunches are generally not cheap at about £100 per person, but if you love your food and have an appetite for a few tipples, it’s worth every penny. Especially when you consider Dubai prices in general which are on the steep side for eating – and especially drinking – out.
I have the bitter-sweet reality of having my sister and her family live in Dubai; bitter because I miss them dearly, sweet because I get to holiday in Dubai at a fraction of the usual cost.
We first visited them in 2013 when we were introduced to the brunch we’d heard so much about. My sister chose Jumeirah Beach hotel for our ‘brunch initiation’, one of Dubai’s iconic beachfront hotels.
Off the main restaurant area are several rooms, each with different food ‘stations’. From seafood to chinese, curries to roast beef dinners, the food was exquisite. Mojitos and Prosecco were on tap and the service was second-to-none. We left four hours later feeling extremely merry and full-to-bursting.
When we returned to Dubai this month, we were lucky enough to take a trip to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, about a forty-minute drive from Dubai. Home to the F1 Grand Prix, Yas Island is a holiday maker’s paradise with renowned attractions including Ferrari World and Yas Water Park, as well as an uber cool beach.
In celebration of Mr M’s birthday, we’d planned to have brunch at the Viceroy Hotel. Situated on Yas Marina and encircled by the F1 circuit, the Viceroy makes for quite a spectacle, so we were excited to visit for the occasion. Our expectations were high given our previous experience at Jumeirah Beach hotel and I’m pleased to say that we weren’t disappointed.
After being greeted with a glass of Prosecco on arrival, we were seated in the restaurant which is light and airy with spectacular views over the marina. I took the opportunity before the crowds descended to take a walk around the various food stations which again included cuisine from across the world, a never-ending deli, an outdoor barbecue area for grilled lobster, lamb cutlets and beef ribs, a seafood station, a counter for roast joints, endless desserts, chocolate fountains, made-to-order ice-cream…the choice was endless. So much so that I started to panic about the prospect of not having enough time to sample everything I wanted!
I’m a big fan of antipasti, so was in my element to discover a whole station dedicated to this and could have filled up on cured meats, stuffed peppers and olives alone…I moved onto the oriental station, before trying the lobster and the beef wellington which was cooked to perfection. Mr M loves oysters so he had his fair share of these.
Dessert for me was ice-cream which the staff made to order using liquid nitrogen (of course!), and various cakes and chocolate truffles. All washed down with multiple margaritas – heaven on earth!
If there’s one thing you do when you visit Dubai and the UAE – make it brunch.