Brunches seem to be becoming a worldwide phenomenon at the moment and are more popular than ever in the UK. But no brunch I have ever had has come close to those in Dubai. These are an institution ion Dubai. They are all you can eat, all you can drink brunches that are held all over the city on Friday mornings (weekends are Friday, Saturday here).
To say these are decadent would be an understatement, these brunches are like a lot (no, everything actually) in Dubai,completely over the top – but a hell of a lot of fun. So far I have done 2 very different ones, at 100 a head they aren’t cheap, but with the right strategy and attitude, you can definitely get your money’s worth!
The Madinat Jumeirah is a huge complex of very lovely hotels, bars and restaurants right on the beach. The Al Qasr brunch was recommended to me as a nice romantic one, so Jen and I headed off on her first trip to Dubai. We arrived at tis stunning venue, hungry and raring to go!
At these brunches there really is anything you can think of and the helpful people have even created a map to help navigate around the huge number of food and drink stations.
I started off at the Charcutterie section, and as I always do went a little overboard on the cured meats, endless slices of chorizo, parma ham and salami. After that came the Seafood and Sushi course, with another plate piled high with Tuna, California Rolls, Lobster, Prawns and Crab
I won’t detail everything else I ate as a) there was too much to list and b) I cant remember it all (nothing to do with the endless prosecco – I promise!), but from what I can remember over the space of the 4 hours I managed to try: Sushi, Sahim, Lobster, Crab, Prawns, Wagyu beef, Dim Sum, Duck Pancakes, Mini Burgers, More prawns, some pizza, some Lebanese Manoushe’h, more prawns, more beef, and so much cheese – I don’t even think I touched the desserts, which going by these pictures might have been a mistake!
With this many different types of food, you would have thought the quality would be that of a Toby Carvery (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with a Toby Carvery) but the food was all cooked to an incredible standard – it really was 5* dining – incredible and I have no idea how they do it!
Alongside this was bottomless drinks, Prosecco was poured all day, but there were stations dotted around, serving G & T’s, Moscow Mules, JD and Cokes, Rum Cocktails served in coconuts (of which Jen had about 5!). I wrapped it up with a Cognac and Cigar – Pretentious Moi?!?
So if Al Qasr brunch is at the high, posh end of the brunches then Saffron at the Atlantis, is at the other end of the spectrum! This one is raucous, boozy and ended with people dancing on tables to the Grease MegaMix at 4 in the afternoon – you get the picture!
Saffron at Atlantis
Atlantis is the massive hotel perched at the end of the man made Palm Jumeirah Island. It is an incredible hotel and the brunch is held in one of the many restaurants called Saffron.
At times it felt like we were spending the day in Marbella, or on the set of The Only Way is Essex, and I can’t believe some of the sights we saw – but it was an amazing experience to share with Jen and our great friends Rich and Dani.
Whilst the food is not quite as good as Al Qasr in terms of quality, they make up for it in sheer volume of choices, and the ridiculous booze options!
The star of the show was undoubtedly this monster piece of beef at the Carvery. Now this really does look like Brontosaurus!).
Amazingly for a piece so big it was beautifully cooked with lovely crispy bits on the outside and still pink i the middle – some very impressive cooking!
The Carvery was the most popular of stations (you can take the brits out of England … ) but alongside that was an incredible selection of almost everything you can think of. Over the course of the 3 and a half hours I managed to try a great range of food including English Breakfast (obvs), Sushi, Sashimi, prawns, lobster , Chinese style pork belly with crispy crackling skin, Dim Sum, some fantastic mutton curry served with Naan, – oh and a full roast beef complete with roast potatoes and veg
Now my game plan was better this time and I managed to visit most stations, only having a small amount at each – the food was great, but let’s be honest the real reason you go to Atlantis is to drink and party, and we certainly did that.
Here there were stations for everything, Singapore Slims, Mojitos, JD and ginger ale, Jamesons whisky (complete with flat cap!).
Alongside this were unidentifiable cocktails served in Pineapples, Coconuts and most ridiculously in Watermelons, we tried them all. Pipettes with some unknown (disgusting) alcohol, and even a Jaeger stand serving shots neat.
Brunch ran from 12.30 to 4 – and if I am honest I cant remember the rest of the day, just remembering stumbling home about 9, still full and a little bleary eyed!
If you ever find yourself in Dubai, I thoroughly recommend you get involved in a Brunch, they aren’t cheap, but they are so much fun and really sum up Dubai, OTT, Fun, Decadent and Silly – I Love ‘em.