My toddler is adorable, but she’s no Kate Middleton when it comes to composure. Perhaps that’s the reason why we prefer to leave our mini-tornado with our nanny before heading out to restaurants.
But recently, after a lot of deliberation and some nanny trouble, my husband and I decided to take a risk (your definition of adventure undergoes a massive alteration after becoming a parent).
We ventured out to try the seafood-dominated Friday brunch laid out at Ewaan, at The Palace, Old Town, with our terror in tow.
As parents, we tend to be slightly sensitive to our toddler and their tantrums. But there was something soothing about this classy but remarkably unstuffy restaurant.
The attentive staff – who were consistently expressionless when my child attempted cartwheels or reached for the breakable champagne flutes (they didn’t have an unbreakable tumbler option) made us feel right at home.
The food is abundant but doesn’t fall into that familiar eat-all-you-can buffet. The array of seafood salad platters, caviar and lobster pots lure you into a try-anything-once attitude.
But before you scramble to the seafood counters, step into the salad station. The usual suspects such as the Nicoise and Greek salad are there but be sure to try the thin slices of beetroot topped up with buffalo mozzarella and a sliver of grapefruit. Bursting with flavours and colours, the salad is absolutely refreshing. If you have ditched your diet for the day, head for the counter with deep-fried delicacies. The lobster claws dipped in saffron batter and the giant prawns with their puffy crust are crispy and cooked to perfection.
For all seafood lovers, don’t be hard on yourself if you become a constant at the caviar and oyster stations. My husband — who wasn’t big on trying oysters — gave it a shot and loved the sea flavour and the traditional red wine vinegar and shallot mignonette sauce. Watching adults slurp down fresh-as-sea oysters seems to make a child happy (Believe me, when there are no clowns around such antics gain importance).
There are choices for meat lovers with the usual chicken drumsticks, beef ribs and lamb rack on offer, but it is seafood that runs the show. The crabmeat placed back in its own shell with cilantro and cherry tomatoes is a must-try along with the classic lobster thermidor and razor clams filled with a garlic-infused seafood mix.
However, the prawns and chicken tandoori that come fresh off a charcoal grill nail the smoky flavour but lacks much else.
For those craving rice, the mushroom biryani offers a welcome change. Usually made with mixed vegetables or chicken, the giant-sized morels slathered with rich coriander masala and mixed together with buttered rice were drool-worthy.
The variety in desserts was equally staggering. Don’t beat yourself with a lobster claw if you can’t demolish all of the sweets laid out. The pearl macaroons are crunchy and the mango and coconut mousse cake will transport you to a tropical island — if you can block out the sight of a child clobbering around like a lobster.
Don’t Miss It
Where: Ewaan, The Palace, Old Town
Must-Have: Oysters, mushroom biryani
Atmosphere: Formal yet not stuffy
Décor: Arabian architecture with long drapes, Arabian motifs on the ceiling and walls.
Cost: Dh390 (inclusive of beverages). Dh245 (fresh juices) and kids under six eat free.