Life & Style | Food

Scene's favourite Friday brunches

Brunch season’s back, and to celebrate we’ve let you in on our pick of the UAE’s ultimate weekend feasts

  • By Nyree McFarlane, Deputy Editor, Scene magazine
  • Published: 12:21 September 18, 2012
  • Scene

Bubbalicious, Traiteur and Saffron
  • Image Credit: Supplied pictures
  • From left: Bubbalicious, Traiteur and Saffron.

Traiteur

Best for: A first class experience
Our favourite dish: The freshly grilled lobster
Dress code inspiration: Kate Middleton – understated elegance
With a beautiful, Marina-view terrace and some of the finest food you’ll ever sample, this is a special occasion brunch that has all the fun, but none of the tack. Start off with some freshly shucked Fine de Claire oysters, before sampling cold cuts from the charcuterie and tucking into a finely crafted Eggs Benedict. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the homemade ice cream. Post-meal, stroll across to the hotel’s very St Tropez bar, The Terrace for a few expertly mixed cocktails and a view of the sunset dancing over the Creek.
Cost Dh425 non-alcoholic; Dh495 with grape and hops; Dh550 with bubbles
Park Hyatt, Deira, Dubai | 12.30pm-4pm, Fridays | 04 602 1234

Zuma

Best for: People watching
Out favourite dish: While the Miso cod is obviously a popular choice, it’s the tartare-style sashimi and the hot noodle station that keeps us coming back
Dress code inspiration: Victoria Beckham – city glam
Step into the sun-drenched, elegant dining room of this hip Japanese eatery and you’ll feel like you’re strutting into the kind of place the girls from SATC would hang out in NYC. The space is always packed with Dubai’s glitterati, and the food is healthy and fresh. There’s a sushi and starters buffet – which is actually our favourite part of the culinary journey – and you can then choose a main to be served to your table (we love the yuzu drenched giant tiger prawn) before enjoying the mini treats in the dessert buffet.
Cost Dh315 with soft drinks, Dh425 with house beverages and Dh550 with bubbles (plus, there’s a  10 per cent DIFC service charge) Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai | 12.30pm-3pm, Fridays | 04 425 5660

Bubbalicious

Best for: A big spread with a laid-back atmosphere
Our favourite dish: The entire cheese section – they have 100 varieties, it’s our fromage fantasy.
Dress code inspiration: Jessica Alba – chic but not overdone.
This brunch is spread across three separate restaurants (and benefits from the culinary expertise of all of them) and while the main space of Blue Orange is busy and family-friendly, book a table in Hunters Room & Grill or the Spice Emporium if you seek a quieter, more refined experience. The buffet is epic – from some of the best dim sum we’ve ever had, to an English roast, a delicious curry section and even a Liquid nitrogen station,  so you’ll need to plan our your eating strategy at this one. If you’re going with little ones, they have a jumping castle and a petting zoo to keep them entertained, and even have Chinese acrobats and a jazz band to keep big kids entertained.
Cost Dh350 per person with soft drinks, Dh490 per person with sparkling grape, Dh590 per person with bubbles The Westin, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai | 1pm-4pm, Fridays | 04 399 4141

CuiScene

Best for: A big buffet in the capital
Our favourite dish:  The sushi, as unlike many brunches, they make it fresh for you upon order
Dress code inspiration: Cameron Diaz – dressy but beachy (you’re right on the ocean)
Just off the main island of Abu Dhabi, this brilliant brunch is in CuiScene, and also spills into neighbouring Frankie’s (it’s just so darned popular, they needed more seats). The food at this hotel is above par, and the buffet is jammed with crisp salads, crunchy tempura, freshly grilled meats (we love the maple glazed chicken) and more. Book a table on the outside terrace and look out over the glistening sea – lush.
Cost Dh249 with soft drinks, Dh299 with hops and grape and Dh469 with bubbly (plus there’s a 10 per cent service charge, and a 6 per cent tourism fee)
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Between Two Bridges, Abu Dhabi | 12pm-4pm, Fridays | 02 654 3333

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Imperium

Best for: Opulence
Our favourite dish: The frog legs – different, we know, but definitely tasty
Dress code inspiration: Kareena Kapoor – sparkly and ready to party
Walking into this French-brasserie brunch the first thing you’ll notice is the ridiculous opulence of the room its housed in – giant chandeliers dangle from the celestially high ceilings and the walls are adorned with Renaissance-style paintings (probs not originals, we imagine). And the decadence doesn’t stop at the décor – from foie gras to terrines and brilliantly tender beef and indulgent French desserts, we think even Marie Antoinette would be happy with the banquet they put on. Plus, if you finish up brunch but are keen to keep the party going, all brunchers get buy-one-get-one-free drinks at the hotel’s futuristic cocktail spot, Voda Bar, from 4pm-9pm.
Cost Dh275 with soft drinks, Dh395 with house beverages and Dh550 with bubbles
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, The Palm Jumeirah | 1pm-4pm, Fridays | 04 453 0444

Saffron

Best for: Dine and then dance, aka an all-out party
Our favourite dish: The Baileys ice cream is some next level stuff
Dress code inspiration: Cheryl Cole – pretty and fun
This is one of those, starts-out-as-a-quiet-meal-ends-up-a-knees-up-party kind of places, and sometimes that’s just what Team SCENE feels like. There’s a DJ on from the start, there are no under 21s allowed and the spread is truly epic, and the food very good – the roast beef and dim sum are two of our favourite stops – and we love the cocktails that come in melons and coconuts (did we mention this is a party brunch?).
Cost Dh435 per person with house beverages Atlantis, The Palm | 12.30pm-4pm, Fridays | 04 426 2626

Splendido

Best for: A brunch that, while decadent, feels more like a lazy lunch

Our favourite dish: The freshly cooked pasta (closely followed by the laksa noodles)
Dress code inspiration: JenAn - chic but not overdone   
Sitting in this contemporary Italian restaurant with its blend of wood, copper and marble and its perfectly picked art almost feels like being in a restaurant in Manhattan. Well, that’s until you step out onto the large outdoor patio and straight onto a palm tree-filled garden bordering the ocean. The food here is about quality and not quantity, and you’ll definitely want to save room for dessert – the pastry chef here’s a genius.
Cost Dh135 for children aged five-twelve, Dh275 with soft drinks, Dh375 with sparkling wines and house beverages, Dh695 with Laurent-Perrier The Ritz Carlton, JBR | 12.30pm-3.30pm, Fridays | 04 399 4000

Radisson Blu, Deira

Best for: foodie families
Our favourite dish: While we love it all, the Persian fare from Shabestan is something special
Dress code inspiration: Jessica Simpson - new mum chic
This lovely, creekside hotel is known for its brilliant restaurants, and come Friday, during their Fun Food Festival, the second floor bursts to the brim with food from its eateries,  with Japanese fare from Minato, Persian from Shabestan, seafood from Fish Market, Italian from La Moda, carveries from Palm Grill, Brit pub grub from The Pub, Chinese delicacies from The China Club, mezze from Boulvar and more. Kids – who pay based on their height (those under a metre dine for free) – are kept busy with cooking lessons, cup cake decorating and a magician, so that you can truly focus on the food.
Cost Dh155 with soft drinks Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek | 12.30pm-4pm, Fridays | 04 205 7333

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