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The rise and rise of the evening brunch

Mariah Carey may be taking the credit for inventing linner, but UAE hotels thought it up first — and it isn’t going anywhere

  • Mariah Carey is credited with inventing linner by her fansImage Credit: Rex features
  • Jan Schmidt, Assistant F&B Director at Fairmont Fujairah Beach ResortImage Credit: Supplied
  • Jorge Rivero, Head Chef at Brasserie 2.0 at the Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa in DubaiImage Credit: Supplied
GN Focus

Everyone’s favourite weekend pastime has just been dealt a massive blow. The queen of trends, as Mariah Carey is often saluted by her fans, declared in a recent tweet that the time-honoured, uber-popular, elaborate affair that is brunch is over — and that linner is the new way forward.

That’s a lunch-dinner hybrid, for people living under rocks. So is it time to disband your brunch squad, bid fond adieu to those perfectly plated quinoa-avocado salmon eggs Benedict and launch into evening brunches? If all the Mimi-inspired #linneristhenewbrunch food memes clogging our feeds are to be believed, yes.

But while the pop diva might have exercised her influencer status a bit, we can’t help but laugh at that section of her fans who think she invented linner. Hey Mariah fans, we in Dubai have done evening brunches for, well, eons. It’s all a lot of us have ever wanted for Christmas, and one fine year we had it!

And the UAE continues to tempt with a drawn-out, indulgent late-brunch offering, as evident in the multitude of restaurants around the Emirates that currently offer this fun alternative to traditional brunches; from Dubai to Fujairah, it’s prevalent and popular.

Jan Schmidt, Assistant F&B Director at Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, attributes Linner’s rise in popularity to residents here always being interested in new dining experiences and fresh concepts.

“And with an evening brunch, you can still head out late for dinner and your weekend continues into the rest of the night,” says Schmidt. “I would even consider this trend to have been inspired by the traditional Spanish dining culture where dinner typically only starts around 10pm. Prior to this, one would head out for pre-dinner tapas.”

Schmidt should know. After all the hotel’s Thursday night brunch concept launched last year was well-received both by in-house guests and visiting diners, their “Dupper” (dinner-supper, and might we add, it certainly has a better ring than linner) is set to have a new home at the new Lava Beach Club this month, also moving away from classic seated brunch to “more of a self-service roving street food safari experience with live cooking stations, live DJ sets and bonfires on the beach”.

The enthusiasm is echoed across the Emirates by Chef Jorge Rivero, Head Chef at Brasserie 2.0 at the Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai, whose evening brunch complete with (waiters dressed as) cowboys, 12-hour slow-cooked beef and a Texas band has seen a steady growth in popularity each week over the past six months.

“Evening brunches had not been explored that much in the market, however they proved very popular once launched,” Rivero says. “A lot of our guests like to spend Friday with their family or friends, or enjoying the weather, so our BBQ brunch on a Thursday caters to their needs exactly.”

Over at the Steigenberger Hotel in Business Bay, Chef John Martho Buenaventura, the CEO and Culinary Director of Cuisinero Uno restaurant, says the late chilled-out vibe of its brunch offering on Fridays works very well for those choosing not to forgo their weekend sleep-in after a long work week — or a crazy Thursday night out.

“It gives Dubai residents enough time to do chores and errands in the morning… it’s more about maximising their time so they can enjoy the rest of the weekend,” he says.

And if Dubai dwellers are great at anything, it’s maximising their weekends. As Dubai resident and avid late-brunch goer Rida Bee, 22, puts it, “It’s a new, lavish excuse to eat out — what’s not to love?”


3 more to try


Crazy Drunch Billionaire Mansion

On the terrace of the newly opened Crazy Pizza restaurant, tuck into Burrata, Wagyu gyoza, sushi, black cod and of course, a selection of pizzas.
Details Fridays from 7pm to 12am; From Dh450;
Call 04 510 3100

Mercury Lounge, Four Seasons

With views of Downtown Dubai and the Arabian Gulf, you’ll be served Mediterranean-inspired antipasti, light starters and sharing plates, brought to your table in ‘blind brunch’ style at this stunning lounge
Details Thursdays from 8pm to 11pm; From Dh350; Call 04 270 7804.

Sushi & Bubbles at Cavalli

Glam it up at this nightspot with Dubai’s It crowd and delicious Asian food. Think platters of sushi and sashimi, washed down
with bubbles.
Details Wednesdays from 8.30pm to midnight; Dh299; Call 050 991 0400