TOKO launches weekday lunch

Want to eat at the new Downtown Dubai modern Japanese spot — whose delicious dinners we reviewed last week — for Dh125? Check out their new three-course ‘Joto’ menu at lunch. Expect dishes such as panfried scallop with sweet pickled apple and jalapeno garlic dressing, sliced kingfish with yuzu dressing and chives, smoked miso salmon with pickled ginger and lime, lamb tsukune mince balls, plus a miso soup, edamame and green tea. Available noon-3.15pm; call 04-4428383.

An Argentine at Grand Hyatt

Market Cafe’s latest guest chef is Cristian Nieva from Park Hyatt Mendoza, in town from 23-28 February with a meat-heavy menu as well as seafood. Highlights are meat empanadas (pastries), lomo (beef tenderloin) and locro soup; an unlimited Argentinian meal is Dh219 per person, including soft beverages); call 04-3172222.

Caviar and a butler at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

The Palm hotel’s Imperium brunch — already a top draw in the luxury brunch stakes — has upped its game further with the addition of the Royale Brunch package, which, for Dh2,500, gives guests a bottle of Dom Perignon each and Beluga caviar served by your table’s personal butler. Those who opt for the Royale package also get ‘preferred seating’, either in the restaurant, the private dining room or on the terrace. The Friday brunch, which is a mix of a la carte and buffet-style serving, also comes in three other packages. Call 04-4530000

New at Waldorf Astoria hotels

Three-star Michelin chef Heinz Beck has opened his first Middle Eastern restaurant, Social, at the new Palm Jumeirah hotel, with a ‘fine-casual dining concept’. The German-born chef of La Pergola — one of Rome’s top restaurants — serves light dishes with a seafood slant such as grilled tuna with wasabi mayonnaise, almonds and amaretti (a starter) and soya-poached beef fillet with black truffle and radicchio stuffed, from a short menu. He’ll be travelling to the UAE fairly frequently — having been here last weekend, he returns in around three weeks to check on the kitchen. This reporter tried one of his famous Raspberries 1.0. desserts at a media preview on Monday night; the verdict is two thumbs up. Meanwhile, over at the sister hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, the hotel’s tea lounge Camelia has launched an afternoon tea, with a collection of more than 150 tea blends by TWG Tea, served alongside a silver afternoon tea stand with sandwiches, cakes and scones with cream, served inside or on the terrace.

Conrad Dubai goes brunch

Sicilian restaurant Ballaro, inspired by the Italian island’s market of the same name, this Friday starts its ‘garden terrace Friday brunch’ with dishes inspired by the world’s markets served from live cooking stations, from Italian and Indonesian to French, Filipino and Spanish. It’s from 12.30-4pm, from Dh265 (soft drinks) and Dh365 with house drinks, Dh465 with bubbly. Call 04-4447100.

More Café’s cooking challenge

Think you’ve got the best dessert in town? Send the recipe (and a picture) to More Cafe until March 22 to enter their cooking challenge; after judging, three finalists will take part in a cook-off at More Cafe, DIFC in April. The recipe must be made using only locally available ingredients and take no longer than 30 minutes to create, from start to finish. Ingredients can cost no more than Dh6 per portion. Prizes include brunch for four at More Café. Post the recipe on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/MoreCafe.UAE?fref=ts