Brunching in Dubai has become a tradition for expats and visitors alike. Brunching typically takes place on a Friday the first day of the weekend, however you can find brunches on most days of the week nowadays. A brunch is normally 3 to 4 hours long and is all you can eat and drink within this time period for a set price.
With the mix of good food, good company and not forgetting the copious amounts of alcohol consumed what \starts out as a classy day out can quickly turn into carnage. There has been many a sight of girls who started the day off in their finery, stumbling home stilettos in hand and makeup and hair looking less than pristine. Male testosterone often kicks in fuelled by the alcohol and individuals get louder and louder and sometimes feel obliged to defend some minor point which can’t be recalled on the following day.
Strange given the above, with Friday being holy day for the Muslim Emirati’s and many other residents, brunching or specifically the consumption of large amounts of alcohol is allowed and encouraged. Why are Friday brunches allowed? I will let you figure that one out for yourself but given the venues are usually in hotels which are profit making organizations and the amount of revenue brunching generates you don’t have to be Einstein!
But do be respectful of local customs and laws. You don’t want to make headlines, the infamous “sex on the beach” incident was blamed on the Friday brunch.
Now to look at the brunches and venues themselves. There are no “bad” brunches in Dubai however they do vary significantly in quality which is usually reflected in the prices.
Located in the Le Meridien Hotel in Garhoud, Yalumba is one of the most “Infamous” brunches in Dubai. An Australian themed restaurant it caters for all tastes and the variety of food is amazing ranging from seafood to steaks on the barbeque. Friday brunch lasts from 12.30 till 3.30 and costs 449AED per person which includes un limitless champagne. Service is good and you hardly ever end up with an empy glass. As the afternoon wears on it can be a bit raucous.
Al Qasr Hotel Madinat Jumeirah
Al Qasr means 'The Palace' and is the centre-piece of Madinat Jumeirah It is designed to reflect a Sheikh’s summer residence. Approached via a tree-lined avenue, adorned with beautifully sculpted Arabian horses, Al Qasr is simply breathtaking – a tribute to age-old architectural styles of majestic elegance.
The food is stunning and with its many service stations you are spoilt for choice. With bubbly, cocktail jugs and all kinds of wines and spirits, be careful that you do not end in the water. A bit pricey at 495AED but worth it for the setting and ambience.
Spectrum On One
Spectrum on One in the Fairmont Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road was the first to popularise the Friday champagne brunch. Handed a glass of Moet when you arrive is the perfect way to start the afternoon. The dining experience covers Thai, Japanese, Chinese, European and Middle Eastern cuisine. Each has its own live cooking station, so you can watch whilst your food is prepared to your exact specification. I challenge you to try and sample everything within the three hours. Is one of the more expensive brunches at 550AED per person.
For those looking for a less expensive option to Friday brunching then consider:-
Difficult to find off Skeikh Zayed Road behind what only can be described as a construction site, the Locker Room in the Goldin Tulip Hotel in Al Barsha is a hidden gem for those that want a pub setting for their Friday brunch.
The place itself is more of a sports bar with numerous screens playing a multitude of sports events. On Friday the local DJ plays old school music and you can be guaranteed the tiny dance floor and empty spaces will be filled with would be John Travolta’s.
In terms of value for money 149AED, the brunch is good with an excellent outside bbq. Now that they have restricted the service to one drink per person on return of the empty glass the wait time can be frustrating if the place is full which is often the case. Also it can become very smokey.
As the brunch starts later than others at 4pm, it can be rather loud and brash if the crowd is made up of people who have already been to one brunch. Very messy!!!!
In the Al Murooj Rotana Dubai - Next to Sheikh Zayed Rd, this venue is one of the best known in Dubai. It’s Friday brunch is not for the faint hearted with unlimited food and beverages from 12 till 4.00 at 159AED per person. Book early if you want to sit outside as inside can become very loud as the resident DJ picks up the tempo as the afternoon wears on.
The food is traditionally pub fare catering for ex pats so nothing too flashy but good roast beef and curry!!!! Drinks are limited to selected beverages so can be disappointment for sum if their chosen tipple is not on the list.
Hope you enjoyed my quick trip around brunching in Dubai, if you have any comments/views please feel free to reply.