With brunch having become such an institution, the notion of a global feast overlooking the new Dubai Water Canal certainly piqued David Tapley’s interest as he arrived at the charming Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City for a mammoth dining experience…
Friday afternoons in the UAE are often associated with brunch, yet brunch in this part of the world is not the hybrid meal that lies somewhere between breakfast and lunch with which the terminology is often associated. Instead, diners are treated to an all out assault of the senses offering an unlimited array of food and drink that is bound to leave even the most seasoned of brunchers in a self-induced food coma for the remainder of the day.
Dubai has long been described as a melting pot of cultures, from the people to the food and this idea is reflected in the international dishes offered at the aptly named City Brunch, situated within the light and airy all-day-dining restaurant, The Market. It’s a sprawling restaurant of marble floors and extravagant drapes, upholstered in vibrant green, white and turquoise hues which give the impression of dining beneath an elaborate circus tent. Tables are well configured with livecooking stations and counters laden with produce used to break up the large space. For larger parties, pockets of privacy can be found within a number of intimate dining alcoves. On arrival, we’re greeted with smiles and genuine warmth that carries through our entire dining experience.
Predominantly buffet, the City Brunch boasts an impressive spread that takes diners on a culinary journey around the globe. Beginning with the Arabic section where you can enjoy tender shish tawook and beautifully crisp fatayer, before moving through to an expansive Indian corner packed full of pani puri, freshly made naan breads and a particularly impressive dal makani. A short hop through to South East Asia brings together many of our brunch favourites including Peking duck pancakes, hand-pulled noodles in a rich coconut broth and plenty of dim sum! Whether it’s char siu or siu mai you’re after, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed.
Most impressive is the sushi counter, featuring a good selection of nigiri and maki rolls in various flavour combinations, yet it’s the sashimi that truly impresses with the thick slices presented within the fish itself! It may be a little too much for some, but the presentation is innovative and a definite talking point of the brunch.
The City Brunch can also proudly boast the title of most condiments and accompaniments on a carvery station in Dubai. Aside from the ample meat selection (14 hour slow-cooked beef, prime rib, chicken, lamb, salmon en croute and short ribs) the number of vegetables, sauces and gravies is quite astounding – covering everything from the expected horseradish sauce through to herb jus, Brussels sprouts, Yorkshire puddings, sweet potato fries and everything in between. British expats will surely love this element of the brunch as it provides a real taste of home. With such an expansive selection of food, we’re impressed to discover the seafood section where fresh crustaceans such as whole lobster and king crab legs are displayed upon ice and within wooden buckets. Oysters are freshly-shucked upon request but this particular brunch is not all about indulgence.
The ability to construct your own salad offers much appeal, as do the premium ingredients. With burrata cheese, quinoa and asparagus spears being just some of the enticing ingredients offered. A cheese room again presents an overwhelming choice, though the cheese deteriorates quickly during the course of brunch leaving a melted mess by the time we venture up after dessert.
Speaking of desserts, the team at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City have managed to achieve both quantity and quality with a small hot section boasting a sticky toffee pudding and Middle Eastern favourite of Umm Ali, before transitioning through to the cold desserts of tiramisu, trifles and ice creams, and the sweet shop with its fizzy cola bottles and fluffy marshmallows. The dessert counters are virtually heaving under the weight of all the cakes and cookies, each carefully constructed and adorned with edible gold – and we’re not complaining!
Service is snappy and particularly friendly, with children’s’ wants and needs exceptionally well catered too. There’s a live DJ who manages to create a fun atmosphere (no easy task considering the size of the venue) with his mix of club classics and early 90s R&B, bound to bring on pangs of nostalgia.
What the City Brunch manages to do so well is offer mass-market appeal. With such an impressive selection of food and beverages and a pleasing kids area, there really is something to suit everyone. ✤
GO: THE CITY BRUNCH TAKES PLACE EVERY FRIDAY FROM 1PM TO 4.30PM. KIDS CAN ENJOY A VARIETY OF TREATS AND HEALTHY DISHES FOR JUST AED150 WHILE THE GROWN-UPS INDULGE IN FOOD AND SOFT DRINKS FOR AED300, OR THE HOUSE BEVERAGE PACKAGE AT AED425. CALL (0)4 437 3333 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.