Our first brunch in Dubai and as many people who know their brunches better than us pointed out, we’d gone big. It was Josh’s 30th so we thought we’d start at the top and choose the creme de la creme (in many people’s opinion) that is Al Qasr. Risky you could say – were we only ever going to be disappointed going forward at every other brunch? Time would tell!
When first booking our table online the novice that I am asked for a table for 2pm. The response from the restaurant, very politely, suggested that most guests arrived for the start time of 12.30pm. We went with their suggestion…and so had everyone else. We arrived to a lot of people waiting in the reception overlooking the tables and food (I could just make out the sushi station) below. Note to self – if you want to make the most of brunch then never arrive late.
Although busy, they knew how to organise the masses and in a matter of minutes we were at our table – an outside table near Al Hamba restaurant. It was still pretty hot for us Brits even in November but we were in the shade and keen to make the most of being outdoors. If you’ve got a preference for where you’d like to sit then it’s definitely worth mentioning this when booking.
We’d been given advice repeatedly by the brunch experts to take it steady. So we took our glass of pink bubbles (handed on arrival) and explored the different options. The brunch is spread across the three restaurants housed in Al Qasr so there’s a lot to explore. And I could already see what the problem was going to be. I wanted everything and they had everything. Now I saw why a 2pm start would be madness. Every cuisine under the sun had it’s own station. From your traditional British mini fish and chips, through to paella, curry, steak and everything else in between. And that’s before you even turned your attention to the cheese counter or the desserts. Both of which also seemed to be endless in options.
It was important to get our bearings as every corner in Al Qasr provided a new food station that we could have sworn wasn’t there the last time we’d walked through. I’d recommend this stroll rather than getting too excited and going straight in. Although tempting to do that, I tried restraint, and for the first hour at least, it paid off.
And then there were the drinks – again pick your spirit and it’s there. Whether you fancy an Aperol Spritz, a Gin and Tonic, a Moquito or Jack Daniels in a tin cup, they’ve got plenty. (We’d witness later that the drinks really get going with half an hour to go – tables are stock piled with every spirit).
Needless to say despite my best efforts the excitement got the better of me and I left uncomfortably full. I couldn’t even get my fair share of drinks after getting carried away on the food. (I personally think it was the macaroon shaped like a burger that sent me passed the point of no return).
But despite my pains and regrets at the end for not listening to the pros advice, I can say I loved it and I’m definitely a brunch convert.
Yes it’s expensive but you just try and eat that much variety of food and have as many drinks for a similar price in a similar setting anywhere else.
So here’s to more Friday brunches, but will they live up to the Al Qasr king of all brunches? I’ll need to do some more research to find out…