Hola Hola Toro Toro brunch, Grosvenor House Best for meat lovers
With a name like Hola Hola, a celebrity chef behind the menu and a restaurant in the glitzy Grosvenor House, how could I have resisted a Toro Toro brunch? Located on the waterfront, tucked around the side of the hotel, I didn’t need directions – I just had to follow the gorgeous scent of Latino-style cooking.
The Hola Hola brunch is billed as Latin American hospitality and dining at its best, and it lives up to the hype – and then some. Walking into the uber chic and cosy eaterie – it’s all dark wood, with a giant floor-to-ceiling fireplace and two bull sculptures – just a few moments after brunch began I was surprised to see it was already packed. Luckily we’d booked and our waitress led us to a table right by the window so we could watch the glamorous people in their yachts glide by.
But our attention was soon diverted to things closer at hand: we were each given the set à la carte menu along with two coloured coasters. Green meant ‘keep the food coming’ and red ‘I’m having a rest’, or at least that’s the gist, not the exact translation as it was written in what I presume to be Spanish.
Already flipping their coasters, I could tell the children were going to have fun with this – and we all bet my husband could eat all the meat this establishment had to offer. His large carnivorous appetite is legendary among our family and friends and this was going to be a challenge he, if not his waistline, would love. But before the churrasco grill, bursting with South American flavours, could get going we had to try the starters.
You expect a Pan Latin restaurant to offer tortilla chips and guacamole, but there is guacamole and then there is Toro Toro guacamole: smooth, velvety, with a tiny kick, this was the finest mashed avocado I’ve ever tasted. I ladled lashings on my plate, then dipped in the chips. The children copied, before diving into seafood ceviche, and a first for me, a quinoa tabouli, which was delicious.
There was every type of salad you could think of available, along with the children’s favourite, yuca fries and crispy calamari. My husband loved the salmon flatbread with hot horseradish, while I couldn’t get enough of the zucchini flower empanadas, which reminded me of an Italian dish, but instead of being fried in batter they were encased in melt-in-the-mouth flaky pastry. With each bite, cheese and roasted corn Poblano chilli oozed out. Delicious! To be honest, once I’d devoured them, I was full and so used my red coaster to let the waiters know, but the carnivores of the family remained on green.
They dined on empanadas, beef-stuffed pastries and I was worried they wouldn’t have room for the grill. But they were on a roll and we soon became the favoured table for the passadors – the waiters serving the grilled lamb, chicken and beef from skewers. “Tender,’ my husband murmured after a mouthful of lamb. “Yum,” he muttered, tasting the achiotemarinated chicken. My five-yearold daughter didn’t say anything, she was too busy eating her Brazilian-style Pichana steak. She let her green coaster do the talking, and went for another helping. My husband joined her, oohing and aahing over each skilfully cooked morsel. My son and I watched them with a grin, knowing that we’d saved enough room for the grand finale: dessert.
Sadly, the carnivores were too full so we ate extra large portions of banana pudding with ice cream before turning everyone’s coasters to red. Finally, we were completo.
Details: The Hola Hola Toro Toro Friday brunch is available from 12.30pm-4pm every Friday from Dh300-Dh400 depending on chosen package. 04 399 8888