Brunch re­views

With a plethora of bril­liant brunches to choose from, Karen Pasquali Jones sam­ples some of Dubai’s best week­end de­lights for both adults and chil­dren

Friday - - Contents -

Fam­ily-friendly feasts in Dubai.

BEST FOR: AMAZ­ING EN­TER­TAIN­MENT Ibn Bat­tuta Gate

At first glance the im­pres­sive high­ceilinged Al Ba­hou ban­quet­ing hall with its Ara­bian chan­de­liers looks more like a fine-din­ing venue for vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries than brunch­ing fam­i­lies, but that was be­fore we took in the jug­glers, ma­gi­cians and too­cute-for-words pet­ting zoo.

My chil­dren al­most broke into a run as we were shown to our ta­ble, sit­u­ated right in front of the an­i­mals and just a cou­ple of me­tres away from the su­per­vised kids’ club, com­plete with crafts, Wii games and movies.

And that was that. So much for a leisurely brunch for all the fam­ily to catch up on news – how our two chil­dren like their new school, what they think of our im­pend­ing house move – they were off, one mo­ment cud­dling up to an ex­otic ar­ray of an­i­mals and in­sects, the next mak­ing friends in the club room.

It was all we could do to catch a glimpse of them, so we de­cided to let them play and work up an ap­petite while we ex­plored the huge se­lec­tion of cui­sine on of­fer. Me­an­der­ing through the live cook­ing sta­tions and restau­rants dot­ted around the hall we took a gas­tro­nom­i­cal tour of the globe – there was ev­ery­thing on of­fer from Italy, Asia, In­dia, Morocco and the Mid­dle East.

It was a spec­tac­u­lar spread and for once I didn’t know where to start. “I want it all,” I wailed to my hus­band who was grin­ning at the feast laid out be­fore us. And that was be­fore we’d even ex­plored the in­di­vid­ual restau­rants – Mis­tral, Si­cilia, Shang­hai Chic and Chor Bazaar – which are all in­cluded in the brunch. You can ei­ther dive in and take your favourite dish from each one, like we did, or make one your camp and sit at a ta­ble in­side.

I was glad I hadn’t eaten breakfast be­cause there was a dizzy­ing choice, and I in­tended to taste as much as pos­si­ble. So af­ter a visit to the salad bar, I headed into Si­cilia for some slices of freshly baked au­then­tic Ital­ian pizza and de­li­cious pasta. Tak­ing my loaded plate back to the ta­ble, the wafts of Ital­ian cook­ing smelt so good they en­ticed my chil­dren back from the pet­ting zoo, where they promptly ate my care­fully cho­sen food. Off we went for more, and my 10-year-old son went for his favourite – lamb ouzi – whilemy fiveyear-old daugh­ter in­sisted on vis­it­ing Shang­hai Chic.

I’ve eaten there be­fore and loved the dim sums and main cour­ses of Can­tonese and Shang­hai cui­sine – think crispy Pek­ing duck with hoisin sauce, rolled in the thinnest of pan­cakes – but for the brunch they’d laid on some­thing ex­tra spe­cial for the chil­dren: an en­tire kids’ menu,

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