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
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,