Friday brunch at Jazz@PizzaExpress

Review: A family-friendly brunch that delivers on taste, service and price. Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

DETAILS: Dhs129 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (Italian bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center (02 444 7752).

When we reviewed the brunch at Jazz@PizzaExpress last year, we were bowled over by its value, charm and, most importantly, food. The live music made for a fun afternoon and the casual setting broadened its appeal to include pretty much anyone.

So it’s somewhat disappointing to be sitting in the venue in silence. The jazz part of the Jazz@PizzaExpress experience sadly missing. The “Caution: Wet Floor” signs dotted around the place explain the lack of band. There was a flood due to a burst pipe, and the live music is cancelled. It puts a real dampener on proceedings but we plough on.

The set-up here is simple – a set menu, split across five courses (including dessert), is brought to the table to share. It’s perfect for groups of friends and families.

The first item to slide off the open kitchen’s counter and onto our table is a platter of starters and a portion of the Italian restaurant’s signature dough balls. The polpette, or meatballs, cooked in a chunky tomato sauce are a winner. We could easily mop up a second bowl of the juicy bites with a couple of those moreish dough balls. But we hold back, and work our way around the rest of the platter that includes burrata with cherry tomatoes and rocket, roasted cauliflower (which is much tastier than it sounds, largely thanks to a layer of creamy sauce) and a handful of spicy chicken wings. An array of tastes and textures, all of which are satisfying.

The next course is salad, and we’re happy to see a couple of innovative creations listed instead of the usual limp leaves of iceberg you often find elsewhere. Our colourful bowl, called Superboost, includes chicken, red quinoa, rocket, peppers, dried cranberries, sprouts and a lashing of house dressing – and it is just as delicious as it is nutritious.

Now that we’ve had our required daily dose of fruit and veg, we have no qualms in making a beeline for the more indulgent eats – pizza and pasta.

The portion of chicken penne with spinach isn’t very big, but its spicy, creamy sauce is delicious. Once again, we use those delightful dough balls to mop up any final traces of the sauce.

On the pizza front, the venue’s version of the classic Hawaiian uses a pineapple chutney instead of chunks in addition to veal bacon and red onion. It’s not the most memorable slice we’ve had here, but at least it’s different.

Staff do a great job of trying to get a vibe going, despite the lack of music, and must be commended for it. This visit isn’t as memorable as our last one (not for the right reasons, anyway) but we’re still fans.

The bottom line
A tasty, no-frills, value-for-money deal.

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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