This is one of the city's priciest feasts - but is it the best? Discuss this article
Sample enough Abu Dhabi brunches and all too quickly the experience becomes all too familiar. There’ll be a table of salads. There’ll be a selection of miniature desserts. There’ll be a small tray of cheese. And dotted throughout all of these staples will be the ubiquitous aluminium containers of lukewarm, salty plop, invariably designed to fill bellies rather than romance taste buds.
Not so at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr’s new dual-restaurant brunch. While a few simmering serving dishes are still present within CuiScene (the appalling new name for Elements), the emphasis here is firmly on freshly prepared grub, with chefs whipping up nasi goreng, spaghetti carbonara and Arabic grills at live cooking stations. Adjacent Italian restaurant Frankie’s – a big winner at last year’s TOAD awards – is in on the act, too, firing up crispy-crusted, gooey-centred pizzas to order, with a spread of impressive antipasti for smaller appetites.
The aforementioned staples are still present, of course, but each of these are a league above the rest, too – think healthy salads made with the crispest seasonal ingredients, 40 different desserts packed with creative flair (you certainly won’t see cardamom mousses or reconstructed Snickers bars at Al Fanar) and a staggering Dhs5,000 worth of the world’s best cheese.
Sure, the experience is by no means cheap. In fact, if you’re thinking of going for the free-flowing bubbly package, you may want to think about auctioning an organ. Nor is it flawless. While the standard of food is incredibly high, the lack of warmed plates meant much of it was a touch cold by the time we’d made the long plod back to our table in Frankie’s. Fine for our starters of sushi and Arabic mezze, less so for roast beef and gravy.
Still, this remains a brunch with vastly more pros than cons. So if you’ve got an anniversary, office celebration, homecoming or any other occasion to mark (seriously – a pet’s birthday will do), gather your friends and book a table – you’ll definitely be thanked for it.
The bill (for two)
Brunch with soft drinks x 2 Dhs498
Total (excluding service) Dhs498
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.