Friday Brunch at Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant

A lively buffet brunch offering roast meats, salads, American-style grub and an incredible red velvet cake

Friday Brunch at Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant

DETAILS: Dhs165 (soft drinks), Dhs235 (house beverages), Dhs255 (premium beverages). Noon-4pm. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 657 3325).

While brunching in Abu Dhabi you’ll experience the highest levels of luxury. Dining with sensational ocean views, feasting on beautifully crafted sushi and trying to navigate your way through excessively big dessert rooms all become quite normal.

But sometimes we’re not in the mood for flashy gimmicks. Instead we just want to catch up with friends and enjoy great pub grub.

At Time Out Abu Dhabi, Cooper’s bar is our go-to hangout for after-work drinks. Cosy, friendly, and serving a brilliant selection of bar food, it isn’t really the type of venue that you’d associate with an extravagant brunch.

But when we arrive to try out its Friday feast offering, we’re impressed by how busy it is. All the diners and servers seem relaxed and in high spirits. There are big smiles all round.

Resisting the urge to skip straight ahead to the roast meats and potatoes, we begin by tackling the spread of appetisers.
It isn’t a ridiculously huge selection, but the sports bar-style venue has gone for quality over quantity. It’s almost as though they know what all our favourite things are and this is what they have chosen to serve.

We pile the salads on our plates. The kale and sweet potato, and the tomato, mozzarella and pesto varieties are particularly delicious. There are also plenty of interesting cheeses and freshly-baked breads to enjoy as well.

It isn’t really the simple-but-hearty spread that we were expecting. It’s far more healthy and we are definitely impressed.

But, of course, the main event comes at the roasts station, and we can’t believe how many different meats are on offer.

The lamb chops and beef brisket are a dream for all meat lovers, while the turkey and cranberry sauce makes it feels like Christmas has come early. The huge whole salmon is perfectly marinated in lemon and herbs and it provides a substantial alternative for anyone who isn’t so into red meat.

The roast vegetables are colourful and tasty, and after piling on the mash, roast potatoes and enormous Yorkshire puddings, we can’t quite believe how much food we’ve managed to get on one plate.

If you’re not in the mood for a roast, there are so many other options. We love how the creamy filling is practically overflowing out of the spinach and ricotta cannelloni. It seems that Cooper’s can do Italian fare just as well as they can do meat and veg.

Sticking with the cheese theme, we also can’t resist a taste of the American-style mac ’n’ cheese. It’s very stodgy, but definitely worth the calories.

Like the starters, the dessert table isn’t too extravagant, but it still manages to include all our favourite sweet treats.

We can’t stop raving about how amazing the moist red velvet cake is. We share a slice, but wish we had got one each. The chocolate cake is also wonderfully rich and sweet but not too sickly. The only disappointment is the caramel shortbread, which if we’re honest tastes slightly burnt.

It’s all good fun, though. We like being able to help ourselves to the frozen mixed drinks and the pick-and-mix style sweets (yes, we are just big kids really). The servers are also consistently helpful. They even bring us some extra popcorn when it’s time to pack away.

Cooper’s has one of the most under-rated brunches around, while the atmosphere is far more lively than you might expect.

A lively buffet brunch offering roast meats, salads, American-style grub and an incredible red velvet cake

Because you can carry on the party afterwards. There’s unlimited house drinks for Dhs99 and free drinks for ladies until 8pm

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