The Garden Brunch at Filini Garden

Review: A chilled Italian afternoon with good vibes and simple food

The Garden Brunch at Filini Garden

Every single time we’ve set foot into Filini Garden we’ve been wowed by the setting and views. The atmosphere is always brilliant, too, and the happy hours, ladies’ nights and other events (such as the new Wednesday grape and cheese night) offer great value ways to enjoy this Time Out award-winning venue. In fact, the only time we didn’t totally enjoy the experience here, was at brunch, which didn’t hit the lofty heights of other occasions.

So, here we are again to try the Friday Garden Brunch. For those who don’t know, it’s a stunning spot, out the back of Yas Island’s Radisson Blu, overlooking the links of the nearby golf course, and the waters towards Al Raha beyond those. It’s the kind of place Instagram was made for, especially if you’re a fan of a #sunsetselfie. During brunch, ladies will also get a flowery headband, to attract those extra likes, but more of those later.

We take a seat on the edge of the terrace. Staff are excellent, handing us a glass of sparkling on the way in and explaining the order of business perfectly. There are antipasti and pasta stations where you can help yourself and a pizza and pasta course will be brought to the table, then a selection main courses will follow and, finally, there’s a buffet of desserts. Drinks are detailed on the back of the menu, so there’s no confusion over what’s included, and as well as table service there’s a build-your-own mixed drink area.

There’s a huge choice of cheeses, breads and meats, as well as the likes of sundried tomatoes, artichokes and roasted aubergine. We grab plenty of creamy taleggio and burrata, sundried tomato bread and olives and by the time we return to our table, a pot of very good crispy calamari has arrived.

We return to the buffet once more, despite our waitress’ eagerness for us to move on to the next course, but eventually we relent and let her take the few bits and pieces we have left on our plates and go to see what the pasta station is all about.

We’re shooed back to our seats and are told a crab ravioli and tagliatelle will come to the table. They take a while to arrive and are all a little underwhelming. The ravioli is lukewarm and the pasta too thick and too al dente for us (and we don’t mind al dente). The bisque doesn’t have any real shellfish punch, either, but the crab filling is lovely. The tagliatele fairs much better. Two slices each of a spicy salami and a more simple margherita pizza come with the pasta. They’re fine, but the bases are dissapointwingly spongy given the pizza oven they were in.

By this point, four main courses to share seems too much, so we ask to skip the veal ossobucco and have the seafood platter, roast chicken, and lamb with truffle mash. The veal still turns up and the table is practically heaving under the weight of such filling, rich dishes. We don’t think anyone would complain if you only got to choose one.

After a pretty pathetic attempt to finsh them we move onto desserts, the highlights being the gelato and cannoli, which are delicious.

We have a lovely afternoon, despite some of the food missing the mark (the antipasti selection is the clear highlight) and leave full and happy. Well, almost. We’re stopped as we leave and asked to give our headband back, so it can be reused. It seems a little icky that someone else had it on before us. We hand it over but next time we’ll skip wearing it and focus on the meat and cheese. And there will be a next time.

WHAT IS IT...
A chilled Italian afternoon with good vibes and simple food

WHY GO...
For the views, drinks options and antipasti

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