DETAILS: Dhs310 (restaurant), Dhs340 (beach and terrace), Dhs580 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel & Resort, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
Announcing that at you’re going to Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE for the day is generally considered to be a bit of a brag.
After all, everyone knows that a visit to this legendary beach bar involves lounging on the sand, chilling in the infinity pool and dancing to the best tunes. So we’re feeling pretty happy about life as we arrive for brunch.
While Friday sees the place packed out with revellers dancing on tables to sets from world-renowned DJs, Saturdays at this fashionable spot are far more chilled.
We’ve reserved a spot on the beach, so after being handed our welcome glass of Spanish grape, we’re led out to our own private sunbed (and by bed we mean that it’s a full mattress complete with headrests).
We’re pleased to see that the crowd isn’t as posey as we’d imagined it would be, and there’s even a few families and young kids.
Our server comes straight over to ask if we’d like any more beverages, and offers us a selection of fruity mixed drinks, grape and premium beverages (hops aren’t included).
She also explains that the food comes out on a sharing tray, and we’ve barely finished taking photos of ourselves by the Blue Marlin logo on our bed before it’s placed next to us.
We ask for some plates, but soon realise it’s easier just to stand and eat directly from the tray (we’re not shy of tucking in, as always).
This is fine for us (it means we can dance in between bites of sushi) but if you’re after a sit-down meal, a proper table in the restaurant would definitely be more suitable.
Our bed comes with a station stocked with glasses, cutlery and chopsticks, plus an ice bucket for our water and grape.
It’s a great system that means we barely have to bother our server for anything.
We go straight in with the maki rolls that are filled with delicious fresh tuna. The nigiri is also topped with tuna, so we can imagine haters of the fish might be a bit put out.
But we love it, and the salmon sashimi (presented on a full tray of ice) is also lovely.
Meat lovers also have plenty to choose from. The stir-fried beef is very tasty, and we finish off the crunchy broccoli that comes with it in no time at all.
The patatas bravas also include chunks of beef and it’s a super take on the classic, full of fresh tomatoes and herbs. We also can’t get enough of the other Spanish plates, the sizeable olives, the mozzarella balls with cherry tomatoes, the slices of melon and the toasted breads.
Meanwhile, the mozzarella sticks are possibly the best bit of all. They’re warm, oozing with cheese and served with a pot of salsa.
There’s also an excellent burrito bowl filled with spicy rice, sour cream, black beans and salsa, plus a crispy flat bread topped with rocket, bolognese sauce and cheese.
The buckets of sweet potato fries and fried fish are perfect for nibbling as we chat, and there’s also a platter of raw veggies for those who are trying to be healthy.
Fussy eaters might find the choice a bit limited, but you can reorder any plates you want, or even the whole tray.
The dessert (brioche with ice cream and fresh fruit) is very pretty, even if the sweet bread is very much on the dry side.
The atmosphere is on point throughout the afternoon, and as we finish eating the music is cranked up and a dancefloor forms. Everyone joins in (including some very talented kids), and it’s a great end to a dreamy day out.
WHAT IS IT...
Sharing plates from around the world, served either in the restaurant or on the beach
For the friendly atmosphere, infinity pool and endless amounts of food and drink. And to hit the dancefloor afterwards