Brunch review: Friday brunch at Loca Abu Dhabi

A South American breakfast-heavy bumper brunch with great guac

Brunch review: Friday brunch at Loca Abu Dhabi

We don’t know what it is about the Four Seasons end of The Galleria but we always seem to get lost. No matter how many times we’ve visited the restaurants littered across the waterfront promenade our minds draw a blank. Is it up a set of stairs? On the ground floor? Oh never mind, there it is, of course.

At Loca, things are a little bit different to your standard brunch. For a start it’s five hours long, which for some of us, would strike fear into the heart.

The timescale however is less of a gauntlet being thrown down and more like an opportunity to relax and not watch the clock while franticly ordering more drinks.

There are retro South American TV shows on the screens and a fairly excellent singer-songwriter belting out tunes.

It’s laid back and half full when we visit, so we make ourselves comfortable and loosen the notches on our belts. 

The Mexican-themed brunch is served directly to your table, but before the starters arrive our chirpy server appears and smashes a few avocados together with green chilli, lime juice and coriander, to create a quite frankly excellent guacamole. It vanishes quickly, slathered on top of crispy nachos. We could eat these all day and we do.

After that, a platter is presented to us which includes four Mexican breakfast dishes that feature eggs, eggs and more eggs.

Seriously, everything has eggs. They must have a chicken doing overtime in the kitchen.

Some DIY tacos are alse delivered, served with a variety of meats and toppings.

The pick of breakfast items is the huervos machaca, a spiced lamb, chilli and egg combination that we devour while looking apologetically at the sad mushroom omelette that lies under-seasoned and completely untouched in the corner. We feel sorry for it and it wouldn’t really be missed if it didn’t find its way to our table.

As for the tacos, we try hard and soft versions, tucking into the chicken, beef, prawn and kingfish, the latter of which proving to be the pick of the plentiful proteins. And it’s at this exact point we begin to panic.

In truth, we’re already full and we’ve not even had a sniff of the main course yet.

Maybe the five-hour duration takes digestion into consideration? Perhaps not.

The server returns and asks us what we’d like for our main course and we both decide on the beef ribs, because why wouldn’t you?

Ribs are ribs. They’re not glamorous, or gourmet, or sophisticated but they are almost always delicious. At Loca it’s no different, the meat is tender, the sauce smoky and the bones are left picked clean on the plate.

We slump down in our chairs, food coma in full effect, ready to call it a day and go home.

As we start to wave the white flag, dessert works its charm and encourages us to find some space in our stomachs.

We do, begrudgingly and are surprised by how much we enjoy the trio of desserts, the best of which is undoubtedly the incredibly moist and silky-smooth tres leches cake. Admittedly, we don’t eat all of it and feel a bit guilty about it too, but after hours of eating all we really want is a siesta after a taxi home.

Overall, it’s casual and fun, the food is pretty great (if you like eggs of course) and you definitely won’t leave hungry.

Considering all of those things, that’s a pretty great brunch experience, and if you have a large table of people with you, maybe they could help clear some of the many plates.

Dhs155 (soft drinks), Dhs270 (house beverages). Fri noon-5pm. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island (02 582 3639).

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