Brunch review: Friday Brunch at McGettigan’s

A pub brunch with some surprisingly good dishes

Brunch review: Friday Brunch at McGettigan’s
Brunch review: Friday Brunch at McGettigan’s Image #2

Few people in Abu Dhabi can resist the allure of McGettigan’s. As much as many might like to pretend that they have too much class to spend their weekends eating and drinking in an often dark, but not so dingy, Irish pub, they’re probably just lying to you.

If you’re after live sport, a popular ladies’ night or a post-brunch party that you just know for a fact will always be busy, McGettigan’s will always be there for you.

But we’re here on a Friday afternoon to try out the brunch, about seven hours earlier than the time we’d normally come through the door and feeling a lot more reserved.

When you get here you’ll be asked to pay up front, but as it’s less than Dhs140 for the soft drinks package, there’s nothing much to grumble about and it saves all kinds of potential confusion later on.

We’re seated in one of our favourite cosy booths by the bookshelves and the server explains that we can help ourselves from the buffet offering a roast dinner and grilled meats, and also order as many plates as we’d like from the menu.

The crowd around us is quite random, offering a mix of groups of lads making the most of the daily happy hour, families with tiny babies and groups of friends.

We start off with McGettigan’s chicken popcorn, crispy calamari and cheesy arancini balls. The latter is just what we need to satisfy our rumbling stomachs (what, you have breakfast before brunch?). Filled with cheese and dipped in spicy tomato sauce and topped with grated parmesan, the fried balls are absolutely delicious and wouldn’t seem out of place if they were served in a traditional Italian restaurant.

The calamari is also a sensation, with lightly battered rings scattered with chilli and coriander and served with a spicy harissa and lime mayo. We empty the bowl in no time, and we love that the cephalopod isn’t too greasy or hard to chew.

Both make up for the fact that we find the blue cheese dressing on the popcorn chicken far too rich and tangy. But there are people around us finishing off bowl after bowl so maybe it’s just our tastebuds.

After polishing off the starters, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be ready to dig into the best part of any weekend: a traditional roast.
There’s a choice of meats, and we’re served a generous slab of beef and half an enormous Yorkshire pudding.

We help ourselves to the rest and go for some roasted and mashed potatoes (we love carbs, what can we say?), roast vegetables, mashed carrots and loads of gravy (obviously). It’s all lovely, and we even go back for seconds of the mashed carrots and potatoes. It reminds us of home and we’re struck by a wave of nostalgia as we tuck into the truly excellent feast.

We also try some lamb koftas and chicken kebabs with peppers and onions. Both are pleasant enough, but nothing on the exceptional slow-roasted beef. Other main options include big bowls of pasta, grilled salmon and butternut squash risotto, but we’ve filled up too much on the roast to try anything else.

Save room for dessert. The sticky toffee pudding is pure indulgence and despite protests of “we shouldn’t” we manage to wolf it down with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This is how a good-value pub brunch should be done. Good value, tasty, fun and filling.
Dhs139 (soft drinks), Dhs199 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-6pm. Al Raha Beach Hotel & Resort, Channel Street (02 652 4333).

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