Friday brunch at Porters English Pub

Brunch review: A good-fun, welcoming pub brunch in Downtown Abu Dhabi

Friday brunch at Porters English Pub
Friday brunch at Porters English Pub Image #2

Last orders have been called, the final rounds of drinks are being poured and the buffet is being tidied away. Brunch at Porters in Abu Dhabi is coming to an end, but the party most certainly isn’t.

The dance floor is full of friends, couples and singles (we’re not judging, much) having a great time grooving to the sound of YfY, the pub’s resident covers band. Soon the band will make way for karaoke (it starts at 5pm) and much of the crowd will remain (there’s a super post-brunch deal on drinks, after all).

If other Time Out commitments weren’t pressing, we’d be joining them. In fact, we’re really having to tear ourselves away because for the past four hours we’ve been having a brilliant time.

This is a casual brunch, make no mistake. If you want airs and graces, fine-dining and silver service, head somewhere else. Porters is a place to join your mates, tuck into some hearty food and have a laugh.

It’s good value, too, at Dhs225 for the house package (you can also find deals in various places, making it a bit cheaper). For that price you’ll get a fairly wide selection of hops, grape and short drinks, and access to a make-your-own mixed drink station. Service is swift, with nary an empty glass in sight. Staff of Porters, we salute you.

The food is great, too. Perhaps we were underestimating the place, especially considering we’ve eaten here before and always enjoyed it, but we are surprised by the quality of everything on offer. Our concern was that pub food (often deep-fried and crispy) doesn’t do very well under heat lamps if left for a while. We needn’t have worried as the buffet is fresh, delicious and contains far fewer fried items than we thought.

From a chilled fish counter (oysters, mussels, prawns) to start with to a rather fantastic cheese selection, and everything in between, there are few faults to be found.

We’re a little surprised at the platter of pasties residing next to the oysters, which not only feel out of place for that station, but also in the brunch as a whole. Likewise, the handful of sushi options don’t offer much in the grand scheme of things.

We recommend focusing your attention on the excellent grilled prawns. Huge beasts swimming in garlic and chilli, try and stop yourself from going back for more. The grilled lamb is a little tough, but the carvery is far better. There’s roast chicken (regularly being replaced with a new bird), veal sausages and a joint of lamb that are all worth taking a few slices of. But the star of the show is undoubtedly the huge piece of beef sitting just around the corner. Studded with onion and garlic, slice a few pieces off, pick up a few of the mini Yorkshire puddings and slather on some of the thick, rich gravy. Roast beef this good is a wonderful thing.

There are dim sum, salads and charcuterie to be had, and breads and sides of roasted vegetables and rice, too.

The dessert selection looks good, but after a few pieces of cheese we move from our table to the bar to take in the final set from the band. Downstairs is a little more action-packed than the quieter first floor, so pick your spot according to your mood. You should book ahead as well, as it’s busy.

Good value, tasty food, top service, a regular supply of drinks and no pretensions. Porters English Pub puts on the kind of Friday bash you need in your life from time to time.
Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs225 (house beverages). Noon-4pm. Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 443 9999).

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