Friday brunch at Loca Abu Dhabi

A five-hour fiesta featuring filling food alongside fab music


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

Since opening earlier this year, Loca has established itself as a spot for post-work drinks. The cool space, accented by its signature red bar, oozes a chilled-out vibe that extends to the outdoor terrace. But how does it fare when it comes to our favourite meal of the week?

The brunch at Loca includes a set menu that is brought to the table -- making it a great option for those averse to multiple trips to the buffet.

The opening act here stars four plates of traditional Mexican breakfast items and DIY soft-shell tacos that come with all the trimmings. But not before our cheery waitress whips up a bowl of home-made guacamole at our table – a Loca signature.

The huevos machaca is a standout among the brekkie dishes and we’d be happy starting any day of the week with a plateful of this scrambled eggs and meat dish. The traditional recipe calls for shredded beef, but Loca’s meat of choice is lamb. It’s tossed with the egg and a good amount of chilli and while you’re supposed to dish it into tortillas, we scoop up the mixture straight from the pot. It is just as delicious as it is simple and it does a top job in whetting our palate for what’s to come.

By this point the resident singer begins his set. He doesn’t play any Latin American tunes, but he still manages to win the crowd over. There are even a few diners on the dance floor busting some moves.

Once the more breakfast-y dishes are over, it’s taco time. Filling choices include beef, lamb and chicken, but it’s the plump, juicy, spiced prawns that go down best.

We’re only half-way through the starters, but we’re nearly full. The bowls may be small, but they are packed and hearty.

When the table is cleared, the waitress leaves the guac and chips behind. We can’t help but keep munching on them, which does no good for our full bellies. When it comes to ordering mains, diners are given a choice – a tostada salad, a burrito or fajitas. We’ve heard great things about the burrito, but our hungry eyes are tempted by the legendary ribs and our decision doesn’t let us down. The sizzling trio of ribs are smothered in a piquant barbecue sauce that hits the spot.

Just as we’re wiping the last traces of the sauce from our fingers, our server is back to check if we’re ready for dessert. A duo of crème caramel and tres leche arrives and, though they’re still rich, they provide a perfect, sweet ending to this hearty, filling brunch.

The atmosphere is still pumping when we roll out, happy and full, as the dancing queens and kings still continue their reign on the dance floor.

The bottom line
Try livin’ la vida loca and check this one out, you won’t be disappointed.

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