Considering Catch is one of the classiest restaurants in Abu Dhabi, we shouldn’t be surprised to discover a very tasteful, low-key ambiance when we arrive for the new Friday brunch offering. It’s immediately clear that this is not a party brunch but an afternoon out for serious foodies (we notice there are a lot of French people here and we presume they know about food). Even if you’re not an expert, with a 15-course menu on the agenda, it’s probably best if you’re at least able to eat a lot of it, anyway. Spoiler alert: We struggle.
This is definitely a brunch that offers value for money – the mini crab burgers, Shanghai dumplings, calamari and Wagyu beef taco appetisers are all great. The food is fresh and there are no filler-upper dishes such as rice or noodles to distract you from the main stars of the show.
Everything served is focused on the meat, fish or veg as the main event. That means the menu is suitable for any of you out there that don’t eat a lob of carbohydrates but like a decent amount of protein in your diets. We know you exist.
Over the course of the brunch there is edamame, sea bass ceviche, salmon in a sticky glaze, prawns, buratta, corn-fed chicken and beef. Seafood is Catch’s thing and they do it brilliantly – it’s all cooked and seasoned carefully and bursting with nuanced Asian flavours. We’re not asked how we would like the beef cooked, however, and it arrives incredibly rare, which is not how we’d have chosen to have it.
At around course number seven we’re beginning to fill up, and we’re seasoned brunchers. So, those that aren’t used to eating so much might begin to feel a little queasy.
We don’t think the music helps, there’s a lady playing the violin along to a jarring backing track of dance music. It doesn’t seem like the best fit for the occasion or the crowd, and we’d prefer it if the violin was unaccompanied by the backing. Some classy jazz would fit a little more to the overall vibe, we feel.
We’re so full we can’t really do justice to the second half of the brunch, which all leave the table half eaten, which is a real shame.
But just when we feel like we couldn’t even manage a wafer-thin mint, the desserts pop up and we find some room. As well as passionfruit and kiwi Japanese mochi ice creams (big thumbs up), there is ice cream, a pineapple cheesecake with ice cream and a gooey chocolate fondant with, er, ice cream. It’s slight overkill, but the flavours are all spot on. And that really is the theme of the day.
The bottom line
A good value brunch for foodies.