DETAILS: Dhs295 (restaurant), Dhs325 (beach/terrace), Dhs550 (bubbly). Sat 1pm-4pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel and resort, off Sheikh Zayed Road, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
This beautiful resort is pretty much an expat’s dream – with golden sands, turqoise waters and chilled-out tunes while you enjoy bites by the beach.
Unfortunately, within minutes of our arrival at super cool Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, we find one part of the British condition we didn’t want transported to the Middle East – long queues.
We must navigate three lines, giving our reservation details at each checkpoint, before finally gaining access to our spot at the beach (and only after handing over our Emirates ID and credit card).
Those frustrations soon wash away as you are handed a welcome beverage and sink into a comfy lounger with views of the blue ocean stretching out before you.
The cooler, winter weather leads to a big turn out, with plenty of families happilly playing in the sea, and taking advantage of the chance to speed on a jet ski or try out paddle boarding.
We do, however, get a little longer to soak in those views than we would like.
We are told food will be brought to us as we relax in sun-kissed splendour and each dish will be explained to us, as the menu changes every week.
As the minutes drift by we begin to get anxious to eat and when our food finally arrives, an hour after we take our seats, we can’t wait to tuck in.
The platter is perfect fare for a day out at the beach, featuring light, fresh tastes to enjoy while relaxing in the sun. The waiter doesn’t know what everything is, though, so we’re left scratching our heads at some dishes.
The sushi, however, is some of the best we have had in the capital, packed full of flavour and with a lovely, soft texture.
The chicken bao, with tender chunks of meat crammed into a soft bun, also proves a big hit and is quickly devoured by us.
While the prawns we get are somewhat dry, the tasty minestrone-style pan of shell pasta, veal bacon, potatoes and carrots is good, as are the feta salad and pesto-sprinkled pizza.
While we’re impressed with the quality of food, the delay-plagued start to our day leaves us feeling we are up against the clock as we order a second serving of sushi and pizza; hardly the laid-back atmosphere we were wanted.
Service remains haphazard and the underwhelming dessert of watermelon and tofu are brought to us ahead of our main courses.
This brunch should be great but the team really need to sort the timings and pacing of the courses. You’d never think it was held every week.
The bottom line
Great vibes let down by lacklustre service.