DETAILS: Dhs345 (soft drinks and mocktails), Dhs445 (Italian bubbly), Dhs 555 (French bubbly and Japanese short drinks). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Al Maryah Island (02 401 5900).
We have talked a lot about Zuma in these pages. When it opened it lifted the dining scene in Abu Dhabi to new levels and inspired other venues to raise their game in order to compete with the new standard bearer. Since then, we have seen more big name restaurants arrive. Notably in 2017 La Petite Maison, COYA, 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant and Nusr-Et have opened their doors just a stone’s throw away.
Zuma is not a restaurant to rest on its laurels, however, and continues to innovate and improve in order to stay at the top of the tree. It has again been named our Best Japanese restaurant, and can now add Best Brunch to the trophy cabinet.
Brunch here is a real occasion. From the moment you pull up at the entrance on Al Maryah Island and descend into the restaurant (either in the glass lift or down the stairs) there’s a sense of anticipation. There is no anti-climax – from this point until the end of the afternoon everything is superb.
The dining room itself is a stunner, with the wooden bar pretty much covered in a delicious range of desserts, and counters with an impressive amount of sushi, sashimi, robata, gyoza, salads and more.
The tables, every time we’ve been, are filled with couples, families and friends, almost always dressed to impress and ready for the feast ahead.
There are three packages, all seriously good value. The soft drinks option includes what are called “cleansers”, essentially mocktails, and very good ones at that. With the house beverage package you’ll get hops, grape and Italian bubbly, and the premium package comes with French bubbly and traditional Japanese short drinks. The prices are net, there are no added taxes or charges.
You’ll be served edamame, soup, sashimi and tempura shrimp to the table before heading to the buffet for an absolutely astonishing selection of raw fish, grilled meats and loads more small plates. It’s all delicious and you’ll want to eat it all. We certainly try.
One main course is ordered each (and you’ll get the chance to go for the famous black cod). Our favourite is the grilled tiger prawn with yuzu pepper, pictured above. Recently Zuma has introduced a few extras to the table that bring even more class and value to the brunch – a whole turbot and a huge rib of beef are served theatrically, and a build-your-own caviar slider “boat” really impresses.
When it comes to quality, this brunch just gets better.
The bottom line
A must-try. It’s that simple.