DETAILS: Dhs259 (soft drinks), Dhs339 (house beverages), Dhs389 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiya (02 818 4888).
What strikes us almost immediately upon entering The Foundry’s Friday brunch is that the team here clearly care. Staff take pride in the restaurant, make an effort to look after the customers and prepare the food with a lot of heart and soul.
Now, all of that might seem like a pre-requisite to operating a restaurant and putting on a brunch, but as you might have seen in the past few weeks’ reviews, it’s not always the case. There are some venues you walk out of after spending around Dhs500 per person and wonder why they, and you, bothered with it. Not so here.
That might be why it’s so busy, with big groups of friends, couples and the odd person sitting alone. It’s clear people are regulars and on familiar terms with the staff. We receive a warm welcome, too, and a top explanation of the brunch and packages. It makes us feel like we’re among friends, even though we’ve never met the staff before.
There’s even some banter at the mixed drinks stations with strangers – the occasion seems to do us good.
There are excellent grape choices, a hops selection that reminds us of being back in northern England (and not in a good way) and shorts available (but when we ask for these, they don’t arrive). There are also stations for Mexican mixed drinks, one dedicated to a certain Irish cream and two huge bowls of bright blue drink. The soft drinks are limited (we would love to see at least one mocktail on brunch packages).
A former winner of our Best Steakhouse award, you might expect at least part of this brunch (the main course, for example) to be served à la carte. But that’s not the case, the entire offering is available at the buffet. However, you’ll not find rows and rows of dishes here. The delivery of the food is done with style and the plates are laid out in ways that keep things interesting.
As well as the usual salad and seafood buffet there’s an oyster station, a poke bar, foie gras counter, Mexican food truck and a build-your-own burrata table.
Main courses are super, too, with the primary draw being a choice of excellent cuts of meat that are grilled in front
of you. Some of the sides could do with being kept a bit warmer, but the seafood thermidore deserves
a special mention. There’s also a choice of desserts and they’re all very good.
While there are a few niggles, they absolutely don’t detract from a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon that we wholeheartedly recommend.
The bottom line
Just what you want from a brunch.