Brunch in England for me is Eggs Benedict with a cappuccino and an orange juice …on Friday I discovered in Dubai it means something entirely different and I’m not sure I’m ready for it…!
A friend from the UK had invited us for brunch at Mina A Salam in Madinat Jumeriah – a beautiful part of town, it’s been built to look traditionally middle eastern with grand hotels, flawless white beaches and a view of the Burj al Arab. After a workout on Friday morning, we got dressed up and jumped in a taxi (this felt like a modern-day ritual of going to church perhaps; Friday best and meet at midday!). Watching the other brunch-goers arrive was fascinating, all ages from 8 to 88, all shapes and sizes, some dressed in casual attire, some dressed for a fancy wedding reception – curled hair and all. There was a mix of holiday-makers and expats, mainly British (brunch is notorious with Brits!). I had preconceived ideas that a typical brunch would be a blend of Weatherspoon’s on a Saturday night and a Toby carvery with a few extra zero’s on the receipt…
We were presented with a glass of champagne on arrival and led to our table with a view of the beach and Burj al Arab, our table was a mix of ex-colleagues, friends and family which was a great combination for such a social event. As I glanced around the room a medium size group seemed to be most popular, I’m not sure a Dubai brunch works for a couple, the husband and I can chomp down our eggs-Benny, coffees and juice, have the bill paid and coats on in under 30 minutes, this is a relaxed affair with many visits to the fancy food stations and margarita bar!
The food… I wish I hadn’t eaten for a week and took a doggy bag; sushi, seafood with gigantic king prawns and lobster, colourful salads, meat dishes (I could even get my eggs-Benny), a huge joint of roast beef (you can see the target audience), cheese platters, rich and creamy layered desserts, an ice cream bar with every topping imaginable were just some of the delights available to fill your plate with. The drinks flowed for the four hours; trays of fruit juice, champagne, prosecco were mixed among various stations; Mojito, Pimms, Jager and frozen margaritas.
Brunch was a fun, social and lively affair, guests are encouraged to continue the party with buy-one-get-one-free offers at the cocktail bar …I had a litre of water and swiftly jumped in a taxi to head home. That’s the bad thing about a boozy brunch for a small-time-drinker like myself – it took over the whole weekend. We arrived home at 7pm on Friday and slept until …9am the next morning, 14 hours of sleep were obviously required to digest the free-flowing bubbles and ten plates of food. Feeling slightly jaded and only wanting tea and plain toast, Saturday became a duvet and snacks day …not great for the waistline or my step count.
I think brunch is something we will do again …but definitely not every week or every month, for me the mix of food and drink is too much, I like to keep the two separate. A few glasses of fizz or cocktails of an evening OR lots of yummy food washed down with h2o and calories put to good use the next day with some exercise is my kind of weekend, rather than binge watching TV shows and eating dry plain savoury snacks!