Taking brunch to the next level - Brasserie 2.0, Le Royal Meriden Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai
A sense of space and openness
This was one of the key strengths for me. The outdoor terrace with its views of the landscaped gardens and sea took me away from the traditional hustle and bustle of a brunch. I am always on the lookout for a brunch with something beyond the beaten path, and this was indeed one of the things that stayed with me. Yes, many brunches offer a terrace but for me, it was the sense of infinite openness that worked. My daughter, at one point, made her way to the grass and did cartwheels. You see, brunches are more than just food and free flowing alcohol. Watching my 9-year old enjoy the skies of Dubai, as sky divers made their way down to earth, or watching her do those cartwheels - how many brunches can set create a platform for these?
There is nothing groundbreaking here, but it is the execution that I like. The Indian Chaat corner is something you must try, from authentic Indian copper pots carrying typical treats, including a variation on Pani puri, one of my favourite snacks. It is a station that will make an impression.
Then of course, I have to mention the Seafood station. It is abundant in every way. In addition to the cold seafood options, there is also a grill station and an early highlight of my brunch experience was a selection of seafood from the grill station. Salmon, lobster, shrimp, scallops and, according to my little girl, the best fries she has ever had at a brunch, were nicely put together on a platter. What I liked about it was that the chefs were mindful of cooking every part of it as if it were an a la carte meal. The scallops, for example, which might seem dwarfed by the lobster, were beautifully grilled - not an easy task because it is, how shall I say, such a temperamental part of a seafood platter! Also, the salmon retained its moisture nicely.
The Sushi station - well, it is the variety of sushi that will overwhelm you; a nice problem to have. The highlight of the sushi? The rice, definitely the rice. That tells a lot about sushi. The other highpoint? An exquisite platter of sushi and sashimi prepared by Sous Chef Sergey and Chef Albert.
Finally, Chef de Cusine Sanchez, a Mexican native, mans the outdoor meat grill station. He talked with passion about the meat he prepared, that I felt compelled to try it. Beef brisket, cooked for around 18 hours, chicken, duck and Argentinian baby lamb made up what he puts on my plate. My daughter tried the brisket and asked him how he cooked it so long and yet it was juicy and tender. From the mouths of babes! Finally, grilled corn and capsicum added not only colour, but a way to balance the meat.
When is the last time, as an adult, that you had what I grew up calling, a toffee apple, or candy apple as it is known to most? For me it is, along with cotton candy, the ultimate happy sweet from childhood. I smiled broadly when I saw it because it is such an unusual part of a dessert, but a more than welcome part. I also enjoyed the bread pudding, a dessert brought to my attention by my daughter. It is again a dessert that connects to many a childhood because we live now in a time of cheesecakes and chocolate-inspired desserts. Finally, a more than adequate cheese station ensured that those with no desire to have childhood evoked were still more than satisfied.
The brunch serves Laurent Perrier Brut NV as part of its premium option, while a Pierland Blanc de Blanc Brut was the highlight of the mid-range sparkling. In addition, a Plainmont Paradis Saint Mont Rosé stood alongside a red and white, making sure there was a wide range of drinks. On the other hand, for something softer, a Nutritional Drinks bar came up with some inspired mocktails and health drinks.
Incidentally, there is a wine tasting corner that I highly recommend. Yes it was there to promote wines, but it was also a chance for guests to break from brunch and do something different while gaining some wine knowledge. The hotel's beverage manager had a very down to earth and approachable manner in which he talked about the wines on display. Good stuff.
I have grown tired, as I mentioned in a previous post, of the jazz brunches. Brasserie 2.0's entertainment was like opening a window and allowing the ocean breeze to blow in when and overpower stale air - I listened to the musical duo perform a variety of modern rock classics. I think jazz is safe, and while I have had some fabulous brunches on the back of a jazz inspired afternoon, I want a bit more risk at brunches. Their interpretation of tunes by Oasis, Coldplay and The Calling resonated really well with guests.
The vibe was a lively one, thanks to the band. And the crowd? In a word, stylish, but not intimidating like some brunches in the city where you need to make a trip to a designer clothes store before trying it out. I think the setting has a lot to do with the permeating relaxed atmosphere.
Staff, in large part, ensure the tone of the brunch is relaxed; an eclectic group of waiters and waitresses, smartly kitted out in relaxed beach-like tans and whites worked tirelessly to make it a memorable brunch. It is a wonderful feeling when you finish your glass and as you are about to look around, someone approaches and tops up your glass. Always nice.
It was a good brunch, and yet I see it getting better. It is still a young brunch, and will no doubt keep evolving. In its present incarnation, it has something, as the cliché goes, for everyone. All in all, I tried only 8 dishes, and with the exception of the oysters that I found rather small and dry, all the other dishes were top notch. There seemed to be a balance between abundance, quality and in the case where they plated dishes, presentation. Finally, lush gardens punctuated by green lawns and palm trees form a gorgeous backdrop to this beach resort's brunch, giving it a bit of an x-factor, an added reason for choosing this brunch from the Dubai brunches in this price range.
Le Royal Meriden Beach Resort & Spa,
971 2 4 3995555
Packages (all net)
AED 400 incl soft drinks
AED 525 incl sparkling wine
AED 725 incl Champgane.
AED 200 kids 6-12