How many ex-pats have had to say sorry following one of their long Dubai brunches? I’d predict that figure surpassing thousands or more. This Western ex-pat diner needs to apologise from the outset of this review for upsetting nearly every creed and colour.
Entitled somewhat pretentiously “The Art of Brunch”, I was intrigued to discover what the Fountain Restaurant in the Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai would present as both ‘arty’ and ‘brunchy’.
Upon arrival at noon, we were greeted quickly and efficiently by a smartly-dressed chap, who stood next to an artist’s easel (there’s the arty bit) and as we walked into the beautiful naturally-lit hotel foyer-cum- restaurant, I noticed the brunchy bit too.
Before me and in front of a sweeping staircase, was a resplendent display of cakes, pies, fruit and sweet desserts; to my right, a live cooking station where chefs prepared noodles, sushi and sashimi; to my left and to my utter joy – apologies to the lactose-intolerant – the most wonderful display of cheese.
My second apology goes to parents. Sorry but I stifled a silent groan as we were seated next to a table of twelve and their biological accessories … children.
I haven’t spawned any offspring myself but perhaps it’s time to sow the Stephenson seed. Within minutes I had cooed over a newborn; ensured that some well-behaved kiddies playing near a pillar were not in danger of being trampled by stampeding brunchers and six-times picked up the spoon of a cute toddler who launched his plastic cutlery in my direction.
The thing is, while brunch should be the domain of adults only (in my opinion), this bruncheon is billed as ‘family friendly’ and offers discounted meals as well as a supervised crèche. Fortunately, I was not aware of the “Kids Paradise” in the annexed room where the ankle-biters can enjoy painting, a bouncy castle and video games but I’d recommend to any parents, to drop them off ASAP and start your serious brunching.
I was confused to receive a menu stating; “Your choice of the following … fish and chips / seafood platter (grilled) / eggs benedict”. My advice: don’t ask for guidance, ignore the menu and head to any of the food stations. There are numerous food options to choose from including Indian, Arabic and Modern European. Basically, whatever you want, you’ll find here (sorry celiac sufferers, I didn’t ask about gluten-free and sorry to the pescetarians, I didn’t try the seafood).
And sorry to my Muslim and Jewish friends but my first over-excited stop was the pork station. A delicious piece of succulent gammon, bespeckled with cloves and tasting of Christmas took a roomy 25% of my plate and was soon accompanied by four pieces of pork belly topped with rock-hard crunchy crackling.
On the way back to my seat (sorry Hindus and vegetarians), I picked up two slices of rare roast beef – still warm and pink – as well as a Yorkshire pudding and some roast potatoes.
My fellow diner (an Indian by descent but Dubai born and bred), enjoyed a slice of bread, a single rosemary-roasted potato, some rice, a small spoonful of curry and eggs benedict. I’m sorry that these brunches are wasted on him and his tiny appetite.
Next up, and apologies to the vegan readers for even talking about food, I opted for a selection of charcuterie and cheese. Italian and Spanish cured meats including Chorizo, Salchichon, Jamon Iberico (and possibly even a Fuet) sat happily alongside the usual variety of cheeses and crackers. And the red wine kept flowing.
If you’d expect to hear piano versions of 80s classics, such as George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” while brunching, rather than an ivory-spanking rendition of “Roll Out The Barrel”, you won’t be disappointed here. Nestled between the two staircases and hovering above the display of desserts was a blonde pianist sat at a grand piano. I was chuffed to bits as our eyes met across a Victoria sponge and she gave me a wink in return for my nod of approval.
I’m not sure if this is 5-star dining (or whatever star dining) but in spite of the lofty brunch title, I felt that it was an honest, good and wholesome brunch experience with attentive staff in a perfectly pleasant setting.
My final apology goes to Dubai Marina dwellers … I’m sorry that you’ll never travel to Bur Dubai to see and experience what’s on offer at this end of our adoptive city.
- Food 7/10
- Staff 8/10
- Overall experience 8/10
Review & Photos: Nick Stephenson
Cost: AED195 per person (incl. soft drinks); AED295 per person (incl. house beverages). Children under 12 years eat for free and 12-16 years get a 50% discount.
Time: 12 noon – 4pm every Friday
The Art of Brunch at Fountain Restaurant, Ground Floor, Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai, 19th Street, Oud Metha, Dubai, UAE