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The brunch bunch - By Rebecca Wicks

When I first arrived in Dubai, the first event I was taken to was an upscale brunch at� Waxy O’Connors. Didn’t take long to realize my soon-to-be-friend was pulling my chain with the word ‘upscale’. If you’re a fan of dancing in the dark to pop tracks whilst high on sausages and chips, roast beef and beer, then it’s as classy as it comes, but it wasn’t till the next week when I feasted my eyes - and stomach - on the spread at Al Qasr, that I really understood the meaning of the word.

Dubai brunch is a standard summer affair, a socially acceptable fling that lasts a blissful few months in the confines of an air-conditioned room, made all the more acceptable by the fact that there really isn’t much else to do, when it’s 45 degrees in the shade. For the uninformed, with a Dubai brunch you sit from 4 to 12 hours (yes, 12 at the Marriott last year) and consume all you possibly can without your gut exploding, and if you’re really brave, you take the champagne option, stagger out at 6pm and sleep until Sunday morning. Saturday’s are non-existent in the summer, if you’re a serial Friday bruncher.

Last summer was my first encounter of the gluttonous kind. I think we brunched our way through every outlet in the city, Friday after Friday. The Dusit did a dandy spread. Yalumba at Meridien was the perfect place for pontificating over champers and a BBQ’d selection of every animal that ever roamed the land. The Marriott was a class unto its own. There was one fine day I sat in the Market Place restaurant there, on a table of about 25. We were happy, laughing, having fun into the 11th hour, when suddenly there was an uproar from the section round the corner. A man, on celebrating his birthday with a few too many ‘bullfrogs’ was being extricated from the premises� in a wheelchair, as his friends sang happy birthday. Oh, the shame.

It was an interesting few months. This summer I feel will be slightly different � perhaps I’ll dwell slightly more on the word ‘upscale’. There are a few new additions I’m dying to try out, too. The Crowne Plaza are really upping their brunching options this year, and I’m glad because I spent many an hour in their excellent Harvester pub when I first got to town, simply because it reminded me of a London pub. Even the men looked the same.

I hear Crowne Plaza on Sheikh Zayad Road are offering their East Meets West brunch every Friday from now on, with the promise of savouring three cuisines in one sitting � Lebanese and live entertainment from Al Tannour, an Izakaya buffet of sushi and sashimi from Sakura and cheese and cold cuts from the new and impressive Oscars � who also do a fabulous free wine tasting session every Wednesday, for the uninformed. FYI.

The Belgian Beer Caf� at Festival City’s Crowne Plaza has just launched its Belgian brunch, every Friday. We’re promised a breakfast buffet station for the eggs bennedict lovers, as well as authentic Belgian appetizers, salads and soups, �mussel salad with fennel and orange dressing� (screams the press release, making me drool) or an Apple and Witlof salad with Passendalen cheese and chive vinaigrette, from the Belgian continental buffet - DAAAHLINHG. Oh, and let’s not forget the unlimited and exclusive Belgian beers and house wines to accompany this feast, for the mere price of AED 199. Bring it on! I’ll have to pay a visit and report for you properly, but what with my new health and fitness regime (which is going moderately well, thanks for asking) I may have to hold off on the beer. Unless I lay off it all for a week and then do it properly on the weekend...

Hmmm. Something tells me this summer won’t be any more upscale than the last, after all.

Posted: 06 July 2008

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