Brunch in Abu Dhabi

So as mentioned previously in my 'Life of Dubai' blog I am lucky enough to have family out in Abu Dhabi and I was fortunate to ...


So as mentioned previously in my 'Life of Dubai' blog I am lucky enough to have family out in Abu Dhabi and I was fortunate to visit them again recently. I mean I love seeing them anyway because they are two of my favourite human beings but it's also quite handy that they live in one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. 

Last year I was able to experience Dubai Mall for the first time and go to all of these lovely restaurants and view the culture first hand however this holiday myself and my lovely mother just needed to relax and have a nice chilled out holiday. My mum's only request was that I got to experience Brunch which is something she and my Aunty have raved about but I have never done. I'm personally not a huge drinker and I hate getting drunk (I know i'm a loser) and I don't normally like trying new things but I was genuinely really excited to try the whole brunching experience as it's so different to a little brunch in England. A brunch over here has always just been a cup of tea and some finger sandwiches and cakes with maybe a glass of prosecco which is still delightful. However in Dubai it's 3 hours of pure solid eating and drinking.

There are a lot of different places that you can go to Brunch in Abu Dhabi such as:

The Brunch that we went to was the one at St Regis - Saadiyat Island in a restaurant called Olea however we were sat in the restaurant 55 & 5th. In true fashion we were on the Brunch offer that included unlimited champagne because what better way to drink away the day. 

There were many different stations where you could pick up alcohol so there were cocktail bars and then outside there were ones where you could get sangria and gin and then more cocktails stations for Mojitos etc. so no matter what alcohol you liked there was always something for you. Even if you don't drink alcohol there are still options for you and there is an insane variety of different mocktails. I tried starting off with a Cosmopolitan to keep it classy and original however I recommend you don't do that - go for the weirdest drink there because 9 times out of 10 they're gonna be the best and you won't feel bad because if you don't like it you haven't wasted £10. 

As stated there are a lot of different stations in the restaurant with whatever style of food you could ask for but what I liked was that the waiters brought round tasters of things every now and again and they were things you would never normally pick up and try because with brunch you can get away with wasting food and drink. I personally didn't like any of the samples because out of the three of them two of them were fish based and one was banana and I don't like fish or bananas... However, like I said at the time 'at least I tried them'. 



The Drinks

As shown above I was on the champagne deal so the champagne was on tap for me which was incredible but it didn't stop me trying out a few new different drinks i've either never had or would not normally try.

 My uncle didn't go for the Champagne offer - he stuck to gin and i'm not a gin person at all but look at how good his drink looks!

There was a whole gin station that had different flavours of gin and the people on the bar were really good with teaming the flavours with the fruits that would compliment the gin incredibly well.

There was also a whole station dedicated to Bloody Mary's which I wish I had tested but I knew I wouldn't enjoy because I don't necessarily enjoy the concept of tomato juice but I will definitely give a go the next time i'm there. I just had one too many cocktails and forgot it was there...

 

One thing I would definitely point out is don't be deceived by how pretty the cocktails look in the glasses and with the decor etc. because when you get up close it can be very scary. I went to check out the cocktails and found the below creation... Rumble with Duck Pastrami. WHO PUTS DUCK IN A COCKTAIL!?


One extremely good thing to come out of this experience was the beauty that is below. The Espresso Martini. I have my Aunty to thank for this because I would never have even thought about trying this because a) it was not on display so didn't know it was available and b) i would never pick up a coffee based cocktail ever. But this cocktail is honestly incredible!!! It tastes amazing and not overpowering at all - i recommend it to any coffee lover. Go get one and let this be your excuse to go for cocktails right now. Even if it's 10 in the morning, I won't judge you. 




The Salad Bar

So I felt obliged to try the salad bar even though I ate half the plate and then really questioned what I was doing with my life so left it. There was such a variety of different salad and pasta dishes from around the world and it was genuinely really interesting to see what some people thought could pass as food, such as the octopus pasta salad... 



There were a lot of random pots of colourful creations that were incredibly deceiving because they looked like they would taste so good! All of the colours and the way that they were displayed screamed at you to pick them up and put them on your plate so I did... and they were definitely not for me. I mean I know some people would be in their element with veggie salad pots like this however it's just not what really tickles my taste buds. I am not a massive veggie lover unless it comes on a sunday dinner and is roasted with garlic, but at least if you are a  vegetarian you know you've got more than enough options.


Food, food and more food:

So i'm not going to bore you with all of the different stations that were shown because not only do I want it to be a surprise for you if you want to go but I also didn't get photos of everything because I was so overwhelmed by the amount of food there.

So as stated above there is a large variety of foods that are suitable for vegetarians and that includes a whole station dedicated to vegetables so if that is a concern for you or a friend/family member then do not worry - there is 100% stuff for you to eat there.

I am personally quite fussy with food so for example I don't like certain meats such as venison or lamb which they had a lot of as you can't have pork so they acted as a substitute and I really don't like seafood so I worried there wasn't going to be many things for me to be able to try but you're honestly more focused on the alcohol. Plus when you've got all that alcohol in you you're much more inclined to try different foods!

My uncle made me try oysters which I didn't mind at all because you don't chew them so you can't taste them PLUS I covered them in buttered chicken (the best thing ever) so I couldn't taste it at all so I would say try out oysters when you can even if you don't like fish.





What I also tried was caviar... This is something I would never ever ever normally try in any situation however as it was brought to me on a plate and as it's so expensive and I wanted to get my money worth I tried it anyway.

So for all those people who have caviar in their diet or enjoy the taste of it - you do not deserve to have taste buds. This was honestly the worst thing I have ever tasted. I want to be exaggerating but i'm not, it was horrific. It was so overpoweringly fishy and salty and just everything I do not like in food. And I'm all for 'each to their own' but no... I'm shocked people eat it.

But I definitely give credit to myself and my fam for trying it because it was an intense moment for all of us! I am also proud of us all for not spitting it out because that is probably frowned upon in Abu Dhabi, especially in a fine dining scenario such as brunch. So for now I will stick to my buttered chicken covered oysters and make myself a promise to never actually look at an oyster before eating them because that photo does not give off much appeal.

There were many different stations such as the seafood stations where you can get prawns and crab pots (I think, I could totally be lying because I didn't really delve into it). There were then more BBQ themed foods like venison hot dogs and little mini burgers etc. and then some more fish and then even more meat!

If you're a lover of food your eyes will become bigger than your belly and you will want to put everything on your plate all at once but DO NOT DO THAT! Trust me, I had to learn the hard way. You have a solid three hours to gauge - don't eat as much as you can all at once. It's not like your stereotypical buffet, you have ages to try everything and take your time to get up and have a look around.

I definitely recommend going to the cheese room as well because even if you don't like cheese like I don't i've heard that it is incredible and full of wine too. But you can tell that seafood is a definite favourite as there is so much of it dotted about.

For all those lovely folks reading this in England I can confirm that there was a Sunday dinner esque station and it did not disappoint AT ALL! There were yorkshire puddings and everything and it was easily my favourite plate of food. It helped that it was my last plate of food too so I was probably drunk by the time I was eating it but the beef brisket was incredible and I would pay to go back again just to eat that. I mean look how cute the yorkshire is... DEVINE.



The Créme De La Créme:

So i'm not a huge desert person, i'd take a packet of monster munch over a bar of chocolate any day but the second I walked down the steps to the restaurant it was the first thing I saw. I've dubbed it the Willy Wonka station because it's just full of chocolate and sweets and it was the easiest one to take photos of because there was so much to take in. 


So to start with look at this little beauty of a chocolate fountain. I mean going back to the days of being a child when someone would have a mini chocolate fountain set up at a party and it would be the best thing ever with your marshmallows - imagine that but with two giant chocolate fountains and loads more treats to dip in. I was a literal kid in a candy shop.

 


I definitely feel like you could dedicate your three hours of brunch purely to desserts because after doing the whole savoury meal experience I was full up so I didn't get to make the most of all of the puddings that were there.

Some of the desserts didn't have labels on them or ingredients so you weren't quite sure what you were eating but I think that when it comes to desserts you are probably going to enjoy it and you can vaguely see the ingredients of them when just taking a closer look but there was such a variety that there was something everyone would love. It's basically just dessert heaven and looking at the photos I am kicking myself for not trying more out. 





Everything was so beautifully prepared and had so much detail that you almost felt bad for eating them. Obviously that was until you ate them and realised how good they were but it was just complete 5 star food. 

There isn't even much to say about the desserts because the photos completely speak for themselves, and I can't recommend the experience of brunch more. If you are ever in Abu Dhabi take a day out of your holiday to go because you won't regret it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it's something you can do no matter who you are - if you have kids, if you are a vegetarian, if you don't drink alcohol. There is something for everyone and it's something that I will remember and want to repeat for a very long time, probably until I get to go again. 




The Aftermath:


So after we left the restaurant we headed to a lovely bar that was on the beach called 'Turquoiz'. This place was truly beautiful and the beach view was incredible because even though it was overcast you could still see the sunset. It was also joint onto a hotel so there were lots of families still on the beach playing volleyball and chilling out so the whole feel of the place was excitement with a sit down and relax vibe.

The one thing I would say about this bar is that it isn't cheap (nothing is cheap in Abu Dhabi) and it will cost you a few pennies for a round of drinks but I definitely recommend it even if you haven't been to brunch and you just want a place to go. I didn't even have a look in the hotel but based on this little restaurant bar and the beach I would recommend staying at the hotel purely for the view and atmosphere.

At night there are these lovely round lanterns that come on which mean that it's not pitch black and you don't have to worry about seeing the drinks menu! I feel like everyone who wanted to go out for drinks after brunch was there so when it hit sunset people were starting to wind down so the whole feel of the place became a lot more relaxed and there wasn't really loud music going on in the background so it was nice to sit and have a few chats with my family.

Overall - brunch gets a 9/10 and it's only not a 10 because I can still taste the caviar. It is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone because the experience is just out of this world. I would also say go have a few more drinks in the bar as well and get a pizza on your way home to sober yourself up! And a massive thank you to my Aunty and Uncle for letting me experience this and putting up with me for the week!


What to wear out and about in Dubai:

Whenever I mention the fact I am going to Abu Dhabi or Dubai I always get questioned on what to wear and what is appropriate because people have this idea that if you go out in shorts and a vest you will get put in jail which is not the case. 

You can really wear whatever you want - I don't think there is a specific set in stone dress code for tourists that say 'you can't wear shorts' or 'you can't wear bikinis whilst wandering round the streets'. Saying that I think purely out of respect for their culture I don't think that is acceptable at all to wear that sort of attire and I personally believe that you should cover yourself up. 

When I was away I found myself wearing a lot of long maxi dresses and using a kimono or thin shawl to cover my shoulders when out and about. I also wore my Topshop Joni jeans because they are extremely comfy and went with a lot of the long loose tops I was wearing. So to conclude I don't agree with people wearing shorts and little tees or sundresses as you stick out like a sore thumb and I would go for a loose long sleeved top and some leggings and just jazz it up with some accessories. I feel like this would also help you not burn because it gets so intensely hot in Dubai that there will be some accidents where sun cream hasn't been re-applied. 




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