Another new hotel, another new brunch launching in time for the post-summer brunching season. Yes, we’ve been here before, but in this case, there’s something more interesting happening. Brunch in the city is evolving and this new Riviera Brunch at the Address Boulevard Downtown is an example of a newer way of doing things.
Rather than order a la carte, or wandering back and forth to tureens of disappointing food, the format is simple. You sit down, put yourself in the hands of the chef and let the food come to you. Rather than being dropped into the middle of a huge room with a You’re letting a chef and his team curate a lunch for you. Of course, you have to like the style of cuisine – in this case, the food of the Côte d'Azur and French Riviera – but if you do then not choosing each dish works.
Put it this way, you order Indian takeaways right? Of course you do. Or for that matter, Chinese or pizza or whatever. And I bet every time you order pretty much the same thing – murgh lababdar / black pepper beef / Margherita con bufala in my case. What this brunch does it is drops you into the world of a specific cuisine and presents the best presentation of it. A bit like a tasting menu, but without the massive fuss, or like eating at someone’s house.
First is a round of crudites with dips and breads.
Then starters, including some great fried calamari, stuffed veg, salads and mango-topped carpaccio.
Mains include a slow-cooked beef, fish with prawns, polenta, mushroom-stuffed ravioli and ratatouille.
It’s only once you get to desserts that you get up and browse. And the desserts here are phenomenal. There are homemade ice creams served from a little cart and we are calling the cherry variety as the best ice cream in the country. But it’s all good, because this is something the French do exceptionally well.
Of course, if the food here isn’t your thing then it’s just not your thing. But if you have the slightest interest in Southern French cuisine then this is a splendid way to spend a Friday afternoon. Let someone else choose for you and curate a lunch that is really quite lovely.
Every Friday starting from 8 September, 12pm until 4pm
Price: Leger Package – Dhs325 including soft beverages; Joli Package – Dhs425 including house beverages; Magnifique Package – Dhs525 including bubbly, premium quality caviar and pool access.