Pretty People, Limited Service and Mains Chaos: Brunch at Q43

When I was invited to join friends in Dubai for a ladies brunch this weekend, I hesitated – after all, I had Oktoberfest plans the night before and attending brunch would involve the 2 hour round trip from my home in Abu Dhabi.  In the end, I wanted to see my friends and make some new connections.  With our upcoming move to Dubai early next year, this seemed like a great place to start.  On paper, Q43 looked like a great venue…unfortunately, it did not live up to its hype.

Reservations?  Not sure who made them, but we had a table for 8 overlooking the Dubai marina.

Ambiance?  2 cool 4 school.  From the graffiti styled bathrooms to the open concept floor plan AND two sets of pool tables, Q43 is all about urban chic.  Having been to more family centered and sophisticated brunches recently, I wasn’t ready for the singles scene going on around us.  As a side note, I think it’s funny how relatively conservative I’ve become living in Abu Dhabi — some of the outfits I saw yesterday were enough to make me wonder if this was the Middle East.

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Impress the out-of-towners.

Food?  Mostly a miss.  I’m not sure if it was the comparison to last week’s incredible outing, but Q43 leaves a lot to be desired.  The starters (bland bar snacks) were average at best and the mains were difficult to find and were located in a bizarre area.  This was also not a place to go if you are a vegetarian.  Similarly, I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t a sparkling wine available.

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Impress the out-of-towners.

Service?  Straight up difficult and among the worst I’ve experience in the GCC.  We had to beg most of the afternoon to get alcohol.  Look, we’re not lushes maybe I am, but when going to a Friday brunch, drinking is a big part of the reason to attend.  A member of our party waited 45 minutes before she received her first glass of wine.  While the appetizers were brought out straight away, our menus were whisked away moments after sitting down so we weren’t sure what we were eating or what was coming next.  Plates weren’t cleared and it was impossible to get a refill on anything in less than 20 minutes.

Cost?  With the Entertainer BOGO voucher, we paid AED250 per person for brunch (including spirits and house wines).

Parting thoughts from Hubs…  Glad I didn’t go and that guy you saw is not a blonde version of me!


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