When friends contacted us for a leaving brunch in Abu Dhabi, we were happy to oblige. After all, the Shangri-La has long been one of my favorite properties. With a Groupon to bring the cost down, all signs pointed to a fantastic afternoon. As a bonus, Hubs and I decided we would stay over for a night
(which ended up being both damp and loud…avoid the 620 section of rooms, should you find yourself on property).
Y’all, I think I am over buffet brunches.
Call me a snob, call me a foodie, but I think this is my last buffet brunch for a long time…
- Waldorf gets the edge on offering real champagne to Sofra’s sparkling wine, but Sofra jumps ahead by having both a gin stand (Hendricks!) and a vodka bar (Stoli!).
- In the category of service, I couldn’t particularly say anything negative about either, while we started the meal at Sofra with sparkling water, there was not a lot of water (of any variety) to be hand for much of the afternoon. Why restaurants do not go ahead and leave bottles of both on tables (especially as the temperature rises), I have no idea.
- Waldorf gets the nod on having a dedicated area to children (something that was practically necessary during hour 3 of the brunch at Sofra).
- Tips to the meal go to Sofra, edging out with a lot more food I wanted to eat and, of course, sushi! I wasn’t specifically impressed (and definitely wanted a larger salad station), but the four children at the table were over the moon at the selection of food (especially the desserts). And, to be fair, this restaurant is highly rated on Zomato, so I think I’m going to count myself out as a food snob and show myself the door.
- For overall ambiance, I would also credit Sofra, who had a fun Latin trio on hand (to the nightmare of ‘soundtracks’ or silence at the Waldorf).
- Sofra seated us in the Shang Palace, something I would absolutely ask for again — it’s a much more private section and quite a bit less loud than the main dining area (up to you what your party level is).
- Both restaurants failed at getting diners to stay on property after (perhaps, they are not interested in this business, however, the Westin in Abu Dhabi does this quite brilliantly).
- Breakfast the following morning was a treat with plenty of options for everyone (although I found some of the dishes to be a little on the cool side).
Overall, I don’t think I would’ve judged the Waldorf as harshly had there been a discount on offer. For example, at Sofra, with Groupon putting the price at AED595 for two people (which included beach access
which also included people in their swimmers more or less), I thought, “Yes, this is about right.” Of course, for that sort of money, we’ve had absolutely lovely meals at both BOA and Koi, so…
Hubs and I left a little hungry and not particularly buzzed, so we went out for dinner (something we don’t usually tend to do after brunch).