Departures @ Dusty’s: Divine tunes.

Dusty’s has been on my radar since… Forever?  It was one of those ‘I’ll get there one day’ and this past Friday was finally that day!

Deli by day. Wine bar by night and whole lot more in between. “Dusty’s” the restaurant, has been developed to be an extension of the man, Dusty himself and portrays a mixture of different traditions and cultures into the design, ambiance and food.

Our inspiration comes from our collective travels across the globe and oozes what we call a “global-family-feel” concept that expresses all the love that has been put into the space.


We built Dusty’s with YOU in mind and strive to offer the perfect balance of flexibility and premium service.

So, less standoffish than some of the other venues in town, yes?

To start, I already love the brunch because it is an ala carte venture (sorry, buffets, but at year 9 in the GCC, I’m well and truly over you #foodsnobforlife).  The Departures theme (one that starts outside the restaurant as you enter through a ‘boarding gate’) translates to the wait staff wearing fancy dress pilot and air hostess ensembles (although feminist me thinks the ladies should be able to wear the captain’s outfit if they want to, but I digress…).  The theme is further extended by a large screen playing the classic comedy Airplane (with the sound turned down).  The crowd was eclectic (it was nice not to see the usual cookie cutter brunch group) and, for the most part, very much in the mood to party.

How about some good things?

  • Literally, my favorite DJ in town.  If you are a child of the 80s and 90s and early 2000s R&B is your thing, then this guy is right for you (Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule, ODB, Usher, Snoop, Xzibit, Method Man, the hits kept coming…).  From 1:00-4:30PM, I was completely impressed with tune after tune of amazing music (and yes, the music went more modern as the afternoon progressed).  If you don’t believe music can set the tone or completely enhance the ambiance of a venue, then go to the Departures brunch and have a listen.
  • Prompt service (well, for at least the first two hours…)  Seated quickly, we had bubbly, a bottle of water (blessedly left on the table like the adults we are), and our starters all by 1:20 PM.
  • A variety of food, served in the EXACT RIGHT PORTION SIZES.  I cannot stress this point enough.  With the exception of a bit of dessert left over, each small plate was the perfect size to enjoy.  Unlike most of the brunches in Dubai, the kitchen gets things perfect here.  And if you want more?  Just order!
  • A unique venue (graffiti and artwork and lighting, oh my!).
  • The wait staff cleared checks for everyone in the middle of brunch… Y’all, this was a revelation.  (For my experience, MediaOne gets it best — come in, pay your bill, get your bracelet — khalas.)  Rather than wait until the end, or spoil things at the start, right around the time people moved from starters to mains, bills were circulated in a professional and easy manner.  Note to other brunches:  do this!!!
  • My third favorite toilets in the city (first goes to Katana, then Cocktail Kitchen).

And some things to work on?

  • While every service person we interacted with was friendly, after the delivery of our mains, they kind of…disappeared.  We still had drinks, etc., it just seemed strange.
  • While the food selection was varied, this is not what I would consider fine dining.  The plating and presentation was nice, but this was not Intersect or The Hide.  Other than the Fillet Steak, there was nothing I wanted to come back and try for dinner.
  • SMOKING.  This one is nearly a deal breaker for me.  It is crazy that in 2016 people can still smoke inside.  While the circulation system in place does a great job of removing a lot of the smoke from the air, people were lighting up everywhere.  I just…can’t even.  You may feel differently, but this is one I put my foot down on.
  • If you’re not there to party, towards the end of brunch, well, you know how it is.  I would suggest finding a nice spot at the bar and enjoying a last drink before your next spot…

But enough of my opinion, here are a few snaps, so you can form your own interpretation.

Dusty's Dubai
Always keen for a nicely set table.
Dusty's Dubai
Spinach hummus… All chickpea, almost no spinach. Also, a less fried pita chip would be appreciated.
Dusty's Dubai
Really can’t go wrong with burrata, but serving with either more vegetables or crostini would’ve elevated the dish that much further.
Dusty's Dubai
Wagyu slider was a treat — just be sure to clarify you would like more than one!
Dusty's Dubai
Rock Shrimp Tempura… Hot hot hot!
Dusty's Dubai
Glad to see some lighter options on the menu — here, crispy duck salad (a nice break among all the carbs and starches).
Dusty's Dubai
Like I’m going to go anywhere and not order a mojito.
Dusty's Dubai
Fillet Steak: 100% would order again!
Dusty's Dubai
Black cod: kind of salty, but not too bad.
Dusty's Dubai
Sweets tray: A for effort. Needs to be warmer and more fresh fruit please!
Dusty's Dubai
A bit tart and a bit too much sugar. With sorbet, it’s best to let the flavors do their own thing!

So, the big question, would I go back?  At AED350, the price for the ‘business class’ offering is perfect (to add bubbles and go ‘first class,’ the cost is AED450).  With the right crowd, this could be one of the best brunches you’ve ever been to…  If I worked at DIFC, this might be a fun stop for drinks after work.

A to Za’atar was a guest of Dusty’s.  Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.

Dusty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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