I didn’t particularly set out for a brunch this weekend, but when plans for dinner on Thursday fell through, brunch seemed like the best way to get out of the house. As usual, I wanted a place that was in the Entertainer (buy one, get one free offers, natch) and served ala carte. El Sur seemed to fit the bill perfectly. We were fortunate to have two additional diners join us, which made for a fun quartet.
Inside the Westin, the restaurant is located off of the left from the lobby. With a deceptively small entrance, the interior is unique. Walking directly into the high-ceilinged lounge, we were seated at one of the tables in the main dining room. Having passed two tables for 10-12 brunchers, I thought it was a smart move by the restaurant to sort of separate the larger parties from the smaller groups. Also, should you have any smokers in your group, apparently you can smoke at the bar. … And finally, El Sur does have a beautiful terrace, which I’m sure is nice when it’s not 40+C outside.
And what does the website claim?
El Sur is our own interpretation of fine-casual gastronomy in a Spanish Tapas restaurant. We present a relaxed and elegant atmosphere where guests can unwind and enjoy extraordinary service with attention to detail.
A bit more about this in a moment…
So, while there was no cava on offer for this brunch, we were happy with cocktails, beer, and wine. At the end of the meal, we even tried a pitch of the house sangria (tasty!).
While there are definitely more filling ala carte brunches, there was a bustling crowd and good service at El Sur. The concept of the brunch is, (as you may have guessed) a selection of tapas (15 in total). Brought out quickly, we immediately dug into some of the classics (patatas bravas, Padron peppers) and some other standard Spanish selections (olives, cheese). Much like many similar brunches, you try all of the dishes and then order anything you want more of.
While I found the selections to be varied (although vegetarians, fair warning, there might not be enough to consider a filling meal for you here), having a look at the full menu at El Sur, I think I was a bit disappointed in what was offered. Whereas brunches at Hide and Intersect give a thorough introduction to their menus, I think El Sur holds back a bit (this could be for any number of reasons and I’m guessing the kitchen would be overwhelmed with much more). Additionally, as El Sur prides themselves on being ‘fine-causal gastronomy’ (points for whoever came up with that definition – !?!), I failed to see much (or any) of this in action (based on my interpretation). I guess on a positive note, with the smaller dishes, there was almost no food wastage, which is always something I count as a successful brunch.
My suggestions to El Sur:
- Add cava to the available beverages (or, at the minimum, a cava based cocktail).
- More pork available – please!
- A few more dishes that ‘stick to your ribs’ (a full charcuterie and cheese board would’ve helped immensely).
- After brunch drink specials.
- Something chocolate on the dessert menu.
Would I go back? With the Entertainer, I think the value for money is quite good. At AED395 total (for two), this brunch doesn’t quite live up to Hide or Intersect, but it does deliver a solid experience and a variety of dishes. Rather than get involved in the Bubbalicious mess downstairs, El Sur offers up a great alternative. At full price, however, I’m not sure this brunch is worth it…