Wakame’s Shanghai Grand Brunch at Dusk: You Want This.

A last minute invite to a late brunch at Wakame?  No plans for Friday?  Well, I guess it was meant to be.

I happen to love the Sofitel property and brand in general, so this was a bit of serendipity.  As you might recognize, I’ve lived in Dubai for awhile and have had the opportunity to try many a brunch.  However, as much as I’ve gone to traditional timings or later brunches, I’ve never attended one between the hours of 3-6PM.  What a novel concept!

With the late start, I was able to:

  • Go to an exercise class
  • Work on some reviews
  • Write 1,000 words for my new novel
  • Do a load of laundry
  • Get the dishes cleaned
  • Read a book I’m enjoying
  • Take my time getting ready

So, what does the brunch involve?  It’s an ala carte offer, so that’s a plus.  Trusting in our server (who took perfect care of us during the evening), we decided to skip making any decisions and let food arrive as it was prepared by the kitchen.  With a good mix of dim sum and specialty maki (along with a fresh salad and edamame to start), we had no trouble filling up (a direct comparison to the mediocre offerings of El Sur).

While I personally do not care that much for dim sum, there was a selection of six small plates, with my favorite being the inventive butternut squash, spinach, feta and pine nut dumpling.  The blend of the filling was sweet and delicious but, I thought maybe could’ve used just a bit of something for texture — maybe asparagus?  Pine nuts?

The sushi and maki selections were truly out of this world.  While I realize there are other brunches that allow unlimited sashimi and other bland rolls, I don’t think I will ever look further than my new favorite dish: Firecracker Roses.  Y’all, I’ve eaten a lot of raw fish in my day, but this is the kind of dish that if I will actively be looking for on menus everywhere.

Essentially, with chopped spicy salmon (but not too spicy), tobiko and tempura crumb, it’s everything I like about sushi but with better texture and less rice.  Our clever server brought this signature dish out to start and it is the same plate we ended the meal on.

And what is a brunch without drinks?  Guests will be treated to a weekly signature cocktail (in our case, it was a Bund Sour…and…a few more at the bar, I’ll give more details after the photos).  There are also the standard spirits, Asahi beer, wine, sake and (for a few extra dizzles), Veuve Clicquot Brut (yes, please!).  For guests not opting for alcohol, there was also a festive mocktail on offer.

To end the meal, there were two desserts to choose from: the Miso Caramel Cheesecake and a selection of Mochi.  Like all of the plates we tried, the portion size was just perfect — a bite of sweet caramel cheesecake with the perfect crumble of black sesame shortbread.

Here’s a short ‘taste’ of the menu:

IMG_5913 IMG_5916 IMG_5918 IMG_5921 IMG_5929 IMG_5932 IMG_5934IMG_5962IMG_5978IMG_5946

Another feature I liked about Wakame was the distinct ‘zones’ in the restaurant design: a large lounge (where, yes, smoking is allowed) the dining room (including semi-private booths) and a private dining room.   As we finished our last plate, Hubs and I have been starting a new tradition of ending the food portion of our brunch and then heading to the bar to have ‘one for the road.’  In this case, we requested a final drink and had our dessert delivered there as well.

And then we started talking to the friendly bar staff.  And then we were asked if we would like to try some of the upcoming drinks.  Clever Bar Manager had not only been keeping an eye on what we were drinking, but also listening and made up a number of bespoke cocktails to match our tastes.  While we meant to end the brunch around 6 PM, we made it home closer to 9 PM — oops!  If you’re looking for a professional mixologist, look no further.

As you can imagine, this brunch easily ticks many boxes for me.  Excellent service, unique ala carte menu, and later timings make this a bargain not to miss.  At AED295 (!!) the price is (more than) right.  Use this brunch to start out for a longer night, to give yourself a few more functional hours in the day, or just because the food is delicious.

If not for brunch, give this location a visit for a chic night out, or a meet up for drinks in Business Bay.

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

Wakame Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Author. Expat. Saberer of champagne. You might also know me as Courtney Brandt.

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