The F&B outlets at the Armani Hotel represent a number of venues I’ve been dying to go to for years, but have never actually visited (although I did go to Armani Prive once or twice circa 2010). Thus, with an opportunity to attend brunch at Armani/Hashi, I was more than happy to say yes.
After the long (long) walk through the Armani hotel lobby (with almost no signage), I looked around for anything indicating where exactly Hashi was located, only to get in (what I hoped) was the right lift, end up at the Deli, and finally make it downstairs to the correct restaurant. I get there is a desire for understated design, but I believe there is also a need for patrons to correctly find their way (maybe those in the know just get where they are supposed to go? I digress…). My struggle with directions aside, I was warmly greeted at reception and, on my way to my seat, spied something I wasn’t really expecting — a buffet. I was instantly transported to a similar (failed) brunch (at Barfly by Buddha Bar…so awkward I chose not to write about it). I know, Courtney, just get over yourself, but honestly, for the brand, a buffet makes no sense. I’d like to say that my initial impressions changed during the meal, but overall, the word that kept coming to mind was ‘basic.’
- Scrap the buffet. Honestly, you’re the Armani and have no business serving a buffet at this venue — it wastes food and is not in line with the restaurant. If I were the management at Hashi, I would take a hard look at the successful ala carte brunches and go after a similar market (especially for the price point).
- Better cocktails. There were four decent enough drinks on offer, but I’d love to see something a bit more creative. I’d also consider adding a rose to the wine list, and perhaps another choice of beer.
- More publicity. The brunch was woefully unattended, which added to the lack of atmosphere. Not every brunch needs to be a Bubblicious or Saffron, but a full restaurant would’ve gone a long way to creating any sort of vibe. Our group had fun on our own, but the emptiness of the dining room was a bit awkward. I would genuinely feel bad if I had brought out of town friends to this brunch.
- A better DJ/music. I’ve been to certain brunches where the entire experience has been elevated by the choice of music (yes, really). With the intent of a Friday brunch to unwind with friends and family after a long week, or to celebrate, or to get dressed up and go out, why not have music to match? Take a nod from some other establishments and go for an acoustic duo or harpist or pianist. The possibilities are endless.
- Better food/more choices. Coming off the excellent meal at the PLAY brunch, the food at Hashi simply didn’t live up. While the buffet contained some nice sashimi, the sushi rolls weren’t particularly inventive, and the mains lacked any significant seasoning. I did appreciate how responsive the kitchen was to a friend’s allergies, however, overall, there was not much I wanted to go back for or have seconds of (again, compared to Play where I would order almost every dish again).
In case you’re interested, brunch packages run AED290 (soft drinks) / 390 (house beverages) / 490 (includes bubbles).
Would I go back to Hashi? Not anytime soon. My experience at brunch was not enough to encourage a repeat visit for dinner. If you are looking for superb Asian fusion, try the PLAY brunch instead. If you want a semi-obstructed view of the Dubai Fountains, go for Hashi.
What’s your favorite venue at the Armani?