In case you somehow missed the memo that I am a complete and total food snob — especially when it comes to Friday brunches in Dubai — then this post will confirm my status. And actually, upon reflection, I feel that I’m less a food snob and much more an ambiance snob than anything else. And, as someone wanting to have a conversation with friends I hadn’t seen in months, I was far less interested in what appeared to be one of the largest in-person versions of Tinder in the Emirates.
In reality, we got off on a wrong foot as we were supposed to dine at China Grill (confirmed twice during the week for a timing of 1 PM). Imagine our surprise when we arrived and there was not a single soul in the restaurant. After wandering around the empty venue for a bit (BTW, the restaurant was completely open to anyone who wanted to walk through and pour themselves a drink at the bar), we found our way back to the lobby, where the ubiquitous Bubbalicious brunch was already in full swing. The F&B manager told us we would be dining downstairs (and perhaps, most important, that we could use our Entertainer vouchers). Without any direction, we wandered through the entire brunch before finding our table in Hunter’s. Irritated that we’d already missed off a portion of our allotted eating and drinking time, I dove straight into the food. As I’ve mentioned (repeatedly), one of the things I like least about a buffet is the food wastage and feeding frenzy it inspires. However, I was happy to see a very generous pork station, along with the usual suspects (be sure to wear comfortable footwear to this brunch as the food is spread out through three restaurants — just doing a lap to look at the food could easily take ten minutes or more). I held fast to my usual brunch rule (2 plates + dessert), but it was evident people enjoyed dishes to their heart’s content.
Drinks of all varieties were readily available (Laurent-Perrier served at the table if you’re at the highest end of the spectrum) throughout the space (such that you are really never more than a few steps away from some booze cart of another).
I guess, however, if one must brunch in this manner, Bubbalicious certainly gets the job done. The wait staff are friendly, prompt and responsive in keeping drinks topped off. The food selection is massive, such that everyone should find something they like. I thought the music selection could be better and louder (and fondly recalled times at Yalumba). If you bring along the trusty Entertainer (and I highly recommend doing so), you can get the price under AED300 per person (which, given what’s available, this provides quite a bit of value for money, especially as the cheapest alcoholic package is AED550). Can you eat and drink AED550’s worth in 3 hours? I guess only you can answer that question. Furthermore, given the overall layout and design of the Bubbalicious brunch there was nothing that inspired me to return and try one of the restaurants I visited.
For those paying full price, I’d like to instead suggest some of the brilliant ala carte brunches that Dubai has to offer. With a bit of research, you can find an experience that will provide an amazing meal. As a friend who was at the Hide brunch with me last year, she is still raving about the experience. Certainly, if you’re in the mood for a party, Bubbalicious might be your best bet, however, for the same price you could enjoy a fantastic sit-down meal, drinks, and a kick-ass DJ.
Probably the best way to sum up my experience was with two gentlemen who we met upstairs at Oeno after brunch. They had been sitting at a table near ours and when a particularly loud, particularly drunk group began singing the 5th version of ‘happy birthday’ I reacted in such a way that they all noticed (and basically agreed with my face). I think that about sums things up.
Would I go back? Sorry, gang, this is just not my scene. Perhaps when I moved here 10 years ago, but now you’ll find me seated and enjoying brunch and bubbles at one of the fine dining properties in the city (which, yes, are often in the Entertainer).
Have you been to Bubbalicious? Where’s your favorite party brunch in Dubai?