Yalumba: New squid on the block.

Yalumba: New squid on the block.

“Don’t be crabby, we have organized a craysea Friday seafood supper and promise you’ll have a whale of a time!”


As Hubs and I were on the way to Yalumba, we reminisced about our last visit to the airport Le Meridien, when — if you can believe it — we used to live on this side of Dubai (circa 2007). I could remember visiting the venue for a hen do in 2009, and that for an extended period Yalumba was simultaneously one of the nicest places for brunch (ala carte before that was even a consideration, my, how my tastes have changed), the most expensive (to me at the time), and an assured party atmosphere.  Now, of course, there are approximately one zillion places to brunch in all of these categories and almost no reason to schlep to the airport in search of an unlimited seafood and drinks package.

To counter some of this, Yalumba has done a bit of a rebrand… Much like their former al fresco nights of old, there are now new theme nights in the completely refurbished restaurant.  Friday night yields the ‘Shellfish Lobsession.’

All things being equal, what does Yalumba do right?

  • Value for money.  At a very respectable AED280 (including a sparkling wine option), this is one of the less expensive offers in the city.  In case you’re looking for just seafood, the cost is AED190.
  • 1,127 preparations of seafood.  Well, I might be over exaggerating just a touch, but honestly, there were certainly a plethora of styles of cooking and presentation ranging from raw to steamed to grilled and just about everything in between.  This is truly a seafood lovers paradise.
  • Dessert.  Whoever the pastry chef is should get a raise.  Props to perfectly cooked madeleines, a creamy cheesecake, and even a decent gluten free option.

So, what are my suggestions for improvement?

  • Scallops!  I might have missed them, but as one of my favorite forms of seafood, I would happily eat plates of this protein (prepared almost any style).  An addition of scallops (in any form) would be a welcome addition.
  • A much more expansive sushi selection.  Sushi is a ubiquitous offer at any Dubai buffet, so why not offer a larger choice?  The rolls were super basic, and I didn’t see any sashimi.
  • Scrap the ‘festive’ cocktails.  With an over reliance on blue curacao, each of the blue drinks looked rather atrocious.  I’m all for going with a theme, but taste cannot be sacrificed.  I therefore stuck to plain spirits and wine.

Would I go back?  As you might have guessed, this wasn’t particularly my scene — however, with the right group, I think this could be a fun location.  If you live in Mirdiff, Deira, or Sharjah and didn’t want to break the bank by adding on a high taxi or Careem fare, I think Yalumba would be a great compromise.  Still, I don’t think I’ll be back any time soon.

What is your favorite night brunch in Dubai?  Which theme nights do you look for?

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

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

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