Be honest, what do you look for in a Friday brunch in Dubai? Good food? Awesome music? A decent price point? Something in the Entertainer? Lots of pretty people? A decent drinks package? I like an effortless balance of all of the above, which is why one of my favorite brunches in the city is Firelake Grill. However, as a food writer in Dubai, I’m always on the lookout for something new. And it’s kind of my job to check out others.
In my usual discussion of different venues, I like to throw the term ‘USP’ around a bit, which basically means, ‘what makes this place special?’ For the most part, brunches (both buffet and ala carte) fall under similar categories (offering unlimited food and drinks, which seems to be what draws most people in). So, how to stand out further? Hint, here’s a good place to start. Offer pool and beach access (from 10 AM – 7 PM, in case you were wondering). Hubs and I both had a stressful week, and when I thought about how we wanted to spend our weekend, the selection was quite easy. A chilled out day by the pool, with brunch included? Yes, please.
The day starts precisely in my wheelhouse — at the Adults Only pool. You might find my thoughts mean, but I was gleeful when time and time again, lifeguards shooed off kids from the pool. After staking our claim on some sun loungers, and a quick soak, it was time to start eating. At the entrance to Seagrill Bistro, we start by selecting a table overlooking the pool and property, with the marina skyline as a backdrop. Not a bad start, and plenty of interesting people watching throughout our brunch. Music is mainly in the background, but this is because it is Ramadan. In all honesty, I don’t mind the chill vibe. We’re attentively met by our server, who quickly presents us with menus and takes our drink orders (Mojito for me, and Rose for Hubs). Service is a real highlight, during the day and each of the servers we interact on the Seagrill team with is professional and proactive. As we’re clearly in the mood to stretch out the pacing of our meal, I sincerely don’t mind if we’re asked when we’re ready for each course before it arrives. A brunch that shall go named once served my guest and I an entire menu within the span of 40 minutes, so I appreciate it when the wait staff checks in. The servers are amenable to us pulling back as we get to the mains because we’re so full and don’t blink an eye when we shift tables out of the sun.
Our first round of starters follows the trend of much of Dubai – the appetizers begin as cold selections. The Seafood Tower is really almost too much for two people (or at least when one person doesn’t like shellfish), with generous servings of everything on the platter (fear not, I was happy to eat the salmon and fresh crab). The tower is served up with Burrata (because I think it’s actually illegal in Dubai to dine out and NOT eat Burrata), and a Beetroot Salad. Oh, and we’re also served freshly made bread (which was very nice after my week of Keto eating). While the beets are…nice, they don’t serve any particular purpose, and I feel like they could be cut (especially given the amount of food we’re served, and my general stance against food wastage).
The next round of starters also has a lot to offer, with our favorites being the absolutely incredibly lush Foie gras Crumble (I could eat this every day of my life), and uniquely shaped Crab Cakes. The Marinated Tuna Salad is okay, but I would prefer a finer chop on both the tuna and the watermelon. Although the watermelon is light in flavor, I think the dish could use additional citrus or herbs to brighten things even more. Still, it’s a good dish for warm weather. The Beef Tartare is a bit of a disappointment — again, I prefer a finer chop and more depth of flavor (and I do like the egg on top). The servers are happy to give us more toasted buttery bread for the foie, and given the amount of food, it would be my suggestion to cut the tartare from this group.
Although there FOUR mains which are supposed to come out based on the menu, we ask to dial things back a bit (but still end up with three different plates). Given how full we are from the first courses, here is where I think the most work can be done — starting with allowing diners to choose one of the dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing Mushroom Fusilli Pasta (vegetarians need to eat), but the truffle oil was simply overwhelming. Similarly, while the cook on the Roasted Chicken was lovely, the peas and carrots certainly did not do any favors to elevate the dish (and honestly came off a bit childish). Finally, as Hubs grew up on the coast, he’s more of an expert of Bouillabaisse and found the dish a bit lacking. I also wanted more depth, but it was my favorite of the mains we were served. Additionally, I do think the sides –beautifully grilled veggies — definitely are worth mentioning.
If you can imagine EVEN MORE FOOD, that’s where the dessert courses are. We agreed to split just one of the three on offer (and even got extras). The Baked Alaska was a delight of merengue, and quite possibly the world’s most sumptuous chocolate and caramel cake (in the largest version I’ve ever seen) was served tableside.
Deciding it would be rude not to have at least a final swim
(snooze), we returned to our sunloungers and spent another hour. GUYS. For someone who is genuinely bad at relaxing at the pool, I was shocked to have so easily spent an entire day at leisure. If you think I’m kidding, you should see me on a beach holiday — it’s nearly impossible for me not to do anything.
My notes for Seagrill Bistro are limited. There was A LOT of straw use (why?). While I can’t be sure, I think these were plastic, and I would hope going forward that any straws were not used (or if the diner was asked first). We also suggested that with all the food offered, to combat food wastage, to simply offer one of the mains to guests. I think the abundance of food would be less noticeable at a 4 top, but scaling down for 2 people would also be great. I could also understand why some might think the AED495 per person price tag might be high, but I think the value for money is quite good (especially considering that you can find this deal in the Entertainer). Beach or day passes at most hotels aren’t cheap, and certainly never come with such a nice brunch and drinks.
Would I go back to Seagrill Bistro? Without hesitation!
Who is Seagrill Bistro best for? If you’ve worked a long week, or want a combined afternoon of beach and brunch, this is the spot for you.
A to Za’atar was a guest of Seagrill Bistro. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.