Another invite hit my mailbox heralding the launch of a new brunch and I immediately skimmed it quickly for the relevant details. I have to be honest, my eyes skipped past the title of the brunch, it’s called the Best Dressed Brunch, and each week someone, judged to be the best dressed will win a hotel stay. But I’m no fashionista! Instead I’m a foodie so comfort dressing for brunch always overtakes style, fashion or ‘best dressed’. Instead my eyes were drawn to the promise of a very British Brunch. Heck, I’m a Brit, I haven’t been home in a while and I hanker for British food, always cooking a weekly roast, sometimes two even if it’s just for me. So whilst I typically only accept A La Carte Brunch invites, my ‘inner Brit’ told me this was one Brunch that I felt that I really couldn’t resist!
First impressions on spotting the hotel were a bit confusing, I wasn’t sure the hotel was finished since there’s some scaffolding at the top of the building and there were some on going repairs at the valet parking area. Having been assured by the valet guys that the hotel was indeed open, we moved quickly into the beautiful lobby of the hotel and all my doubts disappeared. The hotel is quintessential British and has a sister hotel DUKES London in Mayfair which I’ve been to a few times for business meetings, back in the day!
We head across the lobby to GBR, short for Great British Restaurant which is the location for brunch. We had arrived late, but managed to make up for our late entry with a quick visit to the fresh seafood section for starters off Colchester oysters, fresh crab and a live prawn cocktail station which was novel and fun. There’s a huge section of freshly made bread and I wished I had more space to indulge as there were a lot of really good looking loafs on offer including tempting sour dough and some fresh focaccia.
A wander around the two areas of hot food was like taking a walk through my childhood and a celebration of the dishes that I grew up with and still hanker for today when I’m craving British food. Of course there were Fish and Chips, and scraps too! A wide selection of curries took me back to the Balti houses of Birmingham. Fish pie, cottage pie, meat pies, pasties, two different beef roasts with all the trimmings and oh so much more. Looking around the table, almost everyone had gone for different things, but we were all united over the roast! It’s often the little details that make the difference and the little details had been carefully crafted into the brunch. There were bottles of HP sauce, homemade ketchup, chip shop curry gravy, onion gravy and horseradish sauce, all firm favorites of mine and for me so very, very British!
Thankful that I had worn a comfortable dress, desserts were tackled with a nostalgic smile. Sherry Trifle, Battenberg, Apple Crumble, Bread & Butter pudding were aplenty as were other desserts I had forgotten about – upside-down pineapple cake, sticky toffee pudding, as well as a wide selection of cupcakes bedecked with the UK Flags. There was a table full of English cheeses, a candy floss machine, sweeties including cola bottles, and gob stoppers, each dish evoking a memory, quirky, whimsical and oh so very British. Finally, the piece de resistance, was a platter of warm scones, a big dish of clotted cream and some raspberry jam which I’m afraid I scoffed down.
Cute drinks trolleys were serving G&T’s, Bloody Mary and Pimms, all so quintessentially British. I know I keep saying it, but it really was a very British lunch so full credit to the team who pulled off a great themed brunch.
As I said earlier, it’s rare for me to attend a buffet type brunch, but this one was executed well. Suggestions for improvement are few, firstly no need for a live pasta station, seriously there’s plenty of other dishes that people were flocking to, secondly the roast potatoes need more crunch and thirdly, better quality jam with the scones please and finally would love to see a drink menu please (perhaps these were there, we just weren’t given one). That aside, we had a great British Brunch.
Details : Best Dressed Brunch runs every Friday from 1pm to 4pm.
Soft drinks: AED295, House drinks: AED395, Sparkling drinks: AED445, Bubbly drinks: AED545
Details : www.dukesdubai.com [Images & Video by Debbie Rogers]