“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” Jacques Cousteau
For all those good folks who have made New Year healthy eating and fitness resolutions (and haven’t broken them yet), those doing ‘dry’ January or even ‘Veganuary’ this may not be the post for you, unless you are looking for the best brunch location to celebrate your willpower next month of course. For everyone else happy with their festive gains and still brunching in January, here’s a great tip for the perfect Friday indulgence.
The gorgeous Saadiyat Beach Club, formerly known to most as the Monte Carlo Beach Club, has the fabulous beachside location, cabana lined pool area, outdoor bars and terraces that set the weekend vibe like no other and now, its family friendly Friday Brunch at Safina restaurant makes it impossible to resist.
Location, location, location is what draws people to this luxurious spot on Saadiyat Island and it’s true from the moment you enter the oversized door and glimpse the sensational blue infinity pool beyond you know it’s a special place. What will guarantee your repeat visits, besides the obvious opportunity to relax in spectacular fashion, is the diversity and variety of the food and the attentive service.
Safina restaurant is just beautiful, a visual masterpiece of contemporary interior design that incorporates an overall beach style concept in keeping with its location. Driftwood sculptures and fishing baskets hanging from the ceiling meet wooden statement furniture and soft muted textiles, offset by walls of framed photos and quirky hanging stones, large lanterns, candlesticks and vases, the perfect spot for a large gathering, an intimate corner for a romantic dinner or of course, Friday brunch.
Presentation and flavours are key at brunch and the vast array of food on offer at Safina certainly ticked both those boxes. Mediterranean cuisine inspired by both the French and Italian Rivieras is created by the chefs and it’s hard to know where to start as your eyes take in all the delights. Oysters, juicy giant shrimps and lobsters were stacked alongside sushi, live cooking stations offering pasta and stir fries, an Asian corner with tasty vegetarian dim sum and noodles, a colourful salad bar, a rich French Onion soup with cheese croutons and outdoor live BBQ grills offering steaks, lamb chops, kebabs and more seafood.
There were mussels au gratin, a made-to-order tartare station, cold mezzah, eggs benedict and a wide selection of different breads. A very tempting dessert table and cheese selection were located centrally, making it hard for me to walk past and resist until the appropriate time.
With a vegetarian and a vegan in our group we are not the easiest chaps to accommodate but we were pleased with the options available and requests to tailor some dishes were well received. The aforementioned divine dessert station and cheese bar did not disappoint as expected, they may or may not have been visited more than once, who can resist small pots of sweet treats, bright coloured macaroons and a chocolate fountain, not me!! Delicious refreshing cocktails were free-flowing throughout, complementing the food selections perfectly.
So there’s all the usual brunch attributes but what makes this one so special? Well I may be past the young children stage but the majority of people here are not and with Friday being the maid’s day off, a family friendly brunch that offers to keep the kids entertained as well as the adults is already a winner in this neck of the woods. We visited as a grown-up family of five with friends with younger children and we were all entertained in our own way. The younger children played happily in the large playroom between sampling the kids brunch specialties of childhood favourites including fish fingers, chicken nuggets and mini burgers (I spied a few adults with a mini burger or two on their plates). Colouring, face painting, craft activities and a rather lovely lady to care for them ensured smiley faces all round.
Add in the pool and beach access for a quick swim* and the DJ entertaining the crowd, keeping the feel good factor going even after the brunch has finished. All the children were up dancing and singing with some adults too, a good all round experience for everyone because after all happy children equals happy and relaxed parents.
Safina offers indoor and alfresco brunching in the restaurant or outside on its shaded terrace, the weather is now perfect to enjoy an outdoor table, ours had great views across to the pool cabana area and beach beyond but was unfortunately a target for a vast amount of flies. Burning coffee helped to ward them off and so did our proximity to the cocktail station, if flies are the only downside to brunch then they are doing pretty well in my book.
The distinctive yellow and white stripes may have gone but the stunning location remains and a touch of Monaco can still be found in the cuisine. It doesn’t matter how many times you have been to Saadiyat Beach Club you will still be wowed on your arrival every time you visit, it takes your breath away and I always feel like I’ve arrived in Miami or Key West in Florida not a secluded spot nestled on Abu Dhabi’s pristine natural Saadiyat Beach. This laid back but chic brunch is not too be missed, my advice grab another drink once brunch is finished and stay to watch the sunset over the city.
Safina Friday Brunch
Location: Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island
Telephone: 02 656 3500
Safina Brunch is served every Friday from 1pm to 4pm
Soft Package – AED 275 , Bubbly Package – AED 375 and French Bubbly Package – AED 475
*Day passes for pool and beach access with Brunch offer are available for an additional cost as below.
Soft package – AED 490 / Bubbly Package – AED 590 / French Bubbly Package – AED 690
Children’s Brunch – children six years old and below are complimentary/seven to twelve years old: AED 99
All prices are per person.
I was invited to review the Friday Brunch at Safina but all the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015/6. All rights reserved.