“The belly rules the mind.” Spanish Proverb
Brunch is a UAE Friday ritual, a regular fixture on most expats weekly calendars, an enjoyable and affordable way to try out the capital’s best restaurants and sample everything they have to offer, indulge in precious family time and socialise with friends. It’s fair to say that we have sampled a fair few brunches over the last couple of weeks at various locations, all quite different but also similar at the same time. Last Friday we took a culinary brunch journey Around The World at the Hilton Abu Dhabi, an amalgamation of global cuisines spanning across three restaurants, international fare from all-day dining establishment La Terraza, Chinese favourites from Jade (formerly the Royal Orchid) and delicious Italian classics from Bocca.
While all usual culprits such as live cooking stations, seafood, salads and desserts tick all the brunch boxes, my favourite part of this experience was most definitely the top-notch Italian selection at Bocca, fresh pizzas and pastas cooked to ordered, a good variety of antipasti and salads as well as a dedicated cheese and dessert room.
Even though I’m a fan of table brunch I was more than happy to get up repeatedly to sample more of Chef Leonardo’s delights, but I may be a tad biased as Italian is my favored cuisine. The four cheese pizza, the caprese and the miniature desserts, especially the tiramisu served in tiny teacups were spot on, as was the cheese selection and artfully arranged crackers.
While I focused on the Italian treats, the other half tucked into the sushi and sashimi, dim sum and peking duck from Jade and the centralised La Terraza selection of seafood including lobster, giant prawns and oysters. The braised veal shanks and salt crusted sea bass with lemon butter proved very popular as was the whole cooked lamb in the Arabic section, there were certainly lots of options. Vegetarians are well catered for too, those looking to eat more healthily can munch on a variety of salads and fresh fruits, those with a sweet tooth have plenty of choice from International favourites to traditional Arabic desserts, of course as it’s a brunch there’s a chocolate fountain.
Generally I’m not a massive lover of hotel all-day dining restaurants unless it’s for breakfast, these vast spaces can be characterless but La Terraza compensates for its lack of character with fantastic views of the corniche from its elevated first floor location and offers more intimate dining areas in the raised section of the venue. Although this is a family brunch the children’s activities were understated and I think they would struggle to keep the kids entertained for the duration of the brunch, a musician provided some live background music.
If you like your brunch fuss-free and are a fan of the traditional buffet then I think you will like this new affordable brunch option, three restaurants offer thrice the choice so all palettes are well catered for, I would recommend it for the tasty Italian options alone. Those looking for a party atmosphere may need to bring their own crowd and create your own entertainment but that’s never usually a problem at Friday Brunch.
Brunch Around The World
Location: Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 692 4247
Friday Brunch:12:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Cost*: AED 225 inclusive of non-alcoholic beverages and AED 325 inclusive of selected house beverages
Children: Up to 5 years – Free and 6 – 12 years – 50% discount
*Prices are subject to a 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee
I was invited to review this brunch. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos used courtesy of abudhabi.hilton.com