“The atmosphere will sum up the very essence of the food. It’s fresh, quality and based on the farm-to-table concept using, where possible, the very best local ingredients.” Ashraf El Siessy
We love Friday Brunch, if you are a regular reader of this blog you know that already. While the sumptuous buffets are impressive and indulgent we are big fans of the table brunch, my favourite being the unique and unpretentious one at awarding winning Market Kitchen located at Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi.
We first tried this delightful a la carte weekly offering when it was launched in October 2014, back then it was innovative idea that has since been replicated by other establishments. We have taken family and friends to Market Kitchen to share the experience and recommended it repeatedly to anyone looking to mix up their brunch game. We were delighted to be invited back last weekend to try the refreshed concept, a lot has changed at this modern restaurant over the past couple of years including the head chef and the front of house team. Chef Grant Balinger is now at the helm and I’m happy to report the American cuisine with touches of Asian inspiration remains as good as ever.
We were pleased to see so many of our favourites still on the menu, the crispy sushi rice with tuna sashimi or fresh avocado, the black truffle pizza with fontina cheese, the warm chocolate cake and of course the kumquat mojitos, but equally delighted with the new dishes too. Market Kitchen’s ethos is all about sourcing the best locally produced fresh ingredients, the ‘Farm to Table’ approach that means the menu changes on a weekly basis. Every week the team of chefs create an exclusive menu using the freshest ingredients available from local markets and producers as well as using fresh seasonal food sourced from around the globe, guaranteeing diners a new experience with every visit. If there is one thing for sure you must go to Market Kitchen with an appetite, the revamped De’Vine’ brunch offers diners an abundance of food to share along with free-flowing cocktails, wines and beers.
Fresh baked breads, appetizers and secondary courses are followed by two mains and assorted side dishes as well as desserts. The refashioned affair is more interactive than its predecessor, a culinary theatre where the crispy sushi is assembled at the table, the salted baked sea bream presented and carved in front of the diners and intermittent synchronized cocktail shaking displays. We are big fans of live music and absolutely loved the new entertainment courtesy of soulful Australian X-Factor star Jaymie Deboucherville, a young talent with a repertoire of old and new covers that certainly made our brunch all that more enjoyable.
Guests with dietary needs are always well taken care of at Market Kitchen, I had my own special Vegetarian menu and the team are happy to accommodate gluten-free diners too. While the other half tucked into oysters, salmon tartare, fishcake and the tuna sashimi, I was working my way through some delicious burrata, beetroot tartare and the avocado on crispy sushi rice which was absolutely delicious. We both enjoyed second courses of tiny cups of butternut squash soup, the black truffle pizza and a rocket salad with parmesan before taking a short digestive break in anticipation of the mains.
While we sat back and enjoyed the music sipping on passion fruit sangrias, our mains were being prepared. First up for the carnivores there was slow cooked master stock chicken with orange salt that was served with individual sides of macaroni cheese and creamed spinach. Restaurant manager Juliet Vidal presented the other half with a whole salt crusted baked sea bream which she deboned and served with seaweed. Vegetarian mains included a rather large waldorf risotto with apple, celery, walnut and brie and a tangy red onion tart, by this stage I was struggling to eat another bite.
After another short break and a few more cocktails consumed I rallied just in time for desserts (no surprise there), the warm chocolate cake that oozed warm liquid chocolate was offset with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a childhood throwback of chocolate cornflake cake was served on a large dollop of cereal milk cream, a sweet and sticky sugary treat.
This exposed brick Manhattan style double height restaurant is still one of the best interiors in Abu Dhabi with its interior design and the flavoursome dishes on its menu. The decor is modern and comfortable but effective, warm lighting and wooden flooring meets sleek furniture and comfy sofas, I love the quirky full-sized olive tree in the centre and the open show kitchen. Influences of 3-starred Michelin Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who originally introduced the Market Kitchen concept to the culinary marketplace in Paris, Boston and then Abu Dhabi, are still at the core of the rustic style menu.
My love for Market Kitchen remains unblemished, I really enjoyed everything about the newly tweaked concept that has retained its original attention to detail, noteworthy flavoursome and well-presented dishes, fabulous mixology and the unprecedented level of prompt and attentive service from Juliet and her team. This brunch is a MUST DO in Abu Dhabi.
Location: Le Royal Méridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 695 0300
Table Brunch is available at Market Kitchen every Friday from 12.30pm to 4.00pm
Cost*: AED 199 including mocktails, AED 299 including cocktails, wine and beer, AED 399* including Taittinger Champagne (*Prices are subject to 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee.)
Read my previous Market Kitchen posts From Farm To Table, Shaken or Stirred, Divine Dining at Market Kitchen, Spice Up Your Life, When Suzanne Cooks At Market Kitchen, Celebrating A Year At Market Kitchen, Market to Kitchen Culinary Masterclass and Lunch In’Box at Market Kitchen
I was invited to review this brunch. All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved.