venerdì 11 aprile 2014

One year in Abu Dhabi

... coming soon....

Brunch in Dubai - Saffron

When you think Dubai, if you are a resident, you think Brunch. I was introduced to the concept in the London. You usually go for one on a lazy Saturday, when you wake up late and around 12ish your stomach is ready to welcome some food. You haven't had breakfast and it is lunch time, hence you go for a Brunch. I always loved the idea of a Brunch. It felt very London (my friend Bari always made fun of me when I said I was having one, simply because it was so "Londony").

When I arrived in Abu Dhabi and started flipping through the local Time Out, the pages were full of Brunch deals: bubbly Brunches, less than 100 AED, less than 200AED, less than 300 AED. Seafood Brunches, mixed Brunches....Brunches were everywhere. My first one was at the Pearl and Caviar Restaurant, for a friend's birthday. As the name suggests, it was very luxurious. The location was amazing, a table on the terrace with sea view. You start at 12.30 and you can enjoy delicacies from sushi, and oysters, to Sunday Roast, mixed grills, cheeses...you name it. All flushed down with grape (this the localised nomenclature for wine(!)) and bubbly for the modest (sigh) price of 360 Dirhams (60 quid!). When the ladies came down to Abu Dhabi, I took them there, because it is one of those Abu Dhabi things that you need to do at least ones. It was a lovely day, we laughed, we ate, we drank, we celebrated.

That was it for me. I was done with Brunches, at least for a while. This was true until a few week ends back when I went down to Dubai to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. In Dubai, brunches are an institution. They have no other topic on the radio but the new Brunch that opened in the latest hotel. So, here we go. Our destination was Atlantis the Palm! I thought, now or never. It seemed like a cool place, and somewhere I would never go in the near future or at all if it was not for this event. Plus who says no to a day out in town with some crazy fun girlfriends? So, I pack my suitcase and head for 2 nights in Dubai looking forward to some extravagance. This was no regular Brunch. This was a Brunch at the Atlantis!! This was a 480 AED Brunch (yep, eighty! quid).

What happened next, is worthy of an essay on human behaviour:
I had always believed that people lose it at buffets. They lose their rational sense. At buffet, many people tend to fill their plates with amount they could not possibly eat. But food is there, available. It seems like an urge of getting more, of not being left behind, erupts in people's minds when they see big amounts of food. Most of it gets wasted, as the brain disconnects the eye from the stomach. The stomach is filled after a few bites; but the eye (or greed) wants more.

When you think Brunch in Dubai, think the above but multiply it by 100. This is not a regular buffet. this is a fancy Buffet which cost you 80 quid. So, if you can't eat for that amount, make sure you drink it. It does not matter if you will get wasted in say 20 minutes, if you will forget how food tastes like....but hey you spent 80 quid!! When you queue for a food station (and you have a choice of Sushi, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Seafood, Italian, French...the list goes on) make sure you pick a drink pouring down from a fountain. It does not matter if you started with a Sparkling wine as a welcome drink. Make sure you vary. Also, when your turn arrives at the station, don't forget to quickly dispose the half full drink on the nearest table so you have two full hands to fill your plate with  food you won't eat. On your way to the table, do not forget to pick a big water melon which has been emptied from its healthy contents and filled with vodka. The waiters will be nice enough to add 4 or 5 straws, because sharing is caring.

In case the first plate filled with foods that do not go together was not enough, off you go for another round. Not before an army of waiters swiftly take away your dirty plate, change your cutlery and leave a bowl of lemon scented water in front of you, to dip your fishy smelling fingers. And before you even ask for it, that empty flut of bubbly is not empty any more. This goes on and on until 4pm, when tables  are full of empty water mellons, half a dozen of emty shot glasses, and people dance everywhere.... ready to hit the next bar, because now love is in the air.

I possibly cannot imagine doing this on a weekly basis, as it is the case with many UAE residents. The local scene has so much to offer: beaches, music, events ... Yet, Brunches as are an addiction for many.... I guess, next time I will just have to put my "social scientist's hat" off and enjoy the ride...



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