There’s something about long lazy breakfasts on weekend mornings. A time to take pause from the hectic working week and to make long plans over coffee and eggs.
These long lazy breakfasts inevitably lead into lunch and there’s no better way to start your weekend than with a brunch that actually includes breakfast staples, something severely lacking from the majority of these Friday feasts. With the launch of the rise and dine grazing brunch from Carluccio’s, breakfast is not forgotten and actually serves as an integral part of their breakfast/lunch hybrid.
One thing we often find difficult when it comes to brunch, is that it generally means the loss of an entire day of the precious weekend. Carluccio’s have considered this in the structure of their newly launched brunch and offer not only an early start (brunch begins at 11am) but also the option to brunch on either Friday or Saturday – now that’s versatility.
Set amidst the lush greenery and shallow waters of Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Mangroves promenade. Carluccio’s couldn’t have picked a more picturesque location to announce their brunch to the capital’s diners. An outside terrace of plush turquoise upholstery overlooking a small yacht filled marina, makes for the perfect place to dine al fresco and soak up those sunny weekend vibes.
Being brunch, diners are offered the choice of soft drink package (coffee, tea, juice, water and soda) or the alcohol package (with a selection of hops, grapes and Prosecco). Either way diners can expect to be refreshed with a pleasant array of beverages from the Carluccio’s team, who provide an informal yet excellent service.
Better still, the brunch is completely family friendly with food items full customized for little ones and some fun activities such as coloring books and plenty of outside space for little legs to roam around.
As we mentioned before, breakfast items are so often neglected during brunch. Ridiculous considering the very word is a hybrid of breakfast and lunch. The menu at Carluccio’s is fully served to the table (so no long buffet lines) over a leisurely four hour period and begins with the choice of Salmon Croissant, Funghi Croissant or Carluccio’s Breakfast Magnifica. A take on the full English breakfast that includes eggs (cooked to your liking), mushrooms, beef bacon, beef sausage, fried bread and grilled tomato. This breakfast plate is a meal in itself and only marks the start of proceedings, so be prepared!
With platters of colorful bruschetta doing the rounds and small shot glasses of Bloody Mary topped with a Caprese (tomato, basil and mozarella) salad. The Carluccio’s brunch certainly does an admirable job of transporting diners to Italy, helped in part by the beautiful pictures postcards that adorn the walls and display scenes of Lake Como, the Amalfi Coast and other premium Italian tourist destinations.
Moving firmly into lunch territory, the appetizer selection offers a variety of soups (mushroom or broccoli), salads (Caesar or mixed leaf), calamari, bruschetta and Sicilian Arancini. The Calamari Fritti was our choice for the day and featured tender squid rings in golden batter, lightly fried and plated with a garlic mayonnaise. Dissapointingly we somehow missed the Arancini but at least it provides us an excuse to return, just for these stuffed rice balls.
The food offered throughout the rise and dine brunch is simple, fresh and provides diners with authentic Italian food at sensible prices. Despite being a table service brunch in which dishes are ordered from a concise menu. The food is unlimited, meaning you can order as much as you like. With a good choice of healthier options, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience the food related exhaustion that’s a prominent side affect of over-indulging at brunch.
Eight main courses are available for diners, encompassing the highlights of Carluccio’s popular menu. Featuring Spaghetti and meatballs, homemade ravioli, penne picante, salmon pesto, chicken saltimbocca, mushroom risotto, salami pizza and Ortolana (vegetable) pizza. The selection provides good coverage of pizza and pasta dishes, though those in search of something more carnivorous may be slightly disappointed. With only the Chicken Saltimbocca offering an abundance of protein, a dish that traditionally wraps veal in prosciutto and literally translates as “jump in the mouth.” Being the Middle East, the Southern Italian favorite is re-interpreted as a chicken breast topped with beef bacon, basil and a buttery sauce.
Salami Pizza is cooked Neapolitan style with a light crunchy base and was a big hit with our children, who had the rocket removed and the salami substituted for a version with less spice. This simplification didn’t affect that dish whatsoever and was a joy to eat.
Finally the Homemade Ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta, rounded out our trio of main courses, all of which impressed with their simple yet flavorsome mix of fresh ingredients.
When it comes to desserts, you aren’t given the option to pick individual items. Instead, brunchers are presented with a smooth slate adorned with Carluccio’s finest desserts, featuring a raspberry mousse, tiramisu cake and pana cotta. The standouts were the rich and gooey chocolate brownie and the slightly acidic lemon tart, both of which made for a pleasing finale to a very relaxed brunch.
Team Out & About are glad to see brunch season back in full swing and truly appreciate the addition of Carluccio’s to the mix. Offering a causal and family friendly brunch with simple and fresh Italian food, this is most definitely one that should be on your radar and one that will likely make you want to book a trip to Italy while you sip on cappuccino.
Though celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio is no lodger involved in anything other than name. Carluccio’s is the brainchild of a man who has written over twenty Italian cookery books and mentored British favorite Jamie Oliver. Unfortunately the capitalist nature of the franchise prevails in the form of an integrated food shop and deli, selling packets of pasta amongst other merchandise.
Marketed as a grazing brunch (and graze we did), the location on the Eastern Mangroves promenade is a lovely place to start your weekend and for those in search of a little adventure post-brunch. Why not take to the waters via boat trip of kayak, or failing that just treat yourself to another glass of Prosecco!
Brunch at Carluccio’s takes place each Friday and Saturday from 11am – 3pm:
175 AED (soft drinks)
295 AED (grapes, hops and Prosecco)
Location: Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi
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Hours: 9am – 11pm
Phone: 02 441 3814
We were invited to dine at Carluccio’s All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.