No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to the majestic Emirates Palace. Renowned for its gilded golden hallways and magnificent octagonal atrium, the hotel is the most exquisite in the capital, with a reputation for unrivaled luxury and impeccable service.
Receiving an exclusive VIP invitation to the launch of the palace’s new brunch at Las Brisas, we were uncertain of what to expect. Located in the east wing of the spacious property, the brunch is described as a casual poolside affair but this being the Emirates Palace, ‘casual’ is a term up for interpretation.
Arriving from the main entrance, guests can take one of the club cars to transport them at ease through the expansive grounds of manicured lawns and fountained promenades. For those looking to work up an appetite prior to the brunch, why not navigate the maze of golden corridors on foot and experience sections of the palace not usually accessible to the general public.
Having dined at the Emirates Palace on a number of occasions, the setting, food and service are always faultless and this brunch is no different. Located poolside, the brunch at Las Brisas (meaning ‘breeze’ in Spanish) is a purely al fresco affair. Featuring wooden tables and cream parasols scattered across a remarkable terrace that overlooks gardens, an inviting swimming pool (complete with hammocks and gold mosaics) and the natural sandy bay upon which the palace sits.
Brunch begins with bubbles and a selection of handcrafted mojitos. A fitting beverage to sip on, while exploring the vast buffet. Being poolside, one would expect the brunch to be scaled back but this being the Emirates Palace. It’s a lavish affair of unprecedented variety and quality and one that had us feeling like royalty for the day.
In keeping with the outside location, the food revolves around lighter bites and healthier options, with everything being remarkably fresh. Beef Tartare, Melon with ham, nigiri, sushi, smoked salmon and a variety of salads, stretch out around the bar for guests perusal. We especially enjoyed the fact that the salad selection wasn’t your standard array of leaves. Instead the focus is far more exotic, featuring pickled beetroot and caraway, curry marinated white cabbage with pineapple and delightful shot glasses piled with Italian Caprese.
Las Brisas brunch caters to a variety of dietary requirements, with a particularly well stocked vegetarian section (the Creamed Spinach was our favorite). Aside from the vegetarian options, diners can expect Spanish Paella, breakfast pastries, live-cooking of pasta, Arabic mixed grill and so much more. The Emirates Palace brunch may also be the first in the capital to offer a nacho cheese fountain, which had adults and kids alike, beaming with joy!
Brunch under the shaded palm trees isn’t a bad way to spend a lazy afternoon and with free flowing beverages (an assortment of bubbles, hops, grapes and blended cocktails) on offer, it’s certainly a case of taking your time and exploring all of the food options laid out before you. Over the course of numerous trips to the buffet table, our highlights were found around the grilled meats. With the Sambal Marinated Lobster tail being of specific note, for its hit of spice in direct contrast to the delicate meat.
With an Indian Tandoori station presenting the very best Chicken Tikka, Aloo Mutter, Butter Chicken and fresh Naan breads. It was difficult to indulge in everything we wanted to try Roasted Australian lamb chops and red snapper will have to wait for a future visit, as we tucked into the impressive hunk of veal and its accompaniments of mushrooms gravy, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
Entertainment is provided by a live band, with a female vocalist keeping things up-tempo with her unique renditions of current chart hits (The Weeknd and Bruno Bars) that represented more than just ambient background music. The band were one of the best that we’ve listened to at a brunch, bringing a unique twist to modern pop music with a refreshing jolt of sultry jazz.
Better still, brunch at the Emirates Palace is a family affair and children are well and truly catered for with their own buffet area. Complete with clown, sand art, face painting and archery. All housed under bunting and balloons, reminiscent of a British summer fete. Las Brisas could also be the first brunch in the UAE to feature a pony!
As the afternoon winds down. Ensure that you don’t miss the desserts. Being the Emirates Palace, there’s an abundance of edible gold sprinkled throughout the proceedings. Featuring Arabic favorites like Cheese Kanufa and Baklava to the more Westernized treated such as Coffee and Mascarpone mousse, chocolate ‘palace cake’, green tea and pistachio cakes and salted caramel Choux buns. The desserts maintained the level of quality associated with such an establishment, though they did start to suffer from the heart as proceeding wound down.
It’s exceptionally difficult to find fault with the brunch at Las Brisas. The food is exceptional, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service is outstanding – with staff even offering to carry plates from the buffet on your behalf.
No matter how many times we visit the Emirates Palace, we’re left dazzled and impressed. This is one of the few places in the capital where the grandeur and novelty never wears off. Instead it leaves a lasting impression and much like the 24 karat afternoon tea, brunch at the Emirates Palace is a lavish affair. Perfect for impressing new visitors to the Emirates, Las Brisas represents another excellent brunch for the 2016-17 season. Al fresco dining season is back!
Brunch at Las Brisas takes place each Friday from 12:30pm – 4pm:
290 AED++ (soft drinks)
350 AED++ (hops and grapes)
480 AED++ (bubbly)
145 AED++ (children aged 10 – 12. Under 1o’s eat complimentary)
Location: Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
Hours: 12:30pm – 4pm
Phone: 02 690 7999
We were invited to dine at Las Brisas. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. Cover image used courtesy of Emirates Palace.