The Foundry Friday brunch at the Southern Sun Abu Dhabi is one of the most popular weekend brunches in the capital. Bucking the trend of over-inflated buffet tables in favour of something far more sophisticated, a focus on quality over quantity, and a penchant for cooking à la minute.
With the arrival of a new brunch season, the aptly titled Raising The Steaks (The Foundry is a South African steakhouse after all) retains all the elements that pertained to its popularity, while adding some exciting new additions, in the hopes of garnering the interest of even their most regular diners.
Full disclosure is required going into this blog post, for we do some freelance work for Tsogo Sun and therefore have a professional relationship with the hotel. So rather than giving a full on critique of The Foundry’s brunch relaunch, we will instead provide a summary of the new additions.
As with our previous review of the brunch, things begin simply with The Foundry’s freshly baked bread and selection of flavoured butter. A signature of the restaurant, that anyone who has dined a la carte at The Foundry will be familiar with. The bread is the only item served directly to the table, with the remainder of the food split between a central buffet (home to the cold cuts, fresh seafood and salads) and a number of live cooking stations clustered around the centre of the restaurant space. With a wealth of options available, we lay out the ‘must visit’ elements of this brunch for your reading pleasure.
1. The Steaks:
Being a steakhouse, The Foundry is synonymous with premium cuts of meat and offers a variety of steaks from around the globe. Most diners tend to gravitate towards the Wagyu, but we would suggest trying the Karan tenderloin, a cut both tender and flavoursome. All steaks are cooked to order and served with a selection of salt, sauces, mustards and sides (we’re partial to the truffle mashed potatoes). The Foundry is a carnivores paradise and the meat selection doesn’t stop with the steaks, with duck confit and lamb shanks also present.
2. Make Your Own Burrata:
Regular readers will be aware of our obsession with burrata. So to see a station dedicated to this Italian cheese is a very appealing prospect and (potentially) a brunch first. Select your burrata and pair it with your favourite condiments, cured meats, crostini, figs and marinated anchovies. One bite and it’s easy to see why the word burrata translates from “buttery” in Italian, offering a thin shell hiding a delightful creamy interior.
3. The Poke Station:
When it comes to food trends, Poke seems to be the new ceviche and it’s interesting to see how the food and beverage team at the Southern Sun have managed to capitalise on the popularity of this Hawaiian fish salad. Seen as a healthier alternative to sushi, the Poke (which means ‘to slice’ in Hawaiian) station offers up slices of octopus, salmon and scallops, to which you may add kale, rice, seaweed and a variety of zesty sauces and seasonings. The Poke station is not only another brunch first, but also an Abu Dhabi first (we don’t believe it’s currently available anywhere else in the capital), bound to be a talking point with residents.
4. The Cocktails:
A relaunch almost certainly calls for new beverage options and aside from the popular La Cerva Margarita station (we recommend the peach), The Foundry adds an ocean themed punch bowl, as electrifying in colour as in taste. The best of the bunch (or should that be brunch?) is a Bailey’s cart, where bartender Collet will mix you a heavenly concoction of Bailey’s, Honey and Whisky affectionally named the Honey Bee.
5. Street Food:
The Foundry’s brunch has always been a concise affair but the team have managed to strategically expand the offering via a number of street food stalls. These live stations are reminiscent of food trucks, thanks to the clever use of cardboard cutouts and are where you’ll find the ceviche, tacos and quesadillas. There’s also Belinda’s Cupcakes offering thr chance to decorate (you guessed it) cupcakes and also design ice cream usimg a selection of melted chocolates and appealing toppings.
6. The Foie Gras Gallery:
The popular foie gras gallery remains in place. Appearing as desserts, these dishes are deceptive in their appearance and run the gauntlet of textures and potencies. The more traditional version is seared and plated on a celeriac texture and Calvados jus, but for those in search of something truly inventive, ensure you sample the sweet foie gras ice cream, jellied foie gras apple, chocolate foie gras pop, or the foie gras creme brulee.
7. The Classics:
Despite a plethora of new additions, The Foundry has kept all of their old favourites including the oyster station, beef carpaccio and tartare. These are as much a staple of this brunch as the steaks and represent scaled down portions of dishes you’ll find during the restaurants nightly dinner service.
8. The Desserts:
Raising The Steaks is a brunch of live-cooking, with even the desserts made to order. The generous portions sizes make for a welcome change from the usual potted desserts scattered haphazardly across buffet tables. The choice of six desserts available has been revamped this brunch season, with the Creme Brûlée, Churros and deconstructed Chocolate Mud-cake remaining. Accompanied by three new editions, a New York Cheesecake, Apple Pie and (our personal favourite) the slightly tart Lemon Meringue. All prepared by Pastry Chef, Rajesh Appukuttan.
At only 120 covers, dining at The Foundry feels both intimate and exclusive and the decor, though simple, adopts a charming colour scheme of burnt oranges and metallic bronze. From the velvet seats all the way through to the subtle tones in the glassware.
The Foundry pushes things one step further in its choice of seating configurations. Choose from the six ‘pod-like’ private dining spaces, the elevated chefs table, or dine on water at one of three ‘floating’ tables for a truly memorable experience.
The Raising The Steaks brunch is available on Friday afternoon from 12:30pm – 4pm and costs AED 229++ (soft beverages) / AED 299++ (house beverages) / AED 399++ (bubbly).
Location: Southern Sun, Al Mina Street, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 6am – 10:30am /12pm – 3pm / 7pm – 11pm
Phone: 02 818 4888
We were invited to dine at The Foundry. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.