Hidden behind a gargantuan sliding door in the Sheraton, Mall Of The Emirates, lies The Brunswick Sports Club – the latest foodie venture from dynamic duo Tom & Serg.
Tom and Serg have become infamous on the Dubai dining scene, thanks to their brand of hipster cafe culture, with a reputation for serving great food and perfect coffee. Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez met back in 2011, Tom was a chef from Melbourne, Australia and Serg a savvy businessman from Madrid, Spain. The two came up with the concept to make great speciality coffee and nutritious gourmet food available to the masses… and people just couldn’t get enough of it.
The Brunswick Sports Club marks the duo’s fourth Dubai eatery, following; Tom & Serg, The Sum Of Us and Common Grounds. These aforementioned establishments were all cafes, but now Arnel and Lopez have turned their talents to a fully licensed pub.
We visited The Brunswick for lunch on its second day of opening, and with little marketing (other than Instagram) we had no idea what to expect, or even what type of food would be served. Stepping through the large black door emblazoned with the BSC logo, we were unprepared for the interior. Expecting a standard pub thematic, what we actually experienced was an upmarket twist on the Australian sports bar.
Long wooden benches glide throughout the open plan space, feeling more like a greenhouse than a bar. Foliage hangs from the ceiling and grows from the centre of tables, providing a relaxed almost jungle-like vibe. The back wall is a glorified display case and instead of sporting trophies, these cabinets proudly display an array of beers and wines.
The main bar area is a light and airy space and is the non-smoking portion of the establishment and home to a multitude of high bar-style tables and chairs. Seemingly a common trend throughout Dubai at the moment, elements of the decor are very industrial, featuring exposed ducting and metallic surfaces, punctuated by the odd hanging plant.
The back half is where the sports screens can be found and the area comprises picnic bench seating, within a space that resembles a conservatory. Additional charming touches include the fact that the bathrooms are called locker rooms and even contain sports kit hanging on pegs to emphasise the idea.
For a restaurant that had just opened, the staff were enthusiastic and well-versed in the menu and beverage options. The sporting vibe continues with the staff uniform and it was nice to see that the young workforce seemed to be enjoying their jobs – the service is all smiles and friendliness though very casual.
The bar menu offers an exciting mix of grapes, hops, house beverages, soft drinks, teas and coffees. A selection this vast can be overwhelming, so if you are unsure, just head over to one of the many display cabinets embedded within the walls and you can see for yourself. Before ordering any food, we were presented with a delicious bowl of caramel popcorn. Yet this was no ordinary popcorn. What elevated this simple bar snack to greatness was the fact that the caramel was hot and sticky and drizzled all over the freshly popped corn, not the usual offering of hard chewy multiplex popcorn – though we will say that it wasn’t the easiest item to eat, but it tasted oh so good.
We are pleased to report that the food offerings cleverly stick with the standard pub fare of burgers, wings, ribs, hot dogs and nachos – exactly the kind of food one would expect from an establishment such as this. Simple items such as burgers are re-interpreted with a more elaborate choice of ingredients and presentation than we envisioned.
Menu highlights include the Doctor Zoidberg (named after the character from animated television show Futurama), the burger contains tempura soft shell crab, green mango slaw, nam jim dressing, crispy shallots and wasabi mayo.
It is not all about the burgers though, as the BSC menu also features salads, jacket potatoes, steaks and some superior sounding hotdogs. Take the Street Dawg for example, a mix of beef, chicken liver pate, pickled papaya, shaved cucumber, sweet basil, mint and kewpie mayo.
If snacks are more your thing why not try crispy chicken crackling, or the deep fried mac and cheese balls? It is unique menu items like these, that epitomise the Tom & Serg brand and help their restaurants stand head and shoulders above their competitors. Taking tried and tested concepts and pushing them, just that little bit further, pays off in spades here.
It was slightly disappointing to discover that the burgers don’t come with any sides and that all accompaniments must be purchased separately, another infuriating UAE trend that shows no sign of dissipating. Upon recommendation from our host, we ordered the Mac Daddy Burger, the Waffle BFC, plus some fries to share. It was great to see that certain hops had been paired with specific meals to provide the ultimate dining experience – a nice touch.
Upon arrival, the food was most certainly a feast for the eyes. The Waffle BFC was a combination of heavenly golden waffles slathered in syrup, with crisp buttermilk fried chicken breast and a cheeky slice of bacon (for all those pork lovers). We are personally big fans of the sweet and savoury combination provided by shish dish and the fact that it was constructed to look like a burger, heightened the dish aesthetically.
Mac Daddy comprised pulled beef brisket and creamy macaroni cheese which was overflowing from within its sweet brioche squeeze. The bbq sauce covering the brisket was tangy and sweet, though for us there wasn’t quite enough of it. The complementing flavours from the meat and the pasta worked surprisingly well and left us smiling.
The side order of fries were crispy and not to salty and like the rest of the meal, was large and tasty – exactly as you would expect from the Tom and Serg team.
Being one of the first guests to dine at the Brunswick felt like an altogether exclusive experience, seemingly the word hasn’t yet gotten out regarding this new dining spot, though we guarantee that soon enough the foodies will be flocking here en mass.
Despite branching out from the traditional cafe culture associated with the Tom and Serg brand, The Brunswick Sports Club is a resounding success, with great food, a vast beverage selection and a casual and relaxed vibe.
Location: Sheraton Hotel, Level 2, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai
Hours: 12:00pm – 2:00am
Phone: 056 404 0685
All views within this blog are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.