Perched on the waters edge, Abu Dhabi’s Four Seasons hotel is an upscale property that mixes urban styling with a relaxed ambiance, while offering spectacular views over the Arabian Gulf to the skyline of the UAE’s capital city. The Four Seasons is a brand associated with exquisite luxury and glamour, with their newest endeavour on Al Maryah Island, being no different.
Despite opening a number of months ago, it has taken some time for the dining destinations to launch. Beginning with Crust (the hotel’s all day dining restaurant), it would seem that there is no better way to proclaim your arrival onto the unsuspecting citizens of Abu Dhabi, than via a new Friday Brunch.
What’s in a name? Well, judging by what has been labelled ‘The Best Brunch’ by the team at Crust… a lot. Promising the best food, best service and the best dressed, we were certainly astounded by the offerings this past Friday. Featuring an eclectic buffet spread that takes you on an international journey, showcasing the best of Arabic, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Diners are spoilt for choice with a selection of live cooking stations and sumptuous desserts.
Crust itself is a chic and understated venue, one that feels both sophisticated and welcoming. Feating a muted colour scheme accented by flashes of silver, the decor is purposefully kept to a minimum, so that all the attention is focused purely on the aforementioned view.
Seated next to the striking modern bar, we were certainly enamoured by the multi-coloured glass bottles, backlit to resemble a rainbow. With a range of grapes, hops and premium spirits available, brunch started with a tangy Bloody Mary and was soon followed by a delightfully sweet mango Bellini and an iced platter of caviar. There certainly is no better way to start a brunch than with this refined, sea-cured, delicacy.
Perusing the buffet selection, we were impressed by not only the variety but the quality of the items on display. Each dish is presented with immaculate flair and the effort that has gone into each individual element is evident.
With a fruit corner, cold mezze selection and a hearty range of breakfast options (something that so many other brunches lack). The list continues with a freshly baked breads cleverly situated next to the large cheese selection.
For live cooking there is a grilled selection of herbed prawns, satay, squid, kofta and shish kebab. Though if meat isn’t your thing, vegetarian options are plentiful and consist of more than just salads.
We enjoyed a deeply spiced seafood risotto, steamed cod and a crab puri, before loading our plates with a traditional roast dinner of ribeye (from the bone), truffle mash, Brussel sprouts, roast potatoes and one of the richest gravies we have devoured in some time (we just wish it were served with more than just a tea spoon)!
Brunch staples of iced seafood (mussels, shrimp and oysters) are present but given a unique Four Seasons twist. Shucked oysters for example, came with a beautiful passion fruit coulis. While wasabi was grated directly from the root onto the freshly prepared sushi. Talking of seafood, we were big fans of the ceviche and scallops, that were intricate in both their presentation and flavour.
A break from the onslaught of foodie delights, brings a gin and tonic trolly to the table. Whizzing through the brunch, much like one would expect from a flight attendant on a busy aeroplane. The quaint wooden station features two varieties of gin that can be served classically or mixed into an inventive fusion of either Elderflower of Mediterranean flavours. The service throughout the entirety of brunch was immaculate, though at times over enthusiastic (which was likely due to the fact that it was opening day).
Aside from the buffet, a number of dishes are served ‘ family style’ at the table. As (seemingly) never ending trays of foie gras, quinoa, crab legs and shawarma did the rounds, it made for a refreshing change from the buffet and a chance to pause and enjoy the atmosphere and company. With so many brunches spent rushing around, we relished the more relaxed vibe that Crust presents and accompanied by a soundtrack of smooth Jazz and big band, this is certainly an endearing way to while away a Friday afternoon.
As brunch wore on, it was pleasing to see that the impeccable service did not falter as yet more food continued to arrive at the table. Arabic soups, dim sum, and a fried seafood selection (featuring soft-shell crab) were all sampled. Though it was the beautifully creamy risotto, served within a huge parmesan wheel, that was one of the many talking points of this new brunch.
Despite the impressive savoury options, the desserts really set the bar for how a brunch should be done. All to often have we become accustomed to desserts that look the part but transpire to be completely lacking in taste. The Four Seasons admirably succeeds where so many others have failed, by combining unique flavours and textures into an impressive array of dishes, such as a crunchy labneh tiramisu or the gargantuan ‘Freak Cakes’ that are all the rage at the moment (and a UAE first, we believe). If you only have room for one thing though, make sure to sample the baklava ice cream.
With an ice cream donut, rose flavoured panna cotta and toasted marshmallow ice cream pops, the desserts are fun and completely unique to the Four Seasons. We guarantee that at no other brunch in Abu Dhabi will you find a fudge station and we never knew how badly lacking the capital was for one, until now!
Crust prides itself on being a family brunch and the kids room is full of activities for little ones and teenagers alike. Featuring a popcorn machine, candy floss and vegetables shaped to look like animals. We couldn’t help but pick at the matcha cakes (shaped like pandas) as we gazed past a ceiling full of balloons, to a bouncy castle, colouring tables and a cinema screen showing children’s films.
Each season a new brunch blows us away and though it’s still a little early to tell, Crust at the Four Seasons have proudly thrown down the gauntlet as a contender for best brunch in the Capital.
Although this was our first visit to the Four Seasons, there are likely to be many more. With Butcher & Still (inspired by a 1940s steakhouse), Cafe Milano (the Abu Dhabi outpost of the famous restaurant from Washington DC) and a number of lounges all set to open this September. There are exciting times ahead at the Four Seasons, in what is likely to become the most exciting waterfront location in the capital.
Brunch at Crust takes place each Friday from 12pm – 4pm
275 AED++ (soft drinks)
375 AED++ (house beverages and cocktails)
75 AED++ (children aged 6 – 12)
Location: First Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
Hours: 6:30am – 11am / 12pm – 4pm / 6pm – 11pm
Phone: 02 333 2222
We were invited to dine at Crust. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.