Situated amidst verdant manicured gardens on a premium stretch of beachfront lies the Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas. A property that exudes natural charm via its promotion of Emirati heritage and the ability to blend seamlessly into both the cultural and natural landscape of the capital.
Taking on the brown, yellow and orange hues of the desert dunes as a colour palette for the property, guests are presented at the entrance of the hotel with sand from all seven Emirates, inlaid within glass panels in the floor. Saadiyat Rotana easily makes for the most impressive Rotana property in the UAE and marks a step into the luxury market for the brand, following in the footsteps of Bahrain’s Art Rotana in a bid to encapsulate a luxurious resort feel while ensuring the guest experience remains front and centre.
Boasting strong F&B concepts including Saadiyat Islands first gastropub (Hamiltons) and Italian restaurant (Si), the Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas also features the picturesque grill Turtle Bay (not to be confused with the popular UK Caribbean chain) and Nasma, a beachfront bar complete with swinging chairs and a distinctly relaxed vibe.
When the resort announced the launch of its Friday ‘Market Brunch’ at all-day-dining restaurant SimSim, we don’t think Abu Dhabi diners were quite prepared for what was to transpire. The culinary team at the Saadiyat Rotana have clearly been watching the market carefully, taking the idea of the international buffet and running with it, while also introducing some unique touches that result in one of the best new brunches to launch in the capital for some time.
The market feel begins from the moment you enter, with wooden tressels and crates loaded with organic fruit and vegetables. This visual assault of colour is utilised for more than just thematics and the fresh produce can be purchased to take home, a novel idea and one that really appears to have resonated with diners.
Inside the restaurant itself, an international buffet overwhelms diners with everything from the expected salads and cold cuts, through to a make your own hummus section, sumptuous Indian corner and an Asian section featuring dim sum, spicy noodles and a Peking duck that is bound to delight. The carefully constructed sushi comes in a variety of flavours and is sure to please, as is the expansive carvery, boulangerie and bakery replete with freshly baked bread, burrata and a good selection of European cheeses.
The brunch is too large to be contained within the confines of SimSim, spilling out into the gardens, where you’ll find the majority of beverage stations and the BBQ. Arabic grills are tender and well seasoned, but it’s the spinning metal disc, rotating hypnotically over the flame and containing the slow-cooked brisket that is the unique aspect of this particular brunch.
The European market concept is executed well with the seafood market making for a popular choice where guests are invited to pick from the iced fish and live crustaceans before taking them outside to be grilled. Lobsters, crab and whole seabass are available and while cooking takes a little longer than expected, it’s worth the wait when the items do finally arrive at the table.
It doesn’t stop there though, and a quick walk over to SimSim rewards diners with a pork room stuffed full of salami and sausages, with ham expertly carved from the suspended leg of the Iberico ham while you wait.
Desserts are a visual treat displayed between vintage luggage and a gramophone. The pastry team impress with some masterful creations such as cakes shaped like CocaCola bottles and giant cheeseburgers. Fresh gelato, a chocolate fountain and a tiramisu cake are of note and should not be missed.
A live-band brings energy to proceedings with a repertoire of popular hits that’s bound to get the crowd moving and as expected from the Rotana brand, the Market Brunch is very family-friendly with a kids area provided by My First Gym on the grassy lawns.
The Market Brunch is a brunch that covers a lot of bases and it’s easy to see why it’s creating such a stir in the capital. The price point is at the upper levels of Abu Dhabi brunching but is reflective of the quality and vast selection on offer. We would recommend springing for the premium package which not only elevates the beverages (adding premium spirits in the form of Patron tequila and Grey Goose vodka) but also adds a touch of brunch decadence via Moet champagne, oysters, caviar and craft beer (BrewDog or London Pride), located in a shaded courtyard that can only be accessed by those with a premium wristband,
Saadiyat Rotana can happily throw their hat into the ring as a contender for best buffet brunch in town! With snappy service and a buffet that offers the very best of brunch, the Market Brunch is as impressive feat that marks another triumph for Rotana and this beautiful new beachfront property.
Location: Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Facebook
Phone: +971 2 697 0000
Out & About UAE were guests of Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.