Dom Perignon Brunch at Safina - Saadiyat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi

You may recall the old Monte Carlo Beach Club that used to serve tapas at its brunch. It was one of a few restaurants that went the a la carte route and kept it going for a sustained period of time. With the advent of Saadiyat Beach Club, I was curious to see how the concept would be reworked, if at all.  The question was always: if the old beach club was such a trendsetter, what would the new beach club do to the brunch scene in Abu Dhabi? Would it innovate? Would it go the safe route?

I am looking forward to the hotter months when I can enjoy the beautiful interior. 

Five talking points from brunch

There are not many brunches that can claim to offer the location that Saadiyat Beach Club has. The island is known for having the most natural of beaches - in Abu Dhabi this is a premium attraction; a natural beach. From our table I had views of the  sea, but it is more than just the sea. The Club is absolutely gorgeous the moment you walk in. The brunch was at half capacity this time, and everyone was seated outside. The weather was simply ideal.

Dom Perignon 2004
Of course. Widely regarded as the king of Champagnes for reasons which transcend tasting notes, colour and bubbles. Is this the most romantic of Champagnes? Is it the Champagne that people want to have when they get married? All of these will be debatable, but let's face it, the name evokes so much: class, elegance, refinement and romance. I was pleased that it was limited to one bottle per couple. I think people need to develop a culture of respect for Champagne, something that I feel is missing as we are spoiled with Champagne that flows freely. And 2004. It was a very good vintage. 

Manageable buffet
The size of the buffet worked for me. Yes, I felt they missed  a few essential dishes/stations, but still a work in progress. I definitely missed the pan seared foie gras and at some point in the future, I would like to see scallops added.  However, their executive chef was happy to accommodate my request, and graciously presented me with burrata which was just heavenly. You know the idea that a pic is worth a thousand words? Well, I am leaving it to speak. 
My request was responded to with aplomb!
 I am told that in forthcoming weeks, they will add lobster as wella s  afew other dishes - most welcome. Safina, the restaurant that hosts the brunch, boasts some fine seafood options on its daily a la carte menu. 'Safina', after all, does mean ship. This should be reflected in the brunch. Highlights at the brunch were the Wagyu grill outside (my daughter made me make two trips!). The Fine de Claire oysters, pasta station and dessert station were top class.

The outside grill is definitely a major drawcard. 

The brunch offered 4 different packages. Again, a great idea. In offering a  standard bubbly package featuring NV Louis Roederer, the brunch really is catering for everyone. Also, the soft drinks package and bubbly package (Prosecco) gives people further choice. Finally, the grey Goose Vodka selection of cocktails and indeed cocktail station brings a bit of added pizzaz and theatre to the brunch.

Excellent. We had the pleasure of being waited on primarily by a young lady from South Africa, Tarryn, and she was what I want a  waitress to be - warm and friendly and able to anticipate the needs of guests. Furthermore, I also interacted with a few other staff and got the same feeling - they are able to engage guests, make their entrances and exits in a timely fashion; no lingering.

The Verdict
Safina has the potential to be one of the top brunches in the city. I spoke to the Executive chef and also the F&B Director, so I can see where Safina is going. It is never easy when you have just relaunched and trying to gauge what guests are looking for. I experienced enough to suggest that this is going to be a brunch that offers something unique. Already, with one of the most enviable locations in the city (there are no hotels that share the beach area, so you are really isolated), a lovely outdoor Grill station,  and the only brunch to offer  a vintage Champagne and of course good service. It is a brunch to look out for.  This is a  brunch I would like to visit in January because I am quite sure it will offer even more than it does at the moment. It will be taking a very good brunch and making it excellent. 

The Essentials

Safina Brunch,

Saadiyat Beach Club,
Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.

+971 2 6563500

The packages

Soft Package AED 275
Bubbly Package AED 375
French Bubbly Package AED 475
Dom Perignon Package AED 999

                                                Pictures thanks to Nokia Creative Studio on my Nokia 1520
Brandon Stoltenkamp