Grills @ Chill O' Brunch - Sofitel on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi

I ended 2015 with my 26th brunch of the year - that is a lot of brunches in any language. Naturally, you reach a point where you forget the brunches you have been too because they follow a set formula, with few of them standing out. When I was invited recently to try the Grills @Chill O' Brunch at the Sofitel Corniche in Abu Dhabi, I was honestly excited, mainly because it is an outdoor brunch, and that is certainly its main selling point. But would it deliver overall or simply trade on its setting? 




Setting

Brunch is set on the 8th floor amidst the towers of the Sofitel and residences, with the swimming pool and palm trees there to provide tranquility and soul against the stone of the buildings. Seating around 80 people outside, they have certainly gone the conservative route for the benefit of the guest - it did not feel at all crowded. Nine live cooking stations line the terrace, with the Thai station and Grill station in particular proving popular. The Sofitel, with its French flare, is well known for its pastries, so expect a temperature controlled dessert room along the Moulin Rouge theme, with red imagery dominating. There is an indoor seating space to deal with walk-ins, but make sure you book and sit on the terrace. Inside is somewhat cavernous and soulless right now. But outside -  that is where the real magic happens. 






Dishes

As alluded to above, the Thai station dominates. It offers more traditional Thai options like pad thai as well as a meat/seafood grill area, where guests choose fresh ingredients and have them prepared with a Thai twist by the Silk & Spice Chef. If you prefer your grills a bit more traditional, there is a  grill station that does it the old fashioned way. A Moroccan station with tagine as its centre piece also offers  a North African/Mediterranean option. Apart from the Thai station which I really enjoyed, I made several trips to the Sushi/sashimi station, held indoors to ensure freshness. The sushi Chef prepared, especially, temaki to my taste, and I ended up having 3 pieces! The Dim sum station, on the other hand, needs to add some variety to its offering. 







Dessert is something special. Look no further than the French pastries. I had the lightest, fluffiest mille-feuille (not photographed) I have had outside Paris and Tokyo. My daughter remarked how the wind was blowing away some of the pastry, to which I responded, 'That is a compliment to the pastry chef sweetie!' What made it even a better experience was the way they made it a live station. Give it  a try. 





Service

Staff are perfectly dressed for the setting, breaking the mold that most brunches find themselves in when it comes to dress code. Hawaiin style shirts around the pool is a super idea! Really hard to fault the service. From the moment guests walk in, there is a wonderful team of hostesses whose first impression will stay with you. The Mumm Brut NV champagne kept flowing without prompting. Dishes requested at the Thai station, for example,  were brought to my table without fail. 


Have a martini shaken at your table




Verdict

Notwithstanding that shisha is one of the big attractions at the brunch, it is still very family friendly and my daughter absolutely loved it. There is no kids' station to pander to kids - incidentally, I think children should eat what adults eat- but children should still enjoy this brunch. The brunch boasts probably the best live band experience I have had at a brunch. A Cuban trio that really created an atmosphere so worthy of  a brunch. Gone is the sedate jazzy offerings so commonplace nowadays. A number of brunches offer outdoor seating, but very few brunches are almost exclusively outdoors - however, this is one of them. Take advantage of the temperate weather and enjoy this brunch. You will appreciate the overall experience that captures the spirit of a brunch.




The low down
Sofitel on the Corniche
Grills @Chill O' Brunch
Soft Drinks 315++ Soft Drinks
Grapes 365++ Wine
Bubbly 440++ French bubbly
02 813 7777


Disclaimer: I consult at restaurants and hotels in an attempt to look at the entire product to take service levels to where they should be. I visited the brunch courtesy of the hotel.

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