Sky Brunch at 18° - Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi.

Readers of my blog would know by now what a big proponent I am of smaller, more intimate brunches leading to a higher level of personalised service, and more significantly, better dishes because a Chef is aware that with fewer dishes on offer, it is that much harder to fool guests because a poor dish likelier to stand out much easier. My memories of the Sky Brunch at 18° at Hyatt Capital Gate, despite it being a year on since my last brunch, are clear enough to remind me that this was one of those brunches that I liked because of the less is more mentality. In fact, I used that phrase for the first time after visiting this brunch 

On this visit, as I walked through the lobby on the 18th floor, making my way towards 18°, the pricing caught my eye. Now my interest was piqued on another level. Could they deliver a brunch of great quality at 226AED net*? 

The layout is an economical one, necessitated by the size of the restaurant. Space has been used intelligently, and since it caters for around 70 indoor guests, there is no need for an over-elaborate wasteful spread. 

You are unlikely to be disappointed with what is on offer, but be realistic in terms of the variety you can expect. There is a very strong salad and cold mezze selection. Freshness is the word that pops into my head as I write this. The same can be said of the seafood. I enjoy the well shucked oysters, but it is the Lemon and thyme shrimps that wins the prize for best seafood dish on display - the flavours are very subtle but defined at the same time. 

Another dish that you have to try is the Braised ribs and open Chinese pancake/bun. The ribs are beautifully cooked, and this from one who seldom has beef that is not made to order at a brunch because I fear it will be overcooked - but this juicy, tender and just broke so easily as I chewed it. Finally, the Vietnamese fresh spring rolls - light, aromatic and tasty. 

As satisfied as I was, I craved something else, and thought back to the last time I was there when they served pizza and I politely requested some pizza - a  simple margarita pizza. When I tried it, I realised it should be part of the brunch. Everyone loves pizza, and it is so inexpensive to make. 

I think a bit more could be done here, but when I consider the price, I am reminded that it is pretty good. An Italian sparkling wine (not Prosecco), a red and white, as well as the usual soft drinks were on offer. I still like the idea of a welcome drink at a brunch, and I would like to see this reintroduced. Nothing says 'welcome' more than a drink as you walk in. 

This is a major strength at the brunch. Diversity among staff ensures a colourful dining experience. That is the case here. In terms of actual service, staff worked tirelessly to ensure that drinks remained topped up and plates were cleared timeously. What I found quite interesting is that there was not an over-supply of staff, so service was not excessive and obsequious. It was a simple case of staff working diligently on the day to give guests a good brunch experience. 

I liked it the previous two timesI tried it, and I still like it. I think there is a lot of focus on producing dishes which speak quality, and in a city where buffets are often wasteful in every way, this focus excites me. At 226 AED this is a steal. Despite my concerns that the price might reflect a drop in quality, the reality was different. Sure I missed my Prosecco, but do most guests care if it is Prosecco or sparkling wine, as long as they have bubbles? Probably not. I do think though that people might struggle with the price in terms of perception, so oddly, I think they should increase the price. (Note that it is a promotional price).

The Sky Brunch has  a sophisticated feel to it and I feel it will appeal to a select crowd who eschew large crowds and prefer something more intimate. 

The Essentials,

Sky Brunch at 18°
Hyatt Capital Gate, 
Abu Dhabi.
+971 2 596 1234

Classic Brunch - Promotional Price*
174 AED net– brunch with soft beverages and juices
Sky Brunch - Promotional Price *
226 AED net – brunch with hops, grapes and sparkling

Brandon Stoltenkamp