A budget brunch at c.taste - Centro Al Manhal by Rotana, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is awash with brunches as it is something that is very much part of a fascinating subculture in the city. They can be expensive though with some of the 5-star hotels charging 600AED for a brunch.  It means that most people in the city are priced out of these brunches. So what does one do to experience a slice of this subculture, and to enjoy a buffet and possibly a glass of wine? Thankfully brunches like the one at Centro Al Manhal on Airport road ensure that everyone can see what all this Friday madness with brunches is all about. 

The Arabian Brunch at c.taste offers a very decent cold mezze and salad selection. Caprese salad, Green papaya salad and Beetroot salad are some of the salads served. , This is exactly the way I remember it from two years ago when I last tried the brunch. So,  expect the usual Arabic favourites like hummus, fatoush and tabouleh, but also a variety of ingredients that allow you to create your own salad. All dishes are nicely labeled, and this reflects care and effort that goes into this brunch. 

The main courses obviously continue the Arabic theme, and the Lamb ouzi takes centre stage. Also, I had the pleasure too of having a mixed grill nicely presented on a black slate. When you try  a 'budget' brunch, these are moments which you treasure because you realise that creativity is not only the domain of the high-end establishments. 

If you need something else, there are a few dishes which break the Arabic theme. There is a Brisket cooked pretty well, Seafood paella as well as one of my favourites of the day, Tandoori chicken with a delightful mint sauce. I would like to see them use the tandoori oven to make naan because there are not many brunches I have been to where they have such an oven. 

For those on the wine package, the restaurant offers the Australian Wolfblass Merot and Chardonnay, wines that are more than adequate for a brunch, and incidentally, are served at a brunch by one of the leading 5-star hotels in the city. At 129AED net, this is one of the cheapest brunches in the city serving alcohol. 

Finally, the dessert station has more than enough options, but guests will be intrigued by the Arabic ice cream that is served. It is something different and is bound to attract many takers. 

Overall, the brunch at c.taste makes brunches accessible to everyone. The truth is not everyone can go to those expensive brunches one often sees in the city. As much as I enjoy them, sometimes one has to watch one's budget, and this is where a brunch like this is perfect. It is not a drinking brunch, which means people might still enjoy their wine, but it remains very family friendly. I recommend this brunch because it opens up one of the subcultural highs of the city to everyone, and will leave you with a lot of change after settling the bill. 

The Essentials

Centro Al Manhal Hotel.
Airport road,
Abu Dhabi
971 2 811 5000

Friday Brunch 12.30-16.00
Red and white wine brunch 129 Dhs net
Juice brunch 99 Dhs net

Disclaimer: I was invited by the hotel to try the brunch. I am admittedly a huge fan of the Centro brand because it offers such value for money.