Munch - the Family Brunch - Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotels and Villas

There is something about Saadiyat Island that makes me feel I am going somewhere. It is an occasion in itself. In a city of 'man-made everything', this island is the real thing. It is also blessed with some exquisite properties. with the Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas ranking as one of the city's most beautiful hotels, with its earthiness and simplicity a wonderful contrast to glass and steel. It is here where I make my way to The Café for the Munch the Family Brunch. As an all day dining restaurant, this venue ranks as one of my top 3 in the city as far as aesthetics and design go. 

Some talking points from the brunch

1. Manageable brunches are the future

It is a small buffet. I have often said that this allows a hotel to focus a lot more on quality and a personalised experience. As someone who routinely has no more than 4-6 dishes at a  brunch, I find the selection at this brunch more than adequate. I also think brunches really need to become more sustainable, and this is an example of that. There is simply too much wasting that goes on at brunches. To add to the guest's personalised experience, there is a grill station that sends 1824 tenderloin, scallops and foie gras to your table as requested. 

2. Dishes and drinks

I do recommend asking a chef to prepare a seafood selection for you. I did this and was able to move beyond the usual oysters I have. Having said that, the Tasarskaya oysters were superb, nicely shucked. I am starting to these oysters a lot more than the ubiquitous Fine de Claires. Big chunky scallops should also be on your table. Thirdly, I quite enjoyed the sushi and the tuna tartar. However, my dish of the day came from the tandoor room, as I call it because there is a tandoor right there. This was exciting. I could count on one hand the number of brunches with a tandoor. It was here that I found my dish of the day - not photographed. The tandoor lamb and biryani were packed with immense flavour. Make sure to try it. 

On the drinks side, it is safe to say that Park Hyatt offers the best champagne at a brunch in the city. The Billecart-Salmon is simply a beautiful champagne, with an elegance and refinement that sets it apart from what you can find elsewhere in Abu Dhabi. For premium package buyers, they also serve wines that will tempt you to leave the champagne. Both their Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir are good choices, and they join a few top tier brunches that emphasise good wines. 

In terms of making it better though, I would like to see a couple more cocktail stations, especially for the middle tier package holders. Cocktails are low cost but create so much happiness. After all, they certainly have the space to add a couple more drinks stations. 

3. Men and women in white

There is a great deal of activity by the chefs. The mantra is one of engagement. This is no more evident than at the grill station where there are no tags telling the guest what is available. The whole idea is to get guests and chefs to interact. It reduces the role of the waiter and allows the guest to hear first hand from the chef. However, I still think it is vital for waiters to tell guests that there is this grill option when they introduce teh brunch. It allows guests to plan their afternoon. There is a high proportion of chefs considering the number of guests, again adding to that sense of brunch being personalised despite the buffet concept. I think, overall, that the men and women in white bring to the brunch an elemnt of service that you want at a brunch. 

On the other hand, I would like to see waiting staff back up the men and women in white by taking their service up a notch. I for one never enjoy waiters standing around chatting to each other while plates need to be cleared and water topped up. 

In summary, the Munch - the Family Brunch deserves more recognition than it has got up to now. Its stunning location with a turquoise coloured sea in the background can be matched by only a few venues in the city. Its less is more concept will also find a home with many discerning guests who eschew large buffets and hordes of people. It is an entertaining brunch too, with a  DJ rightfully preferred over jazz, the latter so old school nowadays. Finally, it is indeed a family brunch with children having their own dedicated station and ample playing area.

Overall, I would like to see more people trying this brunch - one to watch in 2017. 

The Essentials

Munch the Family Brunch 
The Café 
Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 407 1234

AED 260++ for non-alcoholic beverages,
AED 299++ with house beverages and 
AED 550++ with Champagne

Brandon Stoltenkamp