Friday Brunch - Sofitel Corniche, Abu Dhabi.

The Sofitel is stylish. The predominant black and off-white colour scheme runs throughout. The expected clash of colours is not there at all. It remans tranquil, punctuated by the sound of water from the fountains in the restaurant. This was my first impression.

Very stylish.
The Arabic decor
Plenty of seating options
I was  excited about brunch because on two previous occasions I had a marvelous time when I tried their afternoon tea ( and also their Seafood night ( It would follow suit then that this would be equally impressive. I was about to find out.

On arrival you are greeted with a choice of mocktails, either a mango, strawberry and passion fruit mix, or the lighter and more refreshing cranberry and ginger mix. In truth though, I had both. A warm way to start the brunch.

With some dishes provided by La Mer, the highly acclaimed in-house seafood restaurant, and Silk & Spice, their Thai restaurant, I expected something special. The French oysters did not disappoint. Well shucked, clear, firm and slippery. Very nice indeed. Next up I tried the foie gras. It was sautéed and served on a small piece of baguette with mango salsa. Lovely combination. The mango salsa, with just the right sweetness, did not overpower the foie gras. I must confess, I made two trips!

Oysters - French, of course
Loved the foie gras combination.
I then explored the rest of the brunch. The mezze station boasted more than 30 options. I passed by the soup area and saw that they had pumpkin soup and lobster bisque. I tried both, by the way, cooked to perfection. The lobster bisque was rich in lobster flavour while the pumpkin soup had a very natural consistency to it. I visited the Thai station too, with their head chef from Silk & Spice in attendance. I love it when restaurants use a brunch to showcase dishes from their restaurants. I opted for the green papaya salad, and I must say it was really good. Crunchy, tarty, spicy, hot - very well made.

Superb green papaya salad
Live pasta station
Not short on decor. 
During all of this, Sofitel's resident band, The Scene (they play in the Jazz & Fizz bar) had started the entertainment. Their acoustic set provided the perfect back drop for the brunch - silky smooth, not too loud and also interactive. There is a sheet with songs they can do and guests can request songs from the list. The trio did some nice  pieces, including a wonderful interpretation of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69". Watching my daughter and her friend respond to the band got me thinking that while this is not essentially a family brunch, families should not be deterred from coming. The band happily engaged them and even talked to them. Not all family brunches need face painting and jumping castles. Furthermore, during the brunch, three different chefs came to ask if the girls needed anything else to eat. Nice.

Brilliant entertainment by the engaging The Scene. (no audio) 
This then brought home the highlight of this brunch to me: the dedicated service. I watched as waiters and waitresses  cleared away plates, walked around checking on guests while duty managers did the same thing. Chefs were visible, making sure all dishes remain topped up. All of this was done with sincerity and care. It was also nice seeing Julian, the amazing tea guru and waiter whom you read about in my afternoon tea review, as one of the managers on duty. Good service is rewarded. The Sofitel did this really well.

Got the pastry chef to whip me up some cream.
Meringues creatively displayed. 
Expected more from the cheese selection.
Any areas that can be improved? I was surprised by the modest cheese station. I expected Sofitel, a French brand, to have an amazing cheese selection. One of the many things the French do superbly is cheese. In all, there was a choice of about 6 cheeses including camembert, toma piemontese, reblochon and emmental. I would also like it to be a bit more French, which then really puts it in a niche brunch bracket. It was nice seeing ratatouille, chicken chasseur, the foie gras and washing them down with Mumm Champagne, I see endless possibilities. Let us have some more French classics. After all, they are, according to their slogan,  Sofitel, le magnifique!

I guess these guests were impressed with the music and brunch!
Other than that, it was a brunch well delivered. Food, great entertainment by The Scene and attentive service made it a brunch to enjoy. I say it time and again: serve your delicious creations well and with care, and people will return. I certainly will.

The low down

Sofitel on the Corniche
Friday Brunch
Soft Drinks 245++
Grapes 295++
Bubbly 440++
02 813 7777

Please note that as is the case with all brunches, Sofitel's brunch will close for Ramadan but reopen afterwards.