Mega Friday Brunch - Dusit Thani, Dubai

I have long believed that one of the virtues of Friday brunch is that it showcases the strengths of a hotel's F&B outlets. For want of a better expression, it is like a 'Best of' compilation of those restaurants. Some hotels do it, while others do it exceptionally. Dusit Thani in Dubai fits into the latter category. Their Friday brunch really celebrates their restaurants and offers some fine dishes from Pax, Italian, Benjarong, Thai and the Californian, their international all-day dining restaurant that is American influenced.

Stylish and spacious - PAX
Relaxed - The Californian
Entrance to Benjarong
I arrive at Dusit Thani and am greeted in a friendly manner and told where to go for the brunch - an elevator ride to the 24th floor. As the elevator door opens, the hostess is right there and guides me to my table.
Elegant Benjarong
View from my table
The brunch is expansive, covering all three restaurants. I am told they can do up to 250 people. However, because they use three restaurants, I do not feel the anticipated crowd. I am seated in Benjarong with a great view of the Burj Khalifa, the iconic symbol of the Dubai skyline. The restaurant is gorgeous - a fine homage to Thailand. It has a classical feel to it. I am curious to see how the other two restaurants compare. I go to PAX to have a look. It is light, vibrant and in many ways seems like a typical brunch affair - laughter, clinking of glasses, animated conversation. The views of  Sheikh Zayed road  and the sea not so far away give a different perspective to Benjarong's view. Next, I go to The Californian and get the same feel I got at PAX, but it is more minimalistic. It too, though, with its large windows, offers majestic views of the Burj Khalifa. I return to Benjarong.

One brunch, with three distinctive restaurants to suit your mood and the crowd you are with. I like it. Benjarong allows more intimacy. A venue conducive to deep and meaningful conversation.
French oysters
Omani lobster
Sashimi and sushi
The main buffet area offers a stunning view of the atrium, and a perfect meeting point for guests at teh three different restaurants. But this is all about food, so I move around, speaking to some of the many chefs, including the executive chef,  on duty. I always get excited when I see this. It allows guests to really connect with the hands and minds behind behind the dishes. The seafood station is very imposing and features Omani lobster, blue crab, Oysters of course, mussels, sushi and sashimi to mention a few. I start off with the French Oysters. They are somewhat drier than I would like but they have retained the saltiness of the sea and end up being quite good. With a bit more natural water in the shell, they would have been perfect. I still enjoy them, nonetheless. I follow it with Omani lobster, cooked just the right way. Soon after that I try the sushi and sashimi. The sushi rice is a bit chewy, but the sashimi is perfect!

Live pasta station
My daughter, meanwhile, wants pasta, so we visit the Italian station. The chef de cuisine is in attendance and we have a chat about an upcoming Burrata promotion at PAX. It has me salivating, and he graciously offers to prepare a caprese salad for me. While I love burrata, fresh buffalo mozarella makes me weak at the knees too! My daughter, in the meantime, has requested her pasta and as the line chef prepares it, she chooses a few more ingredients for her creamy sauce pasta. She enjoys the process immensely. There is no dedicated kids' station at the brunch, but when a chef interacts this way with a child and empowers her to create her own pasta, who needs horrible chicken nuggets and fries?

Fresh caprese salad. 
My caprese salad wows me. I lap up the chunky tomatoes and the balsamic reduction is so good that my 8 year old is beside herself. The reduction as opposed to fresh balsamic brings an added dimension of flavour. The buffalo mozzarella, of course, is just beautiful. It speaks volumes for a hotel when a chef meets a guest and is willing to meet the guest's needs off the menu. A wonderful touch! It is not always about dollars and cents.
A Champagne rich in mousse. 
The Champagne, in the meantime, keeps flowing. I am impressed that the brunch specifies which drinks are available in the sparkling package. There is a menu on every table. This works well because sometimes guests are too shy to ask what drinks they are entitled to. In addition to a red, white and sparkling wine, there is also a selection of whisky, gin and cocktails. The Champagne on offer is from the family run house of Joseph Perrier, Marquis de Joncry. Little things like being offered a new glass when a new bottle is opened go a long way to making one's day extra special. Nice.

During brunch I can hear very loud traditional Thai music. My interest is piqued and I venture out. There is a Thai performance by two dancers. Brilliant. The grace and skills that they display takes one away to another place. Happy.

I try a couple of Thai dishes - the tom yam goong and bowl of noodles. Both are excellent, with the spicy tom yum following up my delicately flavored noodles very nicely. Other Thai dishes available include Kaho soy gai (another noodle dish), Nuea pad Nammuhoy (stir fried beef in oyster sauce) and of course Gang kiew wan gai (green Thai curry).

Finally, before dessert, I visit The Californian station where there is an inviting array of New Orleans BBQ items. However, I opt for the veal, which turns out a bit too overcooked for my taste. My daughter has the ribs, which are more robust in flavour. She loves it.

The service at the brunch is very good. The staff are well trained and try their best to anticipate the needs of guests. because we were seated in Benjarong, I had a real feeling of having a dedicated waitress because it is not as open as typical brunches. Another strength for this Friday brunch.
Apple pie
Bread pudding
Dessert deserves extra special mention. When one goes often to brunch, one usually knows what to expect. On this occasion, though, there are a few desserts that really surprise. English trifle, Apple pie and Crepes Suzette (with flames and all) capture my attention. Did I mention bread pudding? Yes, that too. Yum. I am so taken in by these unusual dessert treats that I totally forget to try the cheese station.
Crepes Suzette
In conclusion, the brunch here was  very good on numerous levels. Not having tried many brunches in Dubai, I have no real frame of reference for the standard of brunches, but compared to Abu Dhabi, I would definitely place it in my top 5. While I have been to other brunches where the brunch spans a few restaurants, here the three restaurants use have very definite character and style differences and this creates the atmosphere. It is like going to three different brunches. After visiting the buffet area, one is then able to return to the comfort of the restaurant with its high intimacy levels. Superb service, excellent dishes, especially the desserts and you have more than enough reason to try out a brunch that offers so much to the guest. 

The essentials

Friday Brunch
Duit Thani, Dubai
+971 4 317 4515

AED 210 – with soft drinks & chilled juices
AED 250 – with house wine and house beer
AED 325 – with sparkling wine and house spirits
AED 495 – with Champagne
                                                                                                                    Pictures thanks to Nokia Creative Studio on my Nokia 1520
Brandon Stoltenkamp