Superb Latino brunch experience at Bu! - World Trade Centre Mall, Abu Dhabi

By now I am sure, one year on, that you have heard of Bu! the pan Latin restaurant in downtown Abu Dhabi that has brought to the capital vibrancy and energy with its emphasis on hospitality and beautifully presented dishes, rich in flavour. I had the opportunity to try their Friday brunch recently and a few thoughts emerged.

A whole new experience for brunchers (people who go to brunch)

While the table brunch idea is becoming 'so last season', it is nonetheless still a  niche concept if you consider how few table brunches we have. However, it is not the brunch at your table that excited me so much as the menu presented to guests. With a cuisine that is new to Abu Dhabi, it is also about educating diners, so the presentation of the menu makes it easier. I for one hate it when I am not given a  menu at a table brunch - some restaurants claim that they prefer staff to engage guests. That only works if they are properly trained. A menu really helps guests navigate their way through the afternoon and the one at this brunch is comprehensive and easy to follow.  


Mexican Head Chef Humberto Canales has created a  genuine sharing concept that allows guests to try several dishes - it debunks the myth that table brunches do not offer as much food as lavish, wasteful buffets. The menu takes from Rotanas or small nibbles to salads, Pastries and Street food, with some delicious tacos offered. The Antichuchos are highlighted by the black Angus beef served with panko crumbs. I loved the little grill on the table. An exciting innovation on the menu is that guests can design their own ceviches or tiraditos. This is certainly a natural way to create engagement between staff and their guests. However, I choose to go with Chef's suggestion and have  a trio including the Robalo,a  sea bass based ceviche. It is an exciting set menu that shows the value of good food freshly served. 


Bu! has some brilliant cocktails, as you would expect, but those who, like me, enjoy their bubbly. it has one of the nicest champagne around - it is a boutique champagne exclusively served at this brunch - NV D Devaux Cuvee. If the bubbly package at 5o0AED is too much but you want that bubble fix, then the mid range package will certainly appeal to you - it includes Bellisco Cava. It is a shame there is no way to get guests to walk to the bar and get drinks because I think the bar at Bu! is stunning. But I imagine in the cooler months the terrace will bring the outdoor bar to life where guests can interact with bar staff and watch drinks made live. 

 A brunch that stands out?

The strength of the brunch at Bu! is that the terrace comes into play in the cooler months, but hey, everyone loves an outdoor brunch. I believe that you judge a brunch by how it performs and delivers in the heat of Summer when it is confined to indoors. One of the criticisms of Bu! has been that it is  a big space, so when it is not busy it feels cavernous. However, on my visit, space was cleverly manipulated so that brunch felt busy. It meant, therefore, that when the live band came on, there was a real party atmosphere. I have been critical of brunches where there seems to be a lack of creativity when it comes to entertainment and that we end up with some version of jazz. This is one area where Bu! offers something left of centre and I tell you that while I have no clue when it comes to Spanish, my feet understood the Latino beats! 

Friday brunch at Bu! serves up some super dishes that you will find at only a  couple other restaurants in the city. It means that you are likely to remember your brunch experience at Bu! Thanks to the searing live performance by the Latino band there is another reason this brunch will be burned to your memory. Finally, it is the warmth and fun loving aspect of South American culture that makes the ultimate impression. There is a natural and honest  engagement shared by Latino people that I could not help but feel during brunch. Ultimately, and I mean no disrespect to Chef and his fabulous team, when the names of the wonderful dishes are forgotten, it is the overall memory and emotion that endures, and I believe Bu! is the kind of place that creates exactly that at its Friday brunch. 

The Essentials

Friday Brunch at Bu!
The Hub, World Trade Centre Mall,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 666 8066

Soft Drinks Package 300AED
House Beverages 400AED
Champagne 500AED

Brandon Stoltenkamp