That's what I call a party - Friday Brunch at Coya, Abu Dhabi

Coya, a restaurant that has proved tremendously successful in Dubai, has been in the nation's capital for less than a year now and has already cemented its place as a restaurant offering more than just Latino cuisine. It has lived up to its original concept in London by taking guests on a  cultural journey. Its brunch, launched  a few months ago, sets out to take the Coya experience and offer it in a concentrated form in 3 1/2 hours. On a recent visit to Coya to try its brunch, the following thoughts emerged. 


A highlight of the Coya experience is undoubtedly the preparation of guacamole at the table, complete with mortar. It is engaging and symbolic of the value placed on people.  Ceviches are on display and with a quick turnover, freshness is not really compromised. We have a few to share from Pargo a la trufa - red snapper with truffle in ponzu sauce to Tataki de Res Wagyu - Beef tataki. Make sure also to try the Atun Chifa — Yellowfin tuna, sesame seeds, shrimp cracker and soy sauce. All in all,  a great way to start the afternoon.  

For the main courses, there are 5 options, but I pretty much stopped listening after I heard Arroz Nikkei - basically a sea bass risotto. For the record, there are also: Solomillo de Res - Spicy beef fillet, crispy shallot and garlic and Pollo Al Josper - corn fed baby chicken, aji panca and coriander.  My guest and I ordered the Sea bass risotto and Spicy beef to share - something I do recommend. These are two exceptionally good main dishes, so make sure both end up on your tabel when next you go.


Of course, Coya is famous for its cocktails, so I made sure I indulged in a few. The welcome drink at the bar is a must - you have 3 and 1/2 hours to be sat at your table, so why not start at the bar and absorb the quirky and colourful ambiance of the bar area. I started off with a  Pisco Sour, a  Coya signature before getting an Aperol Spritz from their dedicated station - I cannot believe there are not more Aperol Spritz stations in the city. 

There is also a Chivas Real station dispensing some Chivas based cocktails. There is something very classy about the way the drinks are dispensed from stations nicely constructed. Finally, in addition to wines offered, the champagne is Veuve Cliquot NV. On the floor is the restaurant's sommelier, always a nice touch I feel and one of few brunches in the city that has a sommelier walking around, pouring drinks to guests. 


This is a trademark Coya element and I was not disappointed. My growing disillusionment with jazz duos at brunches is well documented. The live band at Coya's brunch is simply sensational. The energy, verve and connection with the guests is clear for all to see. What I like is that they do not start off mellow and the towards the end of brunch playmore lively tunes. This is a  party atmosphere that starts early on. Coya's intimate venue really allows the band to forge that connection mentioned earlier. As if this was not enough, there was an impromptu drumming session by one of the Coya staff - unbelievable fun! This captures the Latino spirit that we have come to appreciate when ever surrounded by the beautiful people from that part of the world. 

Staff and service

This is definitely a major selling point of the brunch. Staff are allowed to express themselves ensuring that you get to experience the true diversity of the staff on the floor - diversity that goes beyond nationality. There is nothing obsequios about the service here; staff have a swagger about them that speaks to their confidence but not arrogance. They know their stuff too. Right now, I would place them alongside two other restaurants in the city when it comes to staff at a brunch. Staff who are given the freedom to express themselves are happy people. Happy people bring happiness to the guest's experience. It is simple. 

Coya may not be the only restaurant offering a  Latino brunch experience, but it is certainly a very special one. A stunning venue in which space is smartly utilized to create an intimate guest experience, flavoursome dishes that arrest all your senses, fantastic staff who exude life and energy and  a band that make sit hard for anyone not to have a good time combine to create a brunch that is one of the ten essential brunch experiences in the city. 

The Essentials

(next to Four Seasons Hotel / Galleria Mall)
Al Maryah Island,
+971 2 306 7000


Dhs278 soft drinks
Dhs448 Wine and cocktails
Dhs548 Veuve Cliquot, cocktails and wine

Brandon Stoltenkamp