The big Friday brunch may be a pivotal part of the Dubai social scene but it does come with its drawbacks. Spend 12pm to 4pm indulging in an array of lavish culinary options and an unceasing stream of libations and you can’t help but emerge feeling fit to burst. After gorging yourself so early in the day you can kiss your Friday evening goodbye.
If you do have stamina to power through the afternoon into the evening then that’s your Saturday morning gone. Watch in horror as your weekend evaporates before your very eyes: you haven’t been to the beach, run any errands or made it to the gym.
Enter the ‘evening brunch’ concept. Exactly the same upscale dining and drinking package but held later in the day (and sometimes even on weekdays), freeing your precious weekend mornings and afternoons from the tyranny of the generic weekend brunch. Even better most of these evening brunches tend to both more unique and less expensive than their daytime counterparts. Go ahead and book a table already!
Surf & Turf Nights at Mistral
Every Thursday and Friday, the Mövenpick’s all-day dining restaurant puts on this themed night brunch. Both the seafood and the red meat are extra-fresh and live cooking stations mean you can get your lobster-tail-topped-steak seared just the way you like it (medium rare for me).
Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel; Thursdays and Fridays from 7:00pm to 11:00pm; AED299 food and house beverages; 04 444 0000
Every Night at Flavours on 2
Every day is evening brunch day at the Towers Rotana! Seriously, this hotel has an evening brunch package for every night of the week. But to keep things fresh, they change themes every night. Start the week off strong with ‘Sizzlin’ Salsa Sundays’ and wind down on Saturday night with an ‘Asian Twist’.
The two most popular themes are ‘Flavours from the Ocean’ (Wednesday nights) and ‘Flavours from Italy’ (so popular it’s on both Thursday and Friday nights). Apart from the excellent food, ten-top tables get two freebies (that’s a 20% discount) Saturdays through Wednesday.
Towers Rotana, SZR; every day from 7:00pm to 11:30pm; price dependent on theme but generally starting from AED199; 04 312 2202
Seafood Brunch at La Résidence
This modern brasserie has rebranded its ‘Paris by Night Lumiére Brunch’ as a seafood brunch. In my opinion, ‘Paris by Night’ is a far better name, but perhaps resto’s single minded focus on delights of the ocean merited such a stark change. No matter, the lux art-deco interior, an old-school speakeasy vibe (in no small part thanks to team of expert mixologists) and up-tempo tunes spun by an in-house DJ and/or a live performance by a pro pianist makes this one of the trendiest spots for an evening brunch.
Raffles Hotel, Umm Hurair; Fridays from 8pm to 11:45pm; AED 379 food and house beverages; 04 396 2211
The British Garden Party at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen
Many fans of Hell’s Kitchen, and fans of food in general, got to mingle with Chef Gordon Ramsay himself, like, in the actual flesh and all, when he came to inaugurate Bread Street Kitchen’s weekly Garden Party.
But Ramsay or not, this night might become one of the best evening brunches around, with incredibly value for money to boot, so it certainly merits a visit now it is up and running. Also the beef Wellington is apparently T.D.F. (to die for).
Atlantis, The Palm; Thursdays form 8pm to 1am; AED 250 food and house beverages; 04 426 2626
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Midnight Bruch Dinner Show at Cavalli Club
If you have no qualms partying on a school night, flashy nightlife hotspot Cavalli Club has just launched this bit of fun on Sundays. The rococo-esque venue’s dinner show brunch offers diners an unlimited set menu of delectable Italian dishes and an unlimited selection of drinks. And of course, it’s complemented by cabaret-style dancers because otherwise it wouldn’t be a dinner show. After you eat to your heart’s content the place transforms into a nightclub where resident DJs spin dance tunes until 3am. What a way to start the week.
Fairmont Hotel, SZR; Sundays from 9:30pm to midnight; AED 250 food and house beverages; 050 991 0400
FRID*EX at Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo
One of Dubai’s foremost Italian eateries puts a classy spin on the weekend evening brunch scene with its FRID*EX concept. In the Friday Experience (because that’s what it stands for, obvs), diners are given cards numbered 1 through 16 with each card corresponding to an item off the a la carte menu. The result is a unique opportunity to create your own haute multi-course meal. And to keep things lively, the menu changes on the regular. Couple killer cuisine with the restaurant’s stunning Creek-side view, and you’ve got a foodie’s dream Friday night out. But be warned: this dining experience is far more food-focused so if you’re looking for a loud night fuelled by an unending stream of drinks, seek elsewhere.
Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Deira; Fridays from 7pm to 11pm; from AED 179; 04 207 1717
Favela Chic Brunch at Spirito Lounge and Kitchen
Every Friday afternoon, this dynamic Brazilian venue puts on a prix fixe party brunch. Replete with carnival dancers shaking it to Samba, Bossa Nova and Afro-Brazilian beats, authentic South American flavours, and an unremitting flow of specialty cocktails, this is one raucous affair. But if you happen to miss the first session, don’t despair because the fun starts up all over again with their evening brunch. It’s same favela chicness with an even stronger party flavour.
Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City; Fridays from 8pm to midnight; starting at AED 350 food and house beverages; 04 421 2679
The Great British Brunch at Reform Social & Grill
Looking for some authentic gastropub grub? Then hit up Reform’s relaxed evening brunch. The prix fixe menu gives you the choice of one of their hearty mains (and we really mean hearty – you’d be hard pressed to find black pudding and haggis mash anywhere else in the Emirate) alongside a massive starters share platter and access to a selection of some of the UK’s favourite desserts. Personally, I’d skip the toffee pudding and dive into the selection of artisanal farmhouse cheeses, but that’s because I’m trying to avoid refined sugar.
The Lakes; Fridays from 6pm to 10pm; AED 350 food and house beverages; 04 454 2638
Pure Sunset Brunch at Pure Sky Lounge
Head to this brunch at this chic rooftop lounge just as it starts up at 5:30pm for the opportunity to view a spectacular sunset over the Arabian Gulf. And there’s no jostling around the seafood station here – in true lounge form, attentive wait staff bring one delicious plate after the other straight to your table. But pace yourself – with so many bustling night spots within walking distance, this fabulous evening brunch is the perfect point of departure for a night out on the town.
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residences, JBR; Fridays from 5:30pm to 9:30pm; AED 350 for food and house beverages; 04 374 7888
Funk Soul Supper Brunch at The Black Lion
The stylish H Hotel’s newest outlet is The Black Lion, a hip East London style gastropub that serves old comfort food faves like fish alongside innovative bites like, say, a haggis bhaji and Korean short rib buns. As you can probably guess from the name, their Friday eve brunch is a rhythm and blues influenced affair with a live DJ mixing soul, funk and hip-hop tunes rather artfully. Alongside a range of craft hops to choose from (a real rarity in Dubai) there’s a steady flow of mean signature cocktails throughout the evening.
Please note: their baked vanilla cheesecake with a salted caramel crumble is allegedly one of the finest cheesecakes in Dubai, so save space for dessert!
The H Hotel, SZR; Fridays from 6pm to 10pm; AED 335 for food and house beverages; 04 359 2366
The Midnight Brunch at Frioul
The folks at this hip modern bistro have decided to kick the whole evening brunch thing up a notch, turning it into a proper midnight feast. It’s a genius idea, especially considering Frioul’s prime party location – you can choose to either start your night or wrap things up there. Whatever it is you decide to do, the place certainly isn’t serving up your regular greasy-post-party shawarma (although there is indeed a time and a place for that): the fancy menu here straddles brekkie and din-din with warm melting brie and spinach omelettes and Angus ribeye steaks served side by side.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Madinat Jumeirah; Thursdays from midnight to 3am (well, it’s technically early Friday morning); AED 500 for food and bubbles
House Party at Zero Gravity
Of course this mega party venue can’t be left out of any top evening brunch list. To the delight of hungry party animals all over Dubai, they launched their House Party last summer, an event they like to call ‘the ultimate night in’. They’ve got room after room stuffed with giant games, help-yourself bottle fridges, DIY cocktail stations and home-cooked canapés. Pace yourself though – once the brunch winds down, a club night by the name of ‘Velocity’ starts up and the real party begins.
Skydive Dubai Drop Zone; Thursdays from 8pm to 11pm; AED 295 for food and house beverages; 04 399 0009
The 80s and 90s Brunch at The Crab Tavern
This evening brunch encourages crustacean-loving attendees to indulge in some serious nostalgia. So put on that scrunchie, lace up those steel-toed boots (or LA Gears – whatever floats your boat) and get ready to sing along to the music that played back when MTV actually played music (We went along recently and DJ Danny’s RNB tunes had us round the bar dancing until the early hours).
Oh, and there’s food too! The brunch package gives you unlimited access to the Tavern’s Mason Jar Mary Bar as well as house beverages (or upgrade to the fizz package), a generous starters sharing platter (think prawn cocktail, fish cakes and wings) dessert, and your choice of main from a prix fixe menu (We loved the Singapore Crab Pasta and the Fish and Chips). There’s also an option to upgrade your brunch with a bucket of choice seafood delicacies – we’re talking king crab legs, succulent prawns, and deliciously briny fresh oysters.
Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City; Fridays from 8pm to midnight; starting at AED 395 for food and house beverages; 04 427 1000