Roberto’s (Dubai)

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I have finally written a brunch post!!
I know it’s taken long enough and apologies for the delay but recently I have been eating out lots in the evenings and not so much in the morning. Anyway that has all changed and I have a couple of rather fantastic brunch reviews coming up for you (I can’t guarantee the review is fantastic but what I mean is that the food was!)

I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word ‘brunch’ but for me it conjours up images of eggs, bacon, salmon, waffles, pancakes etc. I imagine you will think of something similar, unless you live in Dubai! It’s not exactly an understated place anyway but they bring a whole new meaning to the word brunch! I’m currently out in Dubai to visit my friend Harry (she writes the very popular blog http://hashtagcake.me – if you haven’t read it yet then you are seriously missing out, and she is a very talented cook so there are some great recipes on it too!).

So anyway, I am currently in Dubai to visit Harry and it was her friend Helen’s birthday so she very kindly invited us to her birthday brunch at Roberto’s. I’d never been to a brunch out here before but had heard lots about them so was very excited to go and see what it was all about. For those of you who haven’t heard about Dubai brunches, basically every Friday (their Saturday) every hotel/restaurant hosts a brunch from 12pm – 4pm with the emphasis being on eating and drinking as much as possible! They vary hugely from place to place, but Roberto’s is apparently much more civilised as it’s not a buffet, so you eat slightly less and it’s just a bit more grown up. As I’ve never been to another brunch before I can’t really compare but it was so lovely!

Situated in the financial area, you go through a rather grand entrance to reach the restaurant.

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You are then greeted with an extremely scrumptious Bellini (with I drank before it could be photographed) and given the menu. There are five courses, the first two are sharing plates and then you choose your pasta course, main course and dessert.

First up came the aptly named ‘Seafood tower’.

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It was like a dream come true (except if you hate shellfish – luckily I don’t). There were prawns, lobster, mussels…

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…and oysters…

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I’d never tried oysters before, the idea of not chewing something seemed pretty unnatural but I went for it and ate the slimy thing.

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I must admit I really liked it! So much so that I wolfed down a further 3!

Conscious that brunches are a marathon not a sprint, and that there were 4 more courses to come, I stopped there and waited for the starters. These were also incredible, everything you could possibly want, and instead of choosing just one you could try a selection!

Beef carpaccio

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Burrata (possibly the best food on the planet)

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Calamari and deep fried courgette (still getting some of my 5 a day in!)

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And braised veal with capers, it was so thin and tender it just melted in your mouth.

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So after all those starters you’d think it’d be onto main courses right? Oh no! This is an italian restaurant so there has to be a pasta course next! Here the choice was between a mushroom tagliolini (spaghetti) or a seafood paccheri. Obviously I hadn’t had enough seafood already so I ordered the seafood pasta.

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I was a little concerned about the size the dish would be as I was starting to get a bit full but it was just right.
Harry opted for the mushroom pasta which she said was also pretty tasty!

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Now the main courses. I hope you’re still with me, I know this is a bit of a lengthy one but it was a seriously long meal!! So these were also à la carte, there were a few choices.

Short ribs, which I was a little jealous I didn’t get.

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Slow braised lamb

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And the sea bream. You had to order this for two and so we were hoping for some theatrics as they cut it up at the table but unfortunately they cut it up round the corner and I had to pounce to get this photo.

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It was still tasty but if I had to say my least favourite part of the meal then it would probably be this.

Finally came the desserts! They all looked pretty good on the menu and I really struggled with what to go for but eventually decided on the panna cotta with berries.

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Others opted for profiteroles

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Tiramisu

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Chocolate fondant

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And chocolate cake

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There were lots of mmmms at the table and I think the puddings definitely went down well!

This is one of the best meals I’ve had in a while, and definitely the most decadent brunch ever! I haven’t discussed the drinks but it was basically free flowing fizz and bellinis…pretty great! The staff were extremely attentive and glasses were never empty (although they are therefore also partially to blame for my sore head the next morning)! I would definitely recommend Roberto’s if you’re ever in Dubai on a Friday and are looking for a slightly more civilised option to some of the other brunches. It’s not cheap, about £90 (AED495) for the brunch with champagne, cocktails etc, although if you’re not drinking it’s quite a bit cheaper, but if you think of the quantity of food and booze then it’s definitely value for money! Oh and I forgot to mention, there was a man playing jazz guitar throughout the whole meal which really added to the ambience. He almost (I say almost as he didn’t quite succeed) in converting me round to the sounds of Michael Jackson, and that is quite something! So in summary, if you’re in Dubai on a Friday then go to Roberto’s and gorge on champagne and seafood, you won’t regret it!

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