Day 192 • Friday • 13 Feb 15 • Today’s High 31º
Groan … Poss and I really had to drag ourselves out of bed this morning – them bones ain’t what they used to be, especially after a night out of not dancing! Today we had a brunch date @ Cafe Belge with his old school mate from London. We call him The Rock because I kid you not, he really does look like him, minus the bulging muscles. The Rock is married to his fabulous wife who we call Heidi, because you guessed it, she kinda looks like Heidi Klum. Funny thing is, even though she looks like a blond German glamazon, Heidi is actually Turkish but she grew up in Germany. Confused? I definitely was – to this day, I keep forgetting she’s Turkish because she looks so German. It’s the blond thing!
The Rock & Heidi are the most loved up couple we know. They’re also the corniest – they’ve been married just over a year & a half and are still in what can only be described as a never ending honeymoon. Poss and I are always cracking up (sometimes throwing up) at their love banter and are constantly teasing them to get a room! After being married for 10 years, I think the corniest Poss & I ever get is saying ‘Mean It!’ after saying ‘I love you’ and that’s not even corny. I guess we should just be happy we still say I love you??!
Anyway, back to brunch. Friday brunch is somewhat of an institution in Dubai. It even has its own listing in Wikipedia under Brunch; in other cities – no joke! With a build up like that, I’m sure you can imagine that this is no ordinary brunch. Rather, it’s a social extravaganza of the free-flowing champagne variety wrapped in a smorgasbord of the finest cuisine. It is little wonder therefore that for many expats, it’s the highlight that kick starts their weekend, beginning around noon and ending way after brunch is over. (If you’ve read my Fibber Magee’s post, you’ll know what I mean).
Of course there are tons of places that do brunch. Some people stick to what they know and others try a different one every week. While some hotel brunches may have you eating maggi mee for the rest of the week because they’re so freaking expensive, there are cheaper options available. Before today, I had only been to one Friday brunch at the French Restaurant Traiteur in Park Hyatt. Of course, it just happened to be one of the most expensive brunch options – diva much? Prices start at AED485 for the non-alcoholic package, AED680 for the sparkling wine package and AED750 for the champagne package. We had a table on the terrace overlooking the Marina which was really nice and the food is pretty good. But at AED750, you sure as hell wanna chug that champagne down to make it worth it because there is no way you can possibly stuff yourself that much!
Cafe Belge, the 1920s Belgian cafe at the Ritz Carlton is quite different to Traiteur. It’s a lot more intimate, sophisticated and oozes vintage glamour – just my kind of place. I fell in love with it as soon as I walked in and felt like reaching for my flapper dress – its art nouveau design a throwback to a golden era. Again we sat on the terrace which is spacious with plenty of room between the tables. Prices start at AED295 for the Prohibition package and AED395 for the Jazz Hands package but the best part – the entire brunch is served to you right at your table. Woot!
They start you off with a seafood platter and follow that up with starters like Truffled Egg (which is to die for) and Foie Gras Waffle. Then come the mains such as Warm Crab Mousse and Beef Chateaubriand. If your buttons haven’t popped off by then, they top it off with decadent desserts like Belgian Chocolate Mousse Shots. Basically, each course is a variety of bite size morsels of yumminess and if there’s something in particular you want more of, you just have to ask. I think Poss had 3 Truffled Eggs! And to ensure you have plenty to wash it down with, there’s an invisible hand that ensures your glass is never empty.
To be honest, I’m not really into buffets because I find the sheer amount of food rather overwhelming and it really is wasted on someone with my size appetite. Having said that though, I would definitely do Cafe Belge again. I think the price is well worth it, the food is good and I like that the whole brunch is well portioned and relaxed – who am I kidding, they had me at ‘you don’t have to get up’!