XL CandyPants Brunch

Location: Habtoor Grand Hotel
Pricing: AED 295 all inclusive
Timings: 1pm-4pm

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

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I chose to throw my landmark 30th birthday at this brunch. I was looking for a fun outdoor brunch that my friends and I have not tried before. The brunch is organized by Candypants events, a UK based events Management Company. The brunch is beautifully situated beachside at the XL beach club.

The brunch kicked off on the wrong foot as the staff is instructed to collect payment at the door, which resulted in a long queue forming and thirsty brunch goers unnecessarily wasting their time inline. The logical alternative would be to send a waiter to each table at the beginning of the brunch and collect payment at the table to facilitate the guests’ enjoyment. As we wait for our party of 25 to pay and assemble at the table I order a mojito (which is bizarrely vodka based). Limited spirits (vodka, whiskey, rum), bottled beer and wine are included in the drinks menu.

Given that it’s my birthday I am expecting heavy drinking so I proceed to the buffet to buffer my stomach against the incoming onslaught. The selection can best be described as minimalistic: salads, hot appetizers, one chicken option, one meat option, one seafood, option, a pasta station, and desserts. Overall the quality is mediocre at best. The only positive is the pasta station where I request the chef to cook up a spicy seafood penne arrabiata, which is good enough that I go for seconds.

For a brunch promoting itself as a party venue they are surprisingly understaff and under prepared for the drinks orders. Service is so slow that I repeatedly venture out to the bar in person to refill the table’s mojito jugs. The brunch seems to attract a crowd of young British clientele with an abundance of silicone and botox on display.

Midway through the brunch the staff begins distributing a range of party accessories (hats, inflatable instruments, plastic toys etc.), which the tipsy brunch goers thoroughly enjoy. Drinks service goes from slow to almost non-existent as the staff struggles to cope. Luckily it’s a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly, and the sea breeze blowing gently as we continue to serve ourselves drinks and dance with our newly acquired party accessories.

The organizers pleas to book a table for the after party falls on deaf ears.

Ambiance: 15/20.
Beverages: 5/20.
Food: 10/20.
Service: 10/20
Value for Money: 10/20.
Total: 50%

XL Beach Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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