Place: JW Marriott Marquis (Garden Restaurant)
– AED 395 including soft drinks, house beverages
Timings: 1pm – 4pm
“The Wanderlust has got me… by the belly aching fire”- Robert W. Service
Hosted on the 5th floor of the JW Marriott, the brunch offers both indoor seating (in the Garden Peruvian Restaurant) and the outdoor terrace. The brunch boasts about their 10 cooking stations and 360 different dishes. I did not count the dishes, so I cannot confirm.
The food is basically Mediterranean plus Peruvian and is displayed as follows:
- Italian Room: made to order freshly made ravioli is the highlight here
- Breakfast & French Station: poached eggs, roasted veal, French stews.
- Open Kitchen (Peruvian): hands down the highlight of the brunch, which should be expected as Garden is a Peruvian restaurant after all. Walk through the open kitchen and try the empandas, papa rellena, anticuchos, lomo saltado. Also try the fried chicken with your choice of hot sauce.
- Seafood ‘Sanctuary’: oysters, crab, prawns, mussels, octopus- I have had much better in terms of quality. A variety of ceviche’s which are good- but to be perfectly honest not at the same level of when I’ve previously ordered it at the Garden for dinner. Sushi is available too.
- BBQ Station: lamb, beef, chicken grilled traditionally and Indian style
- Curry Station: Thai curries served over rice in a martini glass. The curries were too sweet for my palate.
- Candy Shop: large selection of chocolate based treats, cakes, fruits, ice-cream, and crepe
Although the overall quality of food is good, I believe it can significantly improve if they focus more on their core dishes, and eliminate many of the so-so dishes.
The Beverage stations are:
- Wine Bar: One option of red, one option of white, one option of rose. Mediocre wine at best.
- Beer (Fosters!- read my Fosters rant in the Mcgettigan’s review)
- Smirnoff Vodka Mule station- by no means the best mule I’ve had, but I did enjoy those copper cups
- Jose Cuervo Margarita station- frozen margarita made using the Jose Cuervo pre-mix. I am not a fan, please make real margaritas. Jose Cuervo may be the world’s bestselling tequila (over 30% market share), but is far off from being anywhere close to best tasting
- Jim Beam Station – bourbon (which is sweet) mixed with coke (disgustingly sweet) results in an awful drink
- Rum station- serving you rum in a coconut. I’ve seen this across many different brunches now. Perhaps one brunch will dare to be original & attempt a good rum cocktails (tiki puka puka anybody?)
- Tanqueray Gin Station- unfortunately they mix it with some horrible fruity soda
- Jägermeister shot station- jagerbombs anybody?
The brunch is designed for fun. Trays are provided for guests to walk around selecting from the wide variety of dishes on display. Eight different drink stations makes it quick & easy to get a drink. Staff walk around offering guest’s tequila and Jägermeister shots throughout the brunch. A DJ plays tunes throughout the day, and the guests are ushered straight into an after bunch at 4pm where the music continues pumping.
My only grievance with the brunch is that they unfairly penalize non-drinkers by not offering a non-alcoholic package. Although I understand the reasoning is probably to avoid cheaters from paying for the non-alcoholic package and then sneaking in drinks from their friends, it still does not justify the AED 395 price tag without alcohol.
Value for Money: 15/20.