Location: Souk Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai Mall
AED 295 (Inclusive of Soft Beverages)
AED 395 (Inclusive of Alcoholic House Beverages)
“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet”
—Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley
For my 3X birthday celebration, I was in search of a brunch that would offer my friends & family good food, good drinks, and good vibes. Despite a plethora of brunches in Dubai, it is difficult to find a brunch that ticks all the boxes (you can make it near impossible by adding an outdoor venue to your requirements).
I had dined at Ting Irie early in 2016 when they first launched and was impressed with their food & venue. It took them a lengthy amount of time to obtain their liquor license, but I was very happy to discover that they launched a brunch, and settled on a Jamaican celebration.
I typically like to first test a brunch in a small group (4-8 people) before inviting a large group there (35 people!) to avoid any disappointments, so I was a tiny bit nervous to throw the party here, but listened to “don’t worry be happy” and just went for it (the song is by Bobby McFerrin people, not Bob Marley as is commonly thought).
The #InSearchOfBrunch crew began to trickle in slowly and wearing a wide array of headgear (it was mandatory to wear a hat for this brunch). We ordered bowls of rum punch to be shared, which was hands down the best punch I’ve had in Dubai (Hint: they use both rum & vodka in the recipe). The only other cocktail they made was a Mimosa. Thank god for the rum bowls as the bar service was spectacularly slow.
The food menu which is served as a large platter for sharing included: eggs Benedict, lobster, oxtail buns, jerk chicken, fried chicken, steak & eggs, stuffed tomato, potato hash, sweet plantain, and salad. Our table (which was the largest by far that day) was served last, as the staff wanted to wait for everybody to arrive before serving. This meant everybody was really hungry & cranky by the time the food arrived. Overall the food was delicious and I particular enjoyed both versions of the chicken, the oxtail buns, and the lobster. Unfortunately the complains begin to arise because of poor execution: the kitchen did not serve some of the items listed (steak & eggs), ran out of certain items when we asked for second (lobster), and made us wait an unreasonable amount of time for seconds. Our request for seconds took an unbearably long time to arrive, which caused frustration. Although I understand that managing a table of 35 is challenging, however; the staff did know in advance and should have been prepared to serve us better (perhaps abandoning the platter concept & serving us dishes as soon they are ready, or serving us big plates of each dish ‘family style’).
Although the service was extremely inefficient, the kind staff did their best to keep up with our demands. The majority of staff (including cooks) hails from Jamaica, which adds a genuine vibe of authenticity to the place. The DJ played a cool mix of reggae music, but disappointedly refused my friends requests for some Latin songs (Yes, another one of those annoyingly arrogant “No requests” DJs- but I’ll save that rant for another post).
Despite the many shortfalls we had a really good time, but given the price tag, Ting Irie need to urgently sort out their teething issues.
*Carlitos Tip: add a quality reggae band to the brunch, as this city is seriously lacking good live music.
Value for Money: 10/20.