August 14, 2015 by marksetchfield
Since I’ve been in Dubai, I’ve been lucky that many of my friends from the UK have either visited me or stopped over on the way to some other exotic part of the world, and we have made time to meet up. But that does involve choosing places to go to that will wow newcomers. So when I try a brunch for the first time I always ask myself “Would I take my friends here?”. As I entered the cavernous hotel lobby, I immediately knew the answer was a resounding yes.
“Welcome to Le Méridien,” the doorman said, as we were taken over to the brunch area and shown to our table. It was hard to miss the dessert counter, and my friend Alan whispered “I’ll be over there for first, seconds and thirds!” Too right.
Our table, which overlooked a terrace and pool area, was decorated with flowered garlands and party hats, so I knew I was in for a fun afternoon.
Our smiley waiter Vishnu poured us an iced mineral water, explaining that the brunch was a help-yourself buffet and à la carte menu. This was going to be a belt-loosening afternoon, I realised.
The menu is vast, offering a myriad dishes such as seafood platter, lobster thermidor, Olympian breakfast (a huge English breakfast with fried eggs, baked beans, hash browns, sausages and mushrooms), eggs Benedict as well as salmon and creamy mashed potato and king crab legs.
We opted for the seafood platter to share, then I chose scallops served with thinly sliced beetroot, followed by curried crab that arrived perched on a pile of steamed rice.
My friend, who loves cheese, spotted the giant – and I mean giant, it was the size of a tyre – baked Camembert, bubbling away under a heat lamp and surrounded by neat heaps of mini roast potatoes. “Hmm, that looks delicious,” Alan said, taking his eyes off the desserts for a few moments.
The Yalumba brunch is in its ninth year and has grown in popularity to become a Dubai institution. All around us were groups of cheery friends, colleagues, and families, happily celebrating birthdays or experiencing their first Dubai brunch, and the party atmosphere means it’s bursting with a hard-to-beat feel-good Friday vibe.
The menu and buffet just add to this and it was probably the first place to offer hearty traditional English roasts alongside beautifully presented fresh sushi and tiny cherry tomatoes with mini mozzarella served in delicate glasses almost a decade ago.
I went for a wander around the buffet, and it seemed with every step the room was livening up – volumes rising from the DJ booth and chatter ramping up as the brunchers relaxed and enjoyed Abba hits.
My plate piled high with goodies, I almost felt myself dancing back to my seat, the atmosphere was that infectious.
As soon as we cleared our plates Vishnu whisked them away to present us with the menu, signalling it was time to try something new.
My cheese-loving friend eagerly sliced off some of the Camembert, but I was feeling fuller by the minute. So I sat back and enjoyed the party that happens at Yalumba every Friday.
Timings: Friday 12.30pm to 3.30pm
Contact: Call 04 702 2455 or email email@example.com or visit