Brunch review: Hotel Cartagena, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel
Here at Ahlan!, we’re already massive fans of Hotel Cartagena. And who can blame us? Thanks to its quirky and colourful décor, incredible city views, upbeat vibe and flavoursome food, it’s become one of our favourite venues in all of Dubai.
If you haven’t been yet (you’re missing out), let us fill you in. The hotel-themed restaurant “unfolds a fictitious tale”, told by its protagonist, Mrs Buendia. In her kitchen, Mrs Buendia cooks up dishes described as “Latin without borders”. It’s billed as being “eclectic” and “bohemian” and it promises to “provide every guest with reprise from the chaos of the world we live in today”.
Today, we’ve returned to Hotel Cartagena to finally try out its brunch offering. Located on the 72nd floor of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Business Bay, the venue practically has 360 degree views of the city. On arrival we first circle the space, taking in the views while snapping photographs. We’ve previously only been at night, and the daytime views are even more spectacular.
Brunch kicks off with guacamole and tropical root chips, followed by delightful, petite mushroom and cheese empanadas, which are carefully flavoured. The ropa vieja selection, stuffed with juicy braised beef cheek and chipotle, are a treat, and the curls of sweetcorn, dusted with shavings of manchego, are also a firm favourite.
For fish lovers, there is an impressive sushi selection consisting of spicy tuna rolls and mixed mushroom maki, sea bass ceviche and tuna poke.
The mains are meaty with braised short ribs, juicy grilled prawns and a truly triumphant Trinidadian guava chicken which tastes exceptional. In fact, almost all the food here is superb – even the mini sweets that are served up in another, smaller golden birdcage are tasty and great for sharing.
Fabulous food aside, it’s worth noting that the venue’s entertainment is another highlight. We love the beats provided by the live drums and the talented dancers who strut their stuff throughout the restaurant in their elaborate feathered costumes – it creates a lively Latin atmosphere that is hard not to get caught up in.
Well done, Hotel Cartagena. We’ll certainly be checking in to your “hotel” again soon (read: we’re coming back for brunch!).
INFO: Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages). 1.30pm-4.30pm, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, 04 560 1799