Yalumba first opened its doors more than 10 years ago at Le Méridien Dubai, the hotel by the airport. Testament to its popularity, despite the boom of Dubai Marina and the neighbouring areas at the opposite end of town, diners never stopped making the pilgrimage down to this Australian restaurant for what’s considered by many to be the happiest brunch in town. That was until it closed for refurbishment.
Finally, this October, after a summer behind closed doors, the venue has revealed its new look. Inspired by its namesake, the Yalumba winery in South Australia, the décor has a rustic vibe with parquet flooring, glazed brickwork, exposed concrete and comfy brown leather chairs.
It’s still a magnet for party people of all ages, and it’s still impossible to get to the bottom of your glass during brunch as the service is so good. As before, instead of offering buffet or à la carte dishes, Yalumba has both. Stroll around to pick and mix pasta, shellfish, roasts, curries, cheese platters, cakes galore and molten chocolate from the majestic fountain, or browse the menu (the dynamite shrimp is my firm favourite).
Signature Dish: Sweet and sour fish, dhs70
Topped with coriander and spring onions, the catch of the day is filleted and lightly battered and dressed in a classic sweet and sour sauce, and served on a bed of rice with crisp peppers and onions
After brunch there’s a three-hour drinks discount, which usually sees all diners turn the terrace into a dance floor – currently the area is awaiting new furniture and bars, and once they’re fitted it will be just as banging as it ever was. Midweek, each night is dedicated to a themed buffet starting from a very reasonable Dhs219 with house drinks, but Friday’s Bubbly Brunch is the one for your bucket list. INFO: Brunch Dhs499 with Bollinger Special Cuvée, selected grape, hops and spirits, 12.30pm-4pm, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, 04 702 2455, firstname.lastname@example.org, yalumbadubai.com