When any of my friends visit Dubai for the first time, apart from the usual tours of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, I insist that we set aside an afternoon for a typical Dubai Friday brunch. Over the years, I have visited my share of brunches but so far hadn’t managed to make it to one of Dubai’s classics – Spice Island.
Spice Island is located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Deira – previously known as the Renaissance Hotel. Don’t be scared off by the Deira location – it’s a quick drive using Maktoum Bridge (take the underpass towards Abu Hail/Corniche) and take a left onto Salahuddin Road.
The hotel doesn’t match up to the flashy exteriors of Al Qasr or the Park Hyatt, but it does have the old charm of Deira. The staff were extremely welcoming and sat us down at a table in the middle of the Mexican-themed restaurant. My fellow diners at this brunch included a very picky vegetarian and myself with a newly diagnosed gluten, lactose and egg allergy.
The brunch consists of several stations, including Mexican, Indian tandoor, Sushi/Sashimi and my favorite – Mongolian BBQ. The stations were well-placed with placards and had a great selection but wasn’t so overwhelming that it took 15 minutes to walk back to my table. There is an option for all dietary restrictions and the food all seemed fresh and was consistently refilled. Perhaps the only thing that left me a little underwhelmed was the dessert station. I missed the presence of a chocolate fountain but made do with a very rich Chocolate Souffle instead.
The crowd was mostly filled with families – thus no signs of overcrowded tables full of empty drink glasses or plates of wasted food. The children were also sufficiently entertained thanks to a magician/juggler and face-painting booth. If you fancy a little more privacy, they have a mini cabana for up to 8 guests.
Spice Island is surprisingly refreshing from the usual Dubai brunches. Most of the other ones will see the crowd degenerate by 3 pm thanks to the unlimited alcohol. Spice Island has a family-friendly crowd who have decided to venture out for a good meal at a great price.
What: Spice Island Friday Brunch
Why: A family and budget-friendly brunch
Where: Crowne Plaza Deira, Tel: 04 262 5555
AED 179 per person with unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages;
AED 239 per person with unlimited food, liquor, beer and wine;
AED 299 per person with unlimited food, premium liquor, beer, and wine
Pros: Budget and family-friendly
Cons: Average selection with a dessert station that could use improvement
Rating: 4 stars
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