During the week leading up to visiting Brasserie 2.0, I scouted around my social networks to get their thoughts. Overwhelmingly positive was the feedback and despite me falling a little out of love with buffet brunches over the recent months (hate the wastage, hate the averageness of the majority of it, hate how it’s so hard to review properly as you can only end up sampling 10% of it) I went there with an open mind.
It seemed like I’d entered a dystopian universe when mingling with some of the other “media” guests who were invited. I politely introduced myself to a couple at the table, the gentleman shook my hand and was friendly enough, but his partner looked at me like I’d just stamped on her dog. I watched one influencer sit down at the table, put on her God-awful sunglasses, take a “HALLO HABIBIS AND HABIBTIS PLEASE SUBSCRIBE MWAHHH” video, take the glasses off, pout even further, try again, then get up and leave. Didn’t eat a thing. Two hours later, another motley crew strutted in like they owned the place – more instagram followers between them than the population of the UAE – but only really turning the heads of the other influencers knocking around who were jealous of the extra 100k fake followers they haven’t bought yet. Grim.
I decided that it was probably not the place for me to hang around all afternoon, as I’d start lashing out wildly eventually, so I thought I’d give the food a good old go, sooner rather than later. I starting off with their pizza which caught my eye as it’d come straight from the oven. The top looked good, hence me giving it a go, but the base was a little anaemic – just needed an extra couple of minutes in the oven. The tomato sauce on the pizza was rich and tangy and the cheese was gnarly in a good way.
As well as the pizza, the Indian selection looked appealing when I entered the restaurant, so naturally was next up on the agenda. I took a mix of pani puri, samosa and poppadoms with a couple of chicken and lamb spiced cubes roasted in the traditional ovens. The method of cooking is always a winner to impact delicious flavours and the chicken melted in the mouth, with the tikka spices coming through wonderfully. The lamb though was tough, which was a shame as flavour-wise it was also very enjoyable. The pani puri was delicious, hitting me with a lot more spice than I’m accustomed to at a buffet (a big positive!), the poppadoms were a let down though, very soggy. The samosa was served oddly, shoved in the bottom of a cute, tiny cooking pot, swimming in yoghurt. Obviously, it lost all its crunch from being submerged, but had good flavour nonetheless.
After I’d finished the Indian food, my plate was cleared by the staff and a team-member brought over a platter of freshly cooked fish. Salmon, snapper, another white fish that I can’t remember and scallops. I’m not actually a big fan of scallops but these were fresh and very well cooked, the salmon melted in the mouth and the snapper and other white fish were delicate and delicious. The platter was placed in the center of the table which I offered round to the other diners, but again, was just looked at like “who the **** is this guy” and they missed out on a big highlight of the brunch. Just wait until I drip-buy 100k fake instagram followers over the next 3 months and see how much they pay attention to me then!
Moving swiftly on, a delightfully pink Beef Wellington was the next dish I wanted to sample. It looked extremely well cooked. Unfortunately, I think the chef was using a knife bought from the Early Learning Center and he completely massacred the Wellington part, so was just presented with pretty much a slab of beef in the end. I had it with the mash, the roast potatoes and some mixed veg.
After having a massively disappointing, overcooked Welly at Zabeel Saray’s brunch a few weeks ago (that I couldn’t even muster up the enthusiasm to write about – it’s not worth the price – put it that way), this was a much better take on it. The beef was perfect (albeit not much of the crust remained), the mash was creamy and awesome and even the roast potatoes had a bit of crunch which is very rare, as they usually get steamed to death under a cloche at a brunch. The peppery gravy was also tasty and thick.
The venue does have a very large problem that needs to be addressed though, their flooring is horrendously dangerous. The A/C being on full whack, mixed with the open doors to the outsides make the floor very slippy with condensation. It’s only a matter of time before somebody has a serious accident. I skidded across to the dessert station unexpectedly and just as I did it, one of the servers almost went over with a full tray of drinks.
After my brush with potentially serious injury, I took a safer route back to my table with a sample of desserts. The cheesecake – although baked (I prefer unbaked!), was light and creamy with a generous base, the lemon tart was crunchy enough but just not lemony enough, I had a strawberry cream sandwich that was well-filled and well-prepared and finally a hazelnut construction that was like a deconstructed Ferrero Rocher. It’s worth noting that they do have a stunning array of small dessert bites – they have beautifully lifelike mousses in the shape of the fruits they represent, several expertly crafted cakes and in general, they offer a much stronger selection than your standard brunch offers. I didn’t sample it all, but it should delight who loves desserts visually and taste-wise.
I left with about an hour left of brunch, as I couldn’t take some of the influencers/influenzas (delete as appropriate) any more, but overall I was pretty impressed with the food on show and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to people who value good food at a brunch.
FOOD: 12/15 – For a buffet there was a lot of good quality food on show, the seafood was fresh, the meat cooked well and the desserts expansive and well-crafted. A lot of thought had gone into a majority of the dishes to make them tasty and presentable. There were only a couple of elements that were on the below-average side.
SERVICE: 9/15 – Not the best, didn’t bring me my first drinks order and when a dry-ice ‘spectacular’ came to the table, filled with shots of radioactive-looking liquid, they ignored me and gave the other guests a handful. Obviously the others didn’t share either.
DRINKS SELECTION: 2.5/5 – Standard couple of average beers, average wines, cheap bubbles and standard spirits. Nothing to write home about.
AMBIANCE: 4.5/5 – Very busy, had a live duet singing some hits and all in all, there was a pleasant vibe in the room.
DESIGN: 3/5 – The layout is good in the sense of everything being well accessible and it catering for a many guests without feeling cramped, however the flooring is a huge issue that needs to be addressed before somebody gets hurt.
VALUE: 2.5/5 – 525 AED for house beverages is a little steep as I don’t think they offer a particularly strong drinks selection but to be fair, the food is very good for a buffet. It’s not in The Entertainer thoug and I question whether I’d feel happy about paying over a thousand AED per couple.
TOTAL: 33.5/50 – Good food let down by some sloppy service and high prices. If budget isn’t an issue and you want tasty food with atmosphere, it’s a solid option. All the guests around seemed happy and content with the brunch as a whole – as was I, a particularly fussy soul when it comes to this kind of experience.