Fridays bring an exceptional thrill to Dubai residents of all sorts and kinds. There is the jumaa, there is homemade mutton biriyani, there are barbeque plans, parks and malls, Friday markets and brunches. Ah, brunches. Four-to-five hours of uninterrupted munching and gulping of delicious food and delightful spirits respectively. Cuisines of the world converges under one roof to bring to you flawless dishes, that can make you burp in satisfaction while its creators in the kitchen smile with pride. Jeez, what’s not to love about Friday brunches? Particularly, the ones that give you a gastronomical experience worth every penny you pay and then some more.

I’m referring to the Shangri-la Friday brunch which they cutely don’t-call-it-a-brunch. I was informed that the marathon (read: brunch) starts at 12.30pm and finishes (read: tables close, but you can laze some more with your loaded plate) at 4pm. Armed with this powerful information, the FoodKisser family arrived at the warzone around 1:15 pm. Ofcourse, one look at the buffet tables, and we immediately regretted our 45 minutes late start (damn that snooze button on the alarm clock!). Never the less, we got hold of a comfortable table, parked the baby pram and set to work!

Zone 1 was Bread and cheeses. A match made in heaven, there were too many good-looking breads and exotic looking cheeses for my focus point to bear! Like a poorly trained athlete who lacked any strategy, I hopped from Emmental to Gouda, bagels to buns and back again! The husband knew my weakness. He gently guided me away from the Cheese section, promising a platter with a slice of each type, if only I would go ahead and take some actual food. I was no fool to decline such an offer. I walked on.

Ahead, I stopped to marvel at the display of greens in the salad section. With a selection of dressings nearby, the leaves looked fresh and inviting even to a hard-core carnivore as myself. There were Olive oils, tahina, Hommus, olives and the whole Arabic bandwagon looking its healthy, authentic and delicious self. Placed close, were Crab, Shrimp and Lobster cocktails that easily found its way to my plate.

The seafood section was a world on its own. And an enticing world at that! Fresh mussels, king prawns, clams and other bounties of the ocean were piled upon crushed ice for one to choose from. I requested for mussels and fell prey to greed’s work and ordered some grilled prawns as well. Both were deliciously prepared and fresh as could be.

The main courses section was a pleasure to walk by. It began with the Egg plant tart with spicy tomato sauce, went on to the soups of the day and a selection of salmon, lamb chops, beef ribs, kebabs and tikkas to be cooked to your fancy.

To quell any more qualms a meat lover might have, there were beautifully carved Roasted turkey with chunky root vegetables and cranberry sauce, melt-in-the-mouth Slow roasted beef strip loin with potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and Baked salmon with grilled mixed vegetables and Jacqueline sauce.

The corner of the table was taken by Italian goodness. Garlic roasted potatoes and pastas were seen, but I did miss my favorite lasagna. Thankfully, my disappointment was short-lived. There ahead, a table called upon me with dim sums of various shapes and fillings! A plate was promptly loaded and later rightly wiped clean.

Sushi was not my thing. Quite unsurprisingly, it was my husband’s. And was he excited at the Japanese sushi and sake counter! The excitement and his satisfaction after downing the above combo were so infectious, that I HAD to let go of my inhibitions, and give it a try. Confession- Ms. Foodkisser is a freshly converted Sushi lover. Sake…ermm..maybe not!

Did I tell you about the Margarita machine wonderland and the “dirty” strawberry margarita it gave out? *hick* Maybe you should just sip it to believe it!

If you thought that was it, well, you can’t be more wrong! Catch the lift, go up to the first floor and you have Shang Palace and Hoi An, another couple of Shangri-La restaurants to your service! Get a taste of their Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine respectively, from their selected offerings to the Dunes Café brunch. Hoi An was including the Chicken Noodle Soup that day while Shang Palace was proudly showcasing their Noodles and crispy Duck rolls. However, what really captured my attention, was the live dessert-making session. Expert hands were filling decadent chocolate on top of millefeuille, eclairs and cupcakes. Who could possibly resist that? So, I came downstairs with a plate of sin!

ps: It didn’t quite make sense to go up to the first floor just to try out a soup from Hoi An. Hopefully they offer a more wholesome dish next time.

If you are a reader of my blog, you would know what good desserts does to me. The dessert section at Shangri-La Dunes Café brunch, made my legs melt like jelly. The presentation of cupcakes, eclairs, tarts, mousses, macarons, parfaits and cheesecakes took my breath away…possibly to the wilderness of extreme sugar high, no complaints! For the sober guests, there were cut fruits, sorbets and Arabic sweets, while the outrageous could indulge in cake pops, marshmallows, chocolate fountain and meringues. What did I have? Hah. I’m the shameless FoodKisser, remember? Yes, a bit of that and a bit of this, making it EVERYTHING!

Food Coma is something you can affiliate to Dubai brunches. Especially when the spread includes world-class dishes that you just cannot walk past without taking a bite off, no matter how stuffed you are. Shangri-La’s “We don’t call it a brunch” was served to us with style and smile, a great combination to fuel the appetite. So here’s to a Friday well spent in airy, pleasant ambience, with delicious, hearty food, in the company of attentive and friendly people. What would I change in my “We don’t call it a brunch” experience next time? Taking care to grab a plate at 12.30pm sharp, that’s what!

Shangri-La “We don’t call it a brunch” pricing story:
AED 299 – per head with soft drinks.
AED 399- per head with a selection of premium beverages (including the mean margaritas!)
AED 499- per head including Champagne.

Shangri-La Hotel is on the Sheikh Zayed Road and can be reached for reservations at 04- 343 8888. I was honored to be invited as a guest to try out the Friday brunch and couldn’t be happier with my experience!