Dubai Diaries: Friday Brunch at Al Qasr

You know the expression, Thank God It’s Friday?

Well, it’s quite a literal one in Dubai where work weeks start on a Sunday and Fridays spell the start of the weekend, kicking off with a Friday Brunch extravaganza.

Stretching out over long and heady hours, these elaborate spreads take the sacred institution of brunch to a WHOLE new level, as I had the recent pleasure of experiencing at Jumeirah Al Qasr’s famous Friday offering

Jumeirah Al Qasr is one of the three hotels that make up the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah resort complex (a fourth is on it’s way), connected by a sparkling blue lagoon that you can cruise along in, in small ‘abra’ boats.

Each hotel has its own identity. Arabic for “the palace”, Jumeirah Al Qasr’s distinctly regal character greets you from the moment you head up the driveway, winding around manicured lawns flanked by gold stallions…



Once inside, the palatial interiors continue to dazzle. Glance up, and you’re blown away by the grandiose chandeliers.



Glance down, and you can’t help but pause and soak in the #IHaveThisThingWithFloors moment.


Brunch is laid out over not one but two of the hotel’s restaurants, Al Hambra (for traditional Spanish cuisine) and Arboretum (the International restaurant), with live outdoors cooking stations serving up a smörgåsbord, from all over the world.

Think barrels of fresh cheese paired with fresh jams and jellies; sizzling paellas and vibrant tapas; street-style eats from Bangkok to India; a revolving sushi belt and ice sculptures filled with freshly caught fish of the day; live counters for Mexican quesadillas and handmade Italian pastas; a shawarma station; eggs made to order; so it goes on… (and we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet).








A bit overwhelming yes, which is why the map to navigate your way through, really comes in handy!

As does a well-thought out strategy – settle down at your table (we were lucky enough to have one on the shaded outdoors terrace, just by the live music and looking out onto the beautiful lagoon!); grab a drink and take a loop around, to mark out what you fancy.

The Aperol spritz bar proved a nice place to start but mind you, there’s plenty else to whet your whistle too with fresh sangria and cocktail stations concocting anything and everything from mojitos to Moscow mules.



There’s even a boat filled with the sweetest coconuts I’ve ever tasted. No wonder – they’re flown in by the thousands from Thailand each week! Crack ’em open, generously top up with Malibu, stick in a straw in and voilà, its officially  a #FriYAY.


Strength in numbers is always a bonus too, making it that much easier to divide and conquer. Between our party of three, I think we just about to managed to do justice to the bountiful feast before us, leaving without that dreaded #FOMO moment.

As they say, a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words so I’ll let these snapshots present all the tasty highlights…









As full as we were, one look at the sweet stations and we mustered up a whole new appetite altogether.


Constantly experimenting and innovating to draw in food trends from all over, the chefs at Jumeirah Al Qasr pull off desserts with a creative aplomb.

Cookies stuffed with candy and MnMs; mini macaron burgers sandwiching thinly sliced brownies and fluffy marshmallows; cake pops and salted caramel liquid nitrogen ice cream… yep. It’s definitely time to dessert the diet, if you haven’t already by this point!




Needless to say we piled our plates shamelessly high…



And then went for seconds. And thirds and fourths. More ice cream followed by the most exquisite chocolates from Valrhona, silver coated almonds and dates wrapped in chocolates, along with all other manners of lovely Arabic sweets!


The hours flew by in a whirl of eats, treats and constant chatter (I was seeing some of my closest friends after months and so conversation was in no short supply either), as we swayed along in our seats (the #foodcoma didn’t allow us to make our way to the impromptu dance floor) to the lively tunes setting the tone of the afternoon!

It definitely made for the most exhilarating start to my stay in Dubai… not to mention, setting the bar incredibly high for all future brunches.


Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Arboretum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was hosted by Al Qasr for their Friday brunch, but as always I hog full credit for my opinions. 

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  1. Andrea Petersen

    I literally cannot believe this!!!! Omg hahahaha, all over a Friday brunch when I go to Dubai next month and it looks like THIS will be where I will be going – holy God, I am going to explode from sushi and COOKIES FILLED WITH SWEETS AND M&M’S?! What is this paradise?! haha. Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea’s Passions

    1. The Foodie Diaries

      OMG Andrea, Friday Brunch at Al Qasr is going to be right up your alley, ESPECIALLY as I know from your recent post that you’re a fan of the coconut life too! Those Thai coconuts were the sweetest, most delicious ones I’ve had 🙂 xxx

  2. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Great, just great – I will never be able to enjoy another brunch ever again having read this!! how on earth can anything ever compare – such a massive choice of sushi, desserts and Thai coconuts?! Basically all my favourite stuff in one brunch! This needs to happen in London, somewhere or somehow!

    1. The Foodie Diaries

      I agree Shikha, this has definitely upped the ante (and HOW) when it comes to weekend brunch! And given its sumptuous setting by the gorgeous lagoon, it definitely felt like being swept up in a foodie paradise 🙂 xxx

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