Brunches at Atlantis are as legendary as the hotel itself, and include events at culinary giants such as Nobu, Bread Street Kitchen and Hakkasan. I hadn’t even heard of Saffron till I got invited to a boy’s brunch there. The restaurant is massive and set-up like a club where you pay at the door (a whooping AED535 per head) in return for which you are given an entrance wrist band. There is a strict 21+ age policy so expect to be asked to produce ID if, like my son who accompanied me, you look your age. If it’s your first time, be prepared for a little shock and awe as you walk in because there are very few venues in Dubai which have this sort of a clubber’s vibe…in the day.
On the F&B side, let me give you some numbers, there are no less than 20 live cooking stations (yes 20!) and you have over 220 different dishes to choose from – talk about an overkill. Okay, so much for quantity, what about the quality you ask – pure Atlantis five star – everything is top, top, top notch. Stand outs for me were the pork, seafood and Chinese sections. The pork section was the best I have seen anywhere and included favourites such as spare ribs, really good quality sausages, roast ham and crispy half inch slices of pork belly to name a few. The chilled oysters at the seafood section were small but fresh and fleshy. Unlimited prawn cocktail? Yes please.
But stuffing your face isn’t what this brunch is about. It’s also about drinking! And dear-O-dear it doesn’t disappoint in that area either because, in addition to being able to order unlimited amounts of basically whatever you want, there are nearly a dozen drinking stations to order from as well. Jack Daniel’s, Havana Club, Corona, Jägermeister, Tequila Omega and Jamerson all had their own stations. In between these you have stations with watermelons filled with vodka, piña coladas and many, many more just sitting there waiting for you to stagger up, pick up and stagger on. I have never quite seen anything like this in Dubai, anywhere for that matter.
The music at Saffron has the boom boom beat of a club, the DJs judging the mood perfectly, turning up the tempo as the afternoon progressed. Our table was right in-front of the DJ’s booth. It turned into a dance floor towards the last hour – crazy. If you are there to party, there are no tables in the house better than those immediately in-front of the DJ’s booth. Sit further back if you don’t want to be directly in the party zone. The crowd is young, mainly British with a girl to guy ratio of something like 3:1. I reminded my son as we walked in, what happens at Saffron, stays at Saffron. Yeah, it can be that kind of a place. But it’s also a family place.
The Friday brunch at Saffron is an event like no other I have been to in Dubai, and I have lived here since 1990. In fact, I can’t think of a single brunch I have been to which has been more fun (and yes, that may be because I don’t get out much anymore). AED535 may seem excessive but believe me, it’s not. Not when you consider…um, everything I’ve just written about. In the words of an Indian friend of mine, it’s simply mind-boggling. Saffron is a venue you can have fun with your buddies as much as with your family. It’s up to you. And when you’re done, there’s the after party at Nasimi next door…
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.