About three years ago, I went to my first bottomless brunch in London. I still remember how glorious it was, sitting down with friends at the South Place Hotel and discovering a perfectly legitimate excuse for day drinking.
Excited by the economics of fixed prices and unlimited refills for a set period of time, I wanted every day to feel like Sunday morning. Every Bloody Mary to taste like 'I'll be texting you later'. And every soup to actually be vodka.
"How could this ever get old?", I thought to myself as friends spilled the most unimaginable secrets. However I'm saddened to say that it has. London, you have ruined brunch and I want you to sit in a corner and think about what you have done.
Brunch is no longer a special or exciting occasion. Restaurateurs have been trying to cash in without respecting the art that's involved. Legitimately good brunch offerings have began to fade as management are increasingly less generous on the pour.
Bottomless brunch in London is now a mediocre, overpriced experience and it hurts. I genuinely feel a loss for brunch that's greater than the death of Nana Moon in Eastenders. RIP bottomless brunch.
So you can imagine my reluctance when a friend recently relocated to the UAE and added brunch to my visiting itinerary. "What's the point, I'm over it now, bottomless whatever," I messaged her on WhatsApp.
"No, you have to try it!! Brunch is still a thing over here", she insisted. I conceded, but boy am I glad that I said yes! Dubai has opened my eyes to a whole new world of brunch.
Starting at the Blue Marlin Abu Dhabi, gone were preconceptions of 90 minute to 2 hour time limits. Now I was basking in three hours (yes, three hours) of unlimited cocktails (yes, cocktails) coupled with countless plates of grilled food and an attendant on the beach (yes, an attendant!).
And it doesn't stop there. My Middle Eastern brunch experiences warmed up considerably due to 'night brunch' at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi (and the weather!). 'Night brunch' similarly lasts for three hours, but this time it involved a tapas dinner in a bar / lounge with unlimited spirits and mixer until midnight.
It's basically one big massive party as Dubai allows you to brunch in the day and brunch through the night. I wasn't even able to sample to other staples in the UAE brunch scene - Saffron at The Atlantis, Rotisserie at The Ritz-Carlton, and Bubbalicious at The Westin - so I'm actually excited about the brunch-related possibilities once again.
So this isn't a blog of mourning, but a blog of optimism. Brunch lovers, if you're willing to (quite literally) go a bit further afield, I can safely say that brunch is back on the agenda.