With all the recently opened competition in the hospitality stakes across the capital, one could be forgiven for wondering how Rosewood Abu Dhabi keeps the allure of its family brunches alive… well, we can tell you… their world-class offering of Mediterranean and international fusion dishes is second to none, the service is welcoming, vibrant and warm – as is the atmosphere – and all of this is complemented by stunning views of Abu Dhabi city and the glistening turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. Couple this with their expansive al fresco terrace, its newly extended range of live cooking stations, not to mention, the fun, entertaining kids club offering at Rose Buds and you have a pretty pitch-perfect family brunch. What’s not to love?!
As soon as we stepped out of the lift and were warmly greeted by Aqua’s hostesses, we spotted the welcome drinks station and smelt the enticing aroma of Mediterranean cuisine and we couldn’t wait to get started.
There were several large lively groups of families in the throes of a memorable gathering out on the terrace and we were accommodatingly offered a choice of seating. The weather was still a little changeable and dusty, so we played safe and opted for a more secluded table for two in the bright and lavishly designed restaurant, where we could enjoy the floor-to-ceiling window view of the stunning turquoise sea and Abu Dhabi city below. I have always been a huge fan of Aqua’s sumptuously upholstered chairs – if you’re going to sit and enjoy world-class cuisine from 1-5pm, this is where you want to be! So, why a table for two when it’s supposed to be a family brunch? Rose Buds… it’s that simple – the hotel’s kids club have got it covered! Within minutes, our 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were settling in making new friends and eyeing up the colourful dessert corner, whilst I swiftly delivered a selection of children’s main courses from the kids’ club buffet as a prerequisite to the sugar fest they were coveting!
Once they were settled, we headed back to our table where two glasses of premium bubbles were waiting for us – heavenly! After a relaxing aperitif, we made our first tour of the banquet before us. Inside the restaurant we were tempted by beautifully fresh oysters, jumbo shrimp and sushi, but I was particularly intrigued by the sizeable tuna fish that was on display across the buffet counter and the spectacle of the preparation of fresh tuna carpaccio, tuna tartare, tuna ceviche and tuna sashimi. The tuna tartare was so perfectly balanced with a delicate lime marinade that enhanced the subtle flavours of the fish without overpowering it. This was clearly a personal favourite as I have to confess that I had two portions of said tartare! We opted for another round of starters with an exploratory tour of the al fresco live cooking stations, where the foie gras dishes and the Peking duck pancakes were too tempting to resist.
Faced with the typical first world brunch dilemma of too much choice, we attempted to be disciplined and plan our next course carefully. This was made all too easy by simply ordering a selection of perfectly sized portions of various mains to share such as a gourmet burger and grilled chicken from the BBQ and grill station, al dente creamy cheese pasta and a few dim sum on the side. All of these were accompanied by a wide selection of healthy salads and sides from inside the restaurant. Fellow diners were also enjoying a wide selection of meats from the Italian épicerie, fresh smoked delicacies, assorted manakish prepared in firewood and a selection of Asian, Chinese and Indian dishes.
We were also spoilt for choice on the beverage front as a mixologist was preparing a wide selection of signature cocktails to complement the quality offering of premium grape and hop beverages available.
The later finish time of 5pm allowed for a much-needed pause for digestion while we checked on the children, who were having a great time and wanted to come and join us for dessert. The dessert was an experience in itself to enjoy with the children as all the stations are grouped together in a ‘dessert room’ next to Rose Buds, so it felt like a ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ moment! We were able to choose mini portions of chocolate delicacies, fruit mousses, cakes, candies and even my old favourite, apple crumble!
By 5pm, we were truly defeated but extremely content and relaxed. The children had had their fill, so no need for a big tea back home and we could make our way home reflecting on the colourful and stimulating culinary journey that we had just had the privilege of enjoying.
The brunch is a friendly and sociable event and we met some very interesting people from various walks of life, all of whom, were emphatic about the Rosewood Garden Brunch being their favourite in town. I have to second that; we honestly can’t wait to go again.