I had a message out of the blue the other week from one of the girls in a group I used to be really close with. As has happened for a lot of people, we all had our own worries and concerns over covid and had drifted apart. Messages were sent for birthdays and celebrations, and when news filtered though of hardships, but that was the extent really.
It was so nice to hear from her that when she invited me for brunch, I leapt on the opportunity. I will admit to being rather nervous though. It’s strange to meet up with people you were once super close with and basically start again.
Thankfully she chose an awesome venue – Marasi at Hotel Indigo. There was so much going on and so much good food that when the conversation stalled, there was something to get us going again!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning…
I arrived at the venue and immediately caused a bit of a commotion. No, not because of my outfit choice or anything, but because I needed to pay cash! It isn’t the norm at the moment but a friend had paid me back in cash so I figured I would use it. 10 mins later (maybe not that long but it felt it), I had my change and was led to my table. The wrong way. Luckily the girls saw this and called me over. Embarrassment averted!
This little hiccup, plus the world’s most hopeless Careem driver (whose car also smelt like an ashtray) meant that I arrived literally just in time for the first course to be delivered.
And what a course it was! It was huge! A mix of cold meats, cheeses, hummus and vegetables was added to with warm breads and pastries, and a mini quiche or two! It was an absolutely deliciously great start to the meal! I absolutely LOVE things like this. Bits you can pick at so you don’t have to decide on just on dish work really well! You can try it all! And we did! Personally, and for the table, we would have liked a little more of the bread and pastries. We are older than the majority of the clientele, so wanted to enjoy the food rather than just get wrecked. But still, it was really good.
This is probably why the next course (or two) were a little disappointing.
Firstly, the fish course. It came out in a fanfare of music, sparklers, and dry ice! Quiet the vision and made it much more fun than just sneaking over to put more food down. Nearly distracted you from what you were being served. Nearly.
There were 5 small to mid-sized prawns in the prawn cocktail to share between 5 people. While I hadn’t actually checked the menu before things were served so had no expectations, this was a bit of a shock. The real shame of it is that it was perfectly done! The flavour was divine and I would have loved to have had less of the meat and cheese course, and a little more of this. It was just baffling. As was their version of ceviche. I don’t even know how to describe it. Chunks of pre-cooked salmon in a weird cloudy liquid.
We were being wonderfully entertained by an incredible singer, and half the table isn’t bothered by fish, so although perplexed, we left it at that. The drinks were flowing at great speed which also helped.
However, when it was the time for the main course, our disappointment was vocalised to the managers.
The wait staff had bought out the sliders without issue and they were delicious. Packed with flavour and great at soaking up a pool of vodka that had accumulated on top of the cheese and ham first course. Oh, and the one prawn. Can’t forget my one prawn!
But then they bought over a small (like, half portion) of fries for the table to share. That was a bit of a shocker. Who on earth gives a full table a teeny portion of fries, and argues against bringing more!?
Then the skewers were placed on the table.
This is a 5 person portion, apparently. While you don’t need a huge amount of food at this point in the day, it is nice for people to be able to at least have an option of skewers. This was the point at which we asked for more!
Not long after we were brought more of everything. More sliders, a portion of chips each, and another 5 skewers. Finally the Stoli vodka was being soaked up a little! Naturally we poured more on top before heading over to the beautiful dessert tables.
Now, I have to say at this point that I am not a huge dessert fan. Much as I love my chocolates a bit too much, cakes and things don’t really work for me. Also, with a nut allergy I find my options are somewhat limited in most places. I do like a good little look-see at what is available though!
The winner for me to watch was of course the man making ice cream with that really cold stuff that I can’t remember the name for. The one that creates all the smoke! It also made a great photo for the candy floss man!
Taste wise it was the pancakes and the mini donuts that won! I had a couple of bites of other bits, but they were underwhelming and not worth the calories. Given how everyone else at the brunch was digging into them, I was the only one who thought that!
All too soon (or just soon enough?!) the end of the brunch arrived. We weren’t rushed away from our tables, and we could even opt to take a remaining drink (of which there were a few) with us to the afterparty at the bar next door, where the brunch DJ was continuing his winning streak of music for people to dance to.
All in all, for AED 345 for the house beverage package, it was a good deal. Maybe a little bit ‘Saffron’ at times, but it was all in good fun. Next time I will just have to remember to eat something before I go rather than be to busy to eat all day and arrive starving hungry!
P.S. All photo credit to the lovely Karen!