November 6, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Having only popped into Asia Asia for a quick drink previously (but having heard wonderful things about their food), I was excited to see what their Friday ‘Spice Route’ brunch was all about. Pier 7 in the Marina is a great spot with a fab view and given that I had guests in town, it was the ideal choice (traffic however is a giant pain in the you know what for this area so allow an extra ten minutes transit time!). We enter the lift to the Pier 7 lobby, and despite the elevator telling us we are already over weight limit, we march valiantly onward to consume our body weight in brunch. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta review it.
Three packages are available as per usual – soft at 295, house at 395 and prosecco at 449. The house package will score you three cocktail options in addition to your beer, wine and spirits, and the sparkling package adds prosecco and a traditional bellini. We opted for the sparkling and were glad we did – in fact the delish bellinis garnered so much envy at the table that soon another two diners at our table had upgraded to the prosecco package. Definitely a great way to ease yourself into brunch – though this one isn’t an early start, it’s one of the latest on offer in town, kicking off at 2pm. For those that want to make the most of running errands in the morning (or sleeping off Thursday night’s exploits), this one’s for you.
The wine selection includes rose, pinot grigio and cabernet sauvignon, and add that to the cocktails on offer (Asian negroni, watermelon martini and Aperol spritz) it’s a decent selection drinks-wise. I would have loved to see a chardonnay and some more cocktail options however as two out of the three options were not up my alley (shoutout to some more fruity/herby concoctions please!). There’s also the usual house spirits on offer too if that’s your thing.
On to the food – let me tell you, come with an empty stomach. The menu of options here is, as the Donald would say, YUUUUUUGE. When Asia Asia does brunch, it does it BIGLY. The options are honestly flabbergasting! It’s a fantastic way to taste a wide range of Asia Asia’s offerings…don’t worry though, there are still enough different dishes on the main or tasting menus to entice you back for an evening visit (duck spring rolls, wagyu beef maki, summer gazpacho, spicy bbq veal spare rib, wagyu tartare…never fear, I’m coming back for you!).
Proceedings get off to a great start with a range of raw seafood options – ceviche, sashimi, tartare and carpaccio, and plenty of sushi options – everything under the sun including (hooray!) non-seafood options – chicken katsu and veggie. Pretty bowls of 12 Spice calamari and Shrimp tempura also please the hungry masses, plus the requisite edamame are on offer too (though I’ll admit I like mine cooked a little less).
A trio of piping hot dim sum options arrive next and one certainly stands out from the bunch. The Sweet potato and truffle oil dumpling is spectacular and was so good I had to order seconds, even though there was SO much food on offer – it was worth allocating extra stomach space to this one! I’m still thinking about these delicious and texturally amazing morsels…
The Chicken yakitori and Indonesian satay elicited happy noises from around the table (they’ll provide Japanese mayo for the yakitori if you ask), though the Double fried spicy chicken wings were found by all to be too heavy with too many flavours going on.
After a fantastic parade of starters, everyone is starting to feel well sated – but there’s still mains (and then some) to go! A word of warning – attempting to taste the entire menu (as our large table did) is recommended for expert level brunchers only! Perhaps go for a pre-brunch workout to work up a hunger suitable for the sumo-sized challenge on offer here. Or just tackle half this time and return for round two another time! Mains included Soy butter chicken, Aka miso marinated salmon, Cashew nut chicken, a very very spicy Sweet and sour chicken and my fave by a country mile, the Mongolian beef. As if that wasn’t enough, they come accompanied by noodles, steamed veggies and egg fried rice, just to round things off nicely.
If that’s not enough meat for you, then the Carvery platter should satisfy any carnivorous cravings remaining. In fact, I say don’t miss this one – it surpassed my expectations! A hot plate full of delicious Teriyaki chicken, Slow roasted lamb and Slow braised teriyaki beef should knock your protein macros into the stratosphere while pleasing the tastebuds too.
It’s probably a good idea to balance out all that meat with some seriously good vege options next – I recommend making sure you try the Japanese coconut curry and the Asian chicken salad – a satisfying and fresh sesame/mayo combo. The Roasted parsnip and carrot is pretty amazing too.
After all that, if you have room for dessert I applaud you – but hey, ‘when in Dubai’ right? Dessert comes in the form of a platter and it’s on the tamer side of things – panacotta, sesame and raspberry sorbets, brownies and fresh fruit. These could probably be stepped up a notch to reach the level of the savoury selection, but I understand why this section of the menu has perhaps been a little neglected – most people would surely be insanely full by this time of the brunch. I could really go an espresso martini at this point, so maybe some dessert cocktails could be an option too.
It’s a three hour affair, and you’ll spend most of that time eating – so dress appropriately and avoid tight clothing! I always mention in my reviews that I prefer 3.5 hour time slots as there’s less pressure time wise, but at least here you won’t be wasting your hours going to and from a buffet – the table service is fantastically efficient and we were so well looked after. It’s not a party vibe here, instead it’s a quieter affair in a light and bright setting making the most of that lovely Pier 7 view (make sure you request an outdoor table if you’re set on soaking up the seafaring scenery). I’d actually love to see a night brunch here as for me Asia Asia really comes into it’s own at night – all that bright daylight spoils the atmospheric and moody decor! It would be such a great venue for an evening party brunch so guys, please let me know if this ever comes into being!
The Asia Asia Spice Route Brunch is definitely among the best in Dubai and I can’t see how you could leave feeling anything other than chuffed (well, also stuffed perhaps!). All at our table sang it’s praises by closing time and I’d be more than happy to take it for a second spin. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser that delivers high quality food and service – put this on your must-brunch list, you won’t be disappointed!