September 7, 2016 / 1 Comment
I’m always on the look out for a new and unique brunch – so when I heard about the Departures Brunch, an airline themed Friday feast, it was the perfect excuse to finally take Dusty’s for a test drive.
I spend a lot of time on airplanes, so I was keen to check out how Dusty’s have translated the sky high experience into a Dubai brunch. It’s off to a good start when you enter through a security detector, read a list of in-flight rules, and are welcomed by airline uniform clad staff. However save for an inflight trolley that passes through the tables with a game that can win you free punch shots (aren’t most drinks unlimited at a brunch anyway?) and discount vouchers for future brunches, the theming stops there.
I’ll say though, the bright red airline uniforms work rather well with the dimly lit yet colourful, moody yet vibrant interior at Dusty’s. When you see a celeb-style back wall mural featuring none other than Kim Kardashian, you know this is a place that likes to have fun. The staff who attended to us certainly did a great job of translating the atmosphere into upbeat, friendly service, just the way I like it. The venue is a bit of an unusual, long and skinny shape so our table was in the main thoroughfare from the kitchen – it did feel a bit like we were seated in a corridor at times. On the whole though, a cool venue. There’s an outside area too that looks fab, but is currently closed for summer. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like when winter comes!
This brunch is essentially an open menu a la carte brunch – fantastic if you’ve been wanting to try a wide range of what Dusty’s has to offer. Not all servings will be the same size as if you were ordering the same dishes at a regular service, but you can reorder to your heart’s content so no worries there. Makes for less wastage too which we like. There’s more than enough on the menu to keep you busy for the entire duration of the three hour brunch. I’ll say it again though, I still feel three hours makes the experience feel too rushed and 3.5 would be more relaxing.
There are some cocktails on offer, but no whizz bang presentation or flavours here – they left me underwhelmed in general so I quickly moved on to wine. On the plus side though, as I wasn’t keen on the white wine on offer, they kindly let me substitute Chardonnay for Sauvignon Blanc (it’s around the same price on the menu). I’d suggest that they broaden the wine selection to include at least this option to make for happier punters, and maybe get more creative with the cocktails.
We kicked off proceedings with a round of classics – truffle fries, beef carpaccio and burrata. These are some of my all time faves, so I was rather chuffed to see them on the menu. I loved the carpaccio and burrata – the burrata is a small serving (and there aren’t any accompaniments in the bread department that come with it, so order separately if that’s how you like it), but as I mentioned you can order as many repeats as you want – so burrata lovers, go nuts if you can fit it in! The truffle fries were good but I can always use the truffle turned up a notch, a side of truffle mayo would do the trick. I probably could have just ordered these dishes over and over again, but in the name of research we marched onwards to sample more of the menu.
Carrying on the beef theme, the Wagyu sliders can be ordered in a multiple of your choosing, and were pleasant enough, though a little simple – I’d love a little bit more going on in the slider to add more flavour.
The dish of the day though has to go to the fillet steak – the right size, cooked to medium rare perfection, simply dressed with a rocket and parmesan salad and bearnaise sauce. Scrumptious and spot on. I ate the whole thing.
We took a quick detour to the Asian side of proceedings with the chicken satay, coconut rice and peanut chicken salad. The chicken satay were juicy and delicious, but the peanut chicken salad was bland – this one was a miss, stick to the satay I say. The cheesy bread was also another rare miss, being just rather stodgy and soggy. Something crispier would have been more palate pleasing.
We even squeezed in some carbs – mushroom risotto to be precise. It tied with the steak as dish of the day, but apologies, I’m not posting a photo – it’s rather unphotogenic. Grey brown goo in a red bowl just doesn’t make for a beautiful snap. In my opinion, red plates never work. NEVER. Don’t be put off by that terrible description though (sorry), it’s really lovely, taste-wise anyway! I’d recommend they change the plating though. Oh, and order it with the steak – they compliment each other nicely. And maybe this is a good time for another order of truffle fries too…
Dessert takes up a much smaller section of the menu compared to the wide range of savoury offerings, but there should be enough there to please. We tried the trio of creme brûlées – classic, coconut and coffee. Have to say the coffee was my fave, and these were fab. Our other desert was a whopper and designed for sharing – the Candy Station. A chocolate fondue pot with plenty of dip-able treats (plus yummy choc-coated cake pops), this is not one for the faint hearted – or for those with heart problems! It’s a serious sugar hit, and does a good job of filling in for the usual Dubai buffet brunch chocolate fountain station.
As far as music goes, it’s 90s pop hip hop through and through. Not hugely my cup of tea, but if this is your jam you’re going to love it. Food on the whole is tasty and really enjoyable, with many dishes that really satisfied – but it’s also pretty safe both in menu composition and plating.
Dusty’s Departures brunch is definitely a dependable choice for great food at a good price and I don’t think anyone in your party will leave dissatisfied – they do the classics well and it should please a wide range of tastes. If they want to really make waves on the Dubai brunch scene however, I’d like to see them turn everything up a notch – some special dishes and cocktails for brunch, and elevated plating in both the food and mixology department. I’d also like to see them have more fun with the theming throughout the brunch – apart from the costumes, the theme was pretty much forgotten as the brunch wore on.
Would I return? Sure! The burrata, steak, carpaccio and risotto would be on my hit list for sure. At 350dhs for house beverages, this brunch is a winner.