It’s the newest kid on the brunch block and is definitely setting tongues wagging with its ‘tongue-in-cheek’ approach to Dubai’s brunch scene.
Located at the swanky new China Grill at The Westin, it runs alongside the more family friendly ‘Bubbalicious’ upstairs. China Grill is a vast restaurant set over two floors in the basement of the palatial popular hotel. With an upstairs lounge area and a cavernous restaurant beneath, it’s reminiscent of a nightclub, however, it feels anything but dingy. The ceilings are as high as the music volume so it’s definitely not a brunch to bring your little ones to, despite the playful touches.
The focus of TOY is fun and lots of it. Giant pandas an tigers (of the fluffy nature) greet you at the door and as you are ushered in for pre-drinks (a selection of house wines) you can perch your expectant derrière on one of the many lounge seating areas complete with childhood games to get you in the mood. Let’s go fishin’ anyone?
From the offset this brunch is very clearly a party brunch and groups of unsuspecting holidaymakers looking for a relaxed afternoon all-inclusive look decidedly out-of-place. The dress code is glam-as-you-can although the atmosphere is somewhat more sophisticated than some of the other Dubai brunches, keeping in tone with The Westin’s demeanor. That doesn’t mean that it’s by any means refrained. It’s not.
It’s also not your standard buffet brunch which makes for a pleasant change. A 14 course Asian inspired feast is what you get. Small sharing dishes such as chicken satay skewers, sushi and dim sum arrive at your table (if a little slowly at first) and two options for main courses (duck pancakes and Wagu beef cubes) being self-service. Once the brunch gets in full flow the dishes come with it and in abundance, the good thing is you can ask for as much as you like. The dishes work well for smaller groups but for larger parties we can’t help feeling you might go a little hungry. The food quality is to the restaurant’s high-quality standard and is impeccably presented, something that a lot of brunches fall short on when catering for large parties of demanding brunchers. Drinks come in two options: house beverages and bubbly bottle service. If you opt for the later expect sparklers, expect noise and expect bottles served to you in a custom-made Lamborghini (a toy sized one of course!), it’s a kitsch touch that seems to get the party started and the revelers in the mood. The selection of house beverages however is large enough to keep even the most seasoned brunch-fiend happy, with cocktails, spirits and wines galore. Each table is given ice buckets to keep their bottles fresh and filling your glasses is something that is definitely not slow with attentive service seemingly under the instruction to ‘show the diners a good time’.
After your three-hour feast you are invited upstairs into the lounge area once again for desert and entertainment to continue the party if you should wish. If you can even make it up the stairs this is a great addition to the afternoon and is a welcome offering for those not quite finished playing. It’s worth noting that if it is a special occasion you’re celebrating and want to organise a cake or similar, you have to inform them in advance as on the day requests cannot be catered for.
All in all TOY does what it says on the tin, yes it’s trying hard to be something different but its concept is good enough to achieve it and what ‘adult’ doesn’t love an excuse to unleash their inner child for a day.
A pricey brunch that’s great for smaller groups and adults who want to play.
Invite your friends to Join the Party from 4 – 6pm
Big Boys Toys (Bottle Service) – 450 AED per person
Ultimate Playground (Champagne) – 550 AED per person
To reserve your table call 04 511 7333