We love a new brunch and as the Mina a’Salam offering has long been a favourite of ours, we were especially excited when we heard that Zheng He’s, the fantastic Chinese restaurant perched on the waterways of the hotel, was launching a brand new stand-alone brunch.
The ‘Voyager Brunch’ features a sharing menu concept and revolves around the journey of Zheng He himself as he travels on seven nautical explorations. Crossing oceans he reaches areas from Antarctica to the Middle East. The menu stays rooted with Chinese traditions whilst offering new techniques and quirky styles of presentation as he creates flavors from around the world. Delicious dim sum and hand carved duck are a few on the delicious spread.
This is a brunch with a purpose.
Descending down into the traditionally dressed restaurant I challenge anyone not to gasp in awe at this restaurant’s impossibly perfect setting. From the al fresco terrace you’re treated to uninterrupted views of the iconic Burj Al Arab framed by a backdrop of the sandy shoreline and glistening Madinat Jumeirah waterways.
Braving the November midday heat we settled outside unprepared for the feast that was to be bestowed upon us. Zheng He’s is not a party brunch, more a brunch that focuses on the sheer quality (and indeed quantity) of the food, it’s a real foodies brunch, a great option to take visitors to when they are over.
The brunch menu is presented to you and you quickly learn that this brunch is all about revisiting classic, Chinese dishes. Separated into five different courses and more than five dishes to each course, Zheng He’s is a place to arrive hungry.
Excited for a quintessential oriental experience in a region where good Chinese cuisine is distinctly lacking, we began our copycat culinary journey with a range of hot appetizers. From the delicious, spicy Golden Prawns with Chinese Yellow Mustard to the devoured Vegetable Spring Rolls, we knew we were in for a real treat.
One of the many great things about the Zheng He’s Voyager Brunch is that you never feel rushed and with a slightly longer feasting duration than many other brunches in the UAE, you can really take you time, savouring each and every bite that’s infused with flavour.
Next up is Dim Sum – easily our favourite course of any good Chinese meal. We were treated to a selection of vegetable, seafood and chicken steamed dumplings which served our table of vegetarians, carnivores and fish lovers very well.
Following a rather long requested pause (and to squeeze in a few more expertly mixed cocktails – more on these later) a Beijing Duck Master Experience was brought to the table. Lashings of roasted, crispy duck breast was carved table side by the resident ‘Duck Master’ so that we could stuff our hot pancakes topped off with spring onion, cucumber and home-made Hoisin sauce.
Just when you’re starting to think that you couldn’t possibly eat another thing, somehow you manage to summon some inner strength and cast your eyes over a rather generous selection of main course dishes. Here, the brunch really comes into its own.
‘Sichuan’ style Canadian Lobster with spicy Chilli Sauce was the standout dish for its quality, flavour and uniqueness. Lobster at a brunch? We also enjoyed Wok Fried Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce, Crispy Fried Chicken with Oriental barbeque sauce, Steamed Trout Fish in Black Bean Sauce and some obligatory Chinese Greens. To complement our mains we has some Yong Chow Fried Rice and Wok Fried Hakka Style Beef Noodles.
Asian restaurants are not necessarily known for their desert expertise yet Zheng He’s holds their own with a Bamboo Dessert Board for the entire table to share. Traditional Sticky Mango Pudding sits alongside a colourful exotic fruit platter and Lychee Sorbet.There’s even Creme Brulee and a Chocolate Tart for those that like their deserts slightly more mainstream.
Now, a large part of any Dubai brunch is the drinks and Zheng He’s doesn’t disappoint here either. In fact, we were very pleasantly surprised at the selection of both food and drinks in relation to the price.
There’s a well stocked cocktail (and mocktail) selection that features signature drinks such as the Pink Chinese Martini which we might have had quite a few of, for its pure prettiness alone. The Dragon’s Fire Cocktail was enjoyed by the males in our party for its potent combination of Dark Rum and Cinnamon Syrup. What’s more, there are a large selection of wines (including sparkling) and spirits on offer.
Zheng He’s is easily the best brunch we’ve been to in a long time and what it perhaps lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for in the quality of the food and beverage offering, not to mention those instagram-worthy views. It’s very rare that we cite any brunch to be worth the money it dictates but Zheng He’s more than justifies its reasonable price tag.
available every Friday 12pm-3:30pm
AED 495 per person alcoholic package
AED 395 per person non-alcoholic package
AED 250 per child between 4 and 11 years
For reserations call +971 4 432 3232 https://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/madinat-jumeirah/restaurants–bars/zheng-hes/