Leisurely late breakfasts are the weekend’s guiltiest pleasure. But with so much brunch choice available both at home and on holiday, knowing your smashed avo’ joint from your greasy spoon isn’t easy. Introducing Kenwood Travel’s ultimate guide to the world’s best brunches, in which we go doe-eyed for vodka pizza in New York, take a pinch of Phuket jazz and follow foodie trends down under.
The famous one
Bubbalicious Brunch at Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai
Attending a Friday brunch is an essential part of the social calendar for 2017 Dubai holidays. Pre-weekend revellers flock to a host of happening brunch spots where the energy levels can be more akin to a Saturday night out. The darling of the Dubai brunch scene has to be the Bubbalicious Friday Brunch at Westin Mina Seyahi. This much talked-about foodie institution mixes glamour with the clamour of cutlery in a dynamic display of late breakfast dining.
Cuisine from every conceivable culinary crossroads is on offer at the hotel’s three in-house restaurants. Fancy some Asian flavours? Spice Emporium is your go-to for sashimi, sushi and noodles amid seriously impressive interiors. Blue Orange entertains buffet diners with live cooking shows and satisfies eclectic tastes with a range of dishes from Belgian waffles to Arabic mezze. Third but not least is Hunters Room whose authentic grill-house KSP packs a real brunch punch in a cool, contemporary setting.
But the food is only half the story at Westin Mina Seyahi’s Bubbalicious Friday Brunch. A petting zoo, kids club and PlayStation room keep children in the zone while everything from live bands and Chinese acrobats entertain adults at this unique weekly event. Fridays from 1pm – 4pm, but very popular so booking essential.
The pizza one
Rubirosa Ristorante, New York
Where Soho and Little Italy meet along Mulberry Street in the heart of Nolita sits a family-run pizzeria with a secret. Rubirosa lovingly supplies Lower Manhattan with some of New York’s best Italian-American comfort food, but it’s not quite as innocent as it sounds. Its pizzas are laced with vodka.
Don’t worry; they’re alcohol-free and totally delicious. Indeed, neighbourhood regulars and visitors (who gather here for the homely atmosphere and chatty service, as well as unexpected ingredients) hail Rubirosa’s vodka pizza as a Big Apple modern classic. No small kudos in a city that practically bleeds marinara sauce.
On my visit we ordered the sausage & broccoli pizza too, thinking the vodka novelty would require a more conventional support act. Not the case. The sausage & broccoli pizza was immense; dense and gooey with a nice smokiness, but the vodka version was something else. A crispy, creamy treat that was at once sweet and savoury. Difficult to determine the vodka connection though…
Brunch is between 11:30am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays at Rubirosa, and serves a range of comfortingly satisfying dishes from parmigiana paninis and charcuterie boards to braciole hash and ricotta ravioli. But, luckily, management has been kind enough to keep the pizzas on for the brunch crowd too. So when the weekend rolls around on your New York holiday, you know what to do.
The Delaunay, London
Go for the interiors, stay for the schntizels. This Aldwych (relative) newcomer might not yet have the chops to rival its Covent Garden neighbour Balthazar, but its combination of sleek deco design, traditional food and bustling atmosphere in a grand space is a pleasing alternative for the slightly more budget-conscious bruncher.
If brunch for you means eggs, this Austrian transplant has cracked it with a tasty line in classic recipes from eggs Benedict to Arlington. You can even stay on trend with instagramable avocado and eggs on toast, or roll back the years with kedgeree. Buttermilk pancakes, homemade pastries and a full a la carte lunch menu featuring roast fore-rib beef, Carlingford rock oysters and Wiener Holstein schnitzels keeps bigger appetites satisfied, while the Delaunay’s adjacent deli counter, with its mahogany tables, cherry wood newspaper racks and embossed mirrors is a real throwback to Viennese café society – a great place to round off your weekend with a casual bite.
With its slightly longer brunch service, finishing at five o’clock as opposed to the more common four, the Delaunay encourages its patrons to enjoy a more relaxed start to their day, safe in the knowledge their favourite breakfast recipes will still be on the menu. Perfect for anyone feeling a bit tender the morning after the night before. Get your friends together and debrief your night out over a bloody mary at one of London’s best-loved brunch venues. Saturday & Sunday 11am – 5pm.
The one with the view
Sunday Seafood Brunch at Banyan Tree Phuket
For foodies whose holiday to Thailand is a bid to reach the source of Eastern cooking’s favourite export, Phuket is an excellent starting point. Its tropical island climate in the Andaman Sea yields some of the region’s freshest produce, adding that zesty aroma to its local delicacies.
The harmony between Phuket’s natural vegetation and beautiful coastal surroundings is irresistible for those who like to eat brunch with a view. The Phuket brunch spot on everyone’s lips right now is Sunday Seafood Brunch at Banyan Tree Phuket’s Watercourt Restaurant, which ticks both boxes and then some.
This classy rendezvous in Bangtao Beach draws gourmands and party people with a penchant for live jazz and great food. The first thing you notice is the lagoon-side bar and barbeque, before the main buffet area opens out in a modern-Thai ‘sala’ style. Cooking stations dedicated to ceviche, salads, pasta, risotto and foie gras catch the eye while dutiful waiters smile and attend discreetly. And there’s more. With Spanish jamon, Norwegian salmon, Italian prosciutto and Japanese sushi, the bevvy of brunch options takes on a truly international flavour. And the culinary journey continues with dessert pancakes, pastries and ice creams.
But the highlight of Sunday Seafood Brunch at Banyan Tree Phuket has to be the seafood. That’s what you come for. The locally-caught Phuket lobster is served several ways, including Mexican diavola, thermidor and classic garlic butter, but our fave was the Panaeng curry – bursting with punchy Thai flavours. It’s an unbeatable destination-dining experience for those on a holiday to Phuket, and the tiered pricing (depending, for example, on whether you’d like food-only or freeflow drinks) helps with budgeting so there’s no reason not to try it out.
The one down under
The Bathers Pavilion, Sydney
Café culture is at the heart of urban life in Sydney Australia, spearheaded by a clean-eating, eco-conscious young crowd for whom traditional breakfast schedules aren’t important. Leisurely brunch on a sunny Sunday is the thing. And a host of new places-to-be have been popping up in the city to accommodate the popularity of this much-loved meal time. One such place is The Bathers Pavilion on Balmoral Beach which, although not advertising a brunch menu as such, operates a late breakfast daily until 11:45, with lunch beginning at noon offering plenty of brunch-able dishes. Headed up by Serge Dansereau, a chef of international acclaim and pioneer of the fresh food movement, this Sydney hotspot is supplied by local producers to bolster its green credentials.
The pavilion itself has been there since 1929 and the Gatsby-esque grandeur of its jazz-era design is still tangible today, all palm-lined terraces and white colonnades. That it overlooks the pretty bay at Rocky Point does the overall effect no harm either. Healthy breakfast dishes like spiced poached quince with candied citrus, sheep’s yoghurt & puffed quinoa granola rub shoulders with black pudding & fried eggs, so there’s plenty of traditional fare to accompany the lighter options.