Those of you not in Dubai may think that Brunch is a meal that’s not quite breakfast and not quite lunch. Everywhere else in the world you would be correct but not Dubai. Oh no.
In Dubai a brunch is a food and drink extravaganza happening on a Friday for 3-4 hours. There are many to choose from in Dubai and while I have been to a couple where large portions of my life have been wiped from my memory due to excessive alcohol, they weren’t exactly child (and Grandma) friendly.
I’ve read a few reviews on Brunch at Al Bahou which is located in the Movenpick at Ibn Battuta Gate. A fairy tale pink castle inspired hotel overlooking Ibn Battuta Mall which to all intents and purposes doesn’t look like a mall. This huge hotel is my focal point for leaving Sheikh Zayed Road to get to said mall and until a couple of weekends ago I hadn’t ventured near the place.
Then my mum came out to stay over her birthday because Baby Boy arrived and so as a thank you and a happy birthday we took her to enjoy the spectacle that is brunch.
Child Friendly Brunch is an Oxymoron
We chose Al Bahou as it is deemed a child friendly brunch, which we’ve since concluded is an oxymoron with a 2.5 year old toddler terror as for a large portion of time one of you is up away from the table chasing the terror, but I digress and Al Bahou is pretty wonderful.
On our way
We walk in to be greeted by a giant bumble bee, the toddler ran scared at this point and wouldn’t have his picture taken with the bee but would spend the next 2 hours on look out for the bee getting excited when he could see him and wave from a distance. A small photo opportunity where the toddler became a bee and we were then walked through to our table.
On booking when I specified that 2 care free toddlers would be joining us it was noted and restraints highchairs were provided at the table for both of them as well as space for 2 prams. The table was also by the children area and although I wasn’t comfortable letting him roam off on his own yet as he is still only little I was pleased when he was able to go play at the very beginning before older children came in which made it necessary for me and the husband to become hover parents. Our day will come where we have the death defying 6 year old we can let off the leash to run round but it’s not quite there yet despite what the terror may think.
The play area was fairly basic, what more can you expect from a temporary arrangement, with a house and climbing frame arranged on foam mats. Plus the piece de resistance a bouncy castle! The bouncy castle was the best thing since sliced bread and the toddler just made a beeline for it. Again this was easy as it was quieter but as more excited children arrived we again had to keep an eye on him and pull him off, I am sure the terror thinks he’s no only that he is invincible but that he is in fact 6. He is not. But he had a lot of fun trying to run round and bounce with the big boys and girls.
The kids also had their own buffet room, complete with big tv playing cartoons, towards the end of brunch this was where the toddler decided it was time to lie down and have a rest on the floor, great for a tired daddy to sit down and rest his legs. The food in here was plentiful, mini burgers and chips, chicken lollipops, vegetables, through to a lovely dessert mix of sweeties and chocolate lollipops. Toddler heaven. We managed to convince the terror that the chicken lollipops were in fact just lollipops and he ate 3 of these, plus a meatball (on a lolly stick) before demanding the jelly sweeties. Which is more meat than he normally eats. The moral here? Food on a stick is so much better.
Speaking of food, the. Adult buffet you wee also spoilt for choice. Selections from the Indian station (butter chicken), the Chinese station (dim sum and honey roasted duck), the Italian station (pizza), the roast dinner station (I was too full when I found it), the sushi station (not my cup of tea but one of our party tried oysters), and the pork and cheese room (salami and brie hello!) A wonderful array of pudding lay on the dessert room from fresh fruit to warm puddings (sticky toffee pudding!) To macaroons and ice cream.
Whatever your taste buds fancied there was a little bit of everything.
And there was wine. Waiter served and ordered by the glass you never needed to have an empty glass. I have missed wine so could have gotten easily excited as I have on many a (messy memory loss inducing) occasion. I am happy to report that I didn’t and alongside the wine a steady stream of soft beverages was consumed. Normally at Brunch I’ve found that you struggle to get soft drinks served as the focus is on the alcohol, I am pleased to report that this is not the case with Al Bahou.
As it got close to the end of brunch, the Toddler was becoming tired from no nap and excitable in general. At this point the husband took him for a general run around and came back not with a toddler but a tiger raaaaaaaa.
Tiger selfie – grrrrr
My only criticism is the lack of baby changing facilities in the hotel. We were reduced to changing on the toilet floor. Not so bad for the Toddler who could stand up but not great for baby boy, or my back for that matter!
We came out of brunch, full, happy and red in the face in the case of the toddler from running round. All in a lovely family brunch to go to, though in our case we might leave the Toddler home next time so we both get to sit at the table and chat instead of one of us running round like a mad thing!
Disclaimer; I am in no way affiliated with Movenpick and received nothing in relation to this post. I only wanted to share our experience of brunch with children.You can follow our adventures from the sandpit (and beyond) over on Facebook, see you there!