Restaurant Review: Brunch at Manzil Downtown

The Backyard Brunch in The Courtyard feels more like an afternoon barbecue at a friend's villa than a formal outing
Restaurant Review: Brunch at Manzil Downtown
The Courtyard at Manzil Downtown offers a traditional Arabian dining experience
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Fri 25 Jan 2019 12:57 PM

Brunches in Dubai, contrary to their advertising, can be  anything but relaxing  experiences. They are often crowded, accompanied by deafening music, throngs of people and an overwhelming variety and amount of food.

At best, this leads to a sensory overload, and at worst, a major and lasting headache.

Manzil Downtown’s Backyard Brunch, however, does not suffer from these ills. As the name suggests, the venue has been designed as a sort of ‘anti-brunch’ and is set in a picturesque courtyard on the ground floor of the hotel, just a few metres from the main entrance. With some shade draped across the top of the al fresco setting, the brunch – as the name suggests – feels more like an afternoon barbecue at a friend’s villa than a formal outing.

When it comes to food, the Backyard Brunch’s approach is to eschew the more extravagant and exotic items one might find on offer elsewhere on a Friday afternoon in the UAE. Instead, the focus is on properly delivering the key items of a varied menu from the Americas, the Middle East and South Asia, along with some brunch-musts such as sushi.

Among the choices on offer when Arabian Business went to give the restaurant a try were favourites ranging from hamburgers and hot dogs to beef skewers, Arabic mezze, hummus and a wide range of other delicacies such as chicken tikka and spit-roasted lamb, in addition to African, Australian and New Zealand classics such as chargrilled corn, boerewors, potjiekos with pap and chakalaka. There’s also a number of sauces with which to spy up the meats and give them a traditional American “smoky” taste. Although the food items may seem fairly standard – there will be something for everyone, and that is the beauty of the Backyard Brunch. Unlike many Dubai brunches, it is very much a family, all-inclusive affair, where one can bring children, co-workers or family members for a quiet, relaxed afternoon. As the name suggests, the occasion is, by Dubai standards, remarkably unpretentious, and the fact that the music is played at comfortable levels means that you will actually get a chance to speak to the people there with you.

A second strength of this brunch is the service – rarely in Dubai have we seen such attentive waiters, who are constantly on standby to ask what other food you might need, make suggestions about your next dish, or simply be friendly and chat.

With the weather in Dubai currently perfect, there’s no better time to take the whole family and go give this one a try. The price is AED345 for unlimited house beverages and AED265 for unlimited soft drinks, as well as AED133 per child. Children up to the age of 5 can dine for free.

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