Buffets and brunches
I am NOT a buffet or a brunch person. I don't think most people that really love food are that. Buffets are useful for hotels to churn out mediocre food (with the odd wow dish) and it feeds the average diner that wants to fulfil a need rather than really enjoy a meal. Don't get me wrong. I have had some nice buffets (usually at meetings and conferences and the odd corporate dinner) in a good 5-star hotel where the hotel has a reputation to uphold. More often than not, these buffets are for those that want to have a quick meal and are usually from a pre-chosen menu carefully orchestrated for the audience. They do give you the opportunity to see what others eat and, occasionally, try something new.
Some buffets I have enjoyed have been the breakfast buffets (not to be confused with brunch) at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. My friend Carol and I (my brother would occasionally join in) would go in around 7.30 - 8.00am on a Friday morning and enjoy the variety of breakfast options from healthy fruits and cereals to the more decadent "fry-ups" and pancakes. I enjoyed the sneak "Christmas" buffet that the Pullman invited me to last year (just before Christmas) where I did enjoy the quite sumptuous seafood starter spread (my friend and I could not get past the lovely oysters). It was a good one and I would probably have gone back with family except there were so many other things to get done.
As dinner buffet options go, I did visit the Carlton Palace Hotel's Mediterranean theme dinner buffet (on invitation) which had a selective range of dishes from countries around the Mediterranean (surprise). There was quite a lovely moussaka I remember, a stuffed dolma and a live pasta station. It was rather dominated by quite a few Lebanese dishes too but not so many that it became Arabic. Its a business hotel and right in the middle of trade-driven Deira and made perfect sense for a business dinner with out of town guests. Something different from other restaurants around the area and not too taxing on the corporate wallet or the palate either with the option of a glass of wine.
Brunches (shudder) I avoid. Mostly. They are noisy and boozy and not always pleasurable. With two exceptions so far: the Yu An at the Atlantis for their Yum Cha brunch and The Croft. Both for the same reasons. It was about the food and the company. And there was not a buffet or boozy excess around. I love dim sum and the Yum Cha brunch was magical. Each course was served at the table and explained by the server which made it enjoyable and kept the conversation going. Went to The Croft the other day and thoroughly loved the meal.
Went to The Croft to celebrate my friend Susan's birthday and thoroughly loved the meal. Its a set meal served as sharing platters in the centre of the table. The food quality is good and since its a cosy set up, it allows for better conversation which is one of the main reasons for getting together over a meal - even if its spent talking about food.
Here's a quick glance at the photos from the brunch at The Croft. Enjoy. And do share your thoughts here or on social media.