I used to be a prolific bruncher. Fridays would always consist of a jug of margaritas and a lush buffet. Brunch in the Middle East is an art and I was an old master.
But something changed, maybe a desire to get healthier or a realization that I would end up spending Friday nights napping. Maybe I just got old.
Last week the Oryx Rotana asked me to come our of my Brunch Exile to try their new “Tap Brunch” at their popular Cellar restaurant. I was glad I came our of retirement.
This hotel is actually my “local” and to my great detriment I always forget about it and literally drive past it. This brunch told me I should recalibrate my GPS.
Different to other brunches in town, this one doesn’t offer a vast buffet selection.
instead there is a small selection of beautifully presented cold tapas including cheeses, cold meats and seafood (prawns, mussels and crab).
Each dish had a Spanish tinge and was clearly freshly prepared.
Of course I had a vested interest in the cheese selection and wasn’t disappointed with the usual suspects plus a cheeky Machego making up the numbers.
But this is is just the start, each are then offered individual hot tapas. But for me, the real star of the brunch was the main courses, which are meant to be shared. We ordered the paella. I had fully prepared myself for this to be disappointing. This will teach me to pre-judge.
It was stunning – cooked with still a little crunch, the seafood was perfectly cooked. And it even had the “crust” all good paella should have. I stand corrected.
Dessert was a forgone conclusion – churros. Basically Spanish donuts with a chocolate cooking sauce. Made to order, it was the perfect combination of sugar, spice and carbs.
As I have promised to be transparent, I was a guest of the Oryx Rotana and did not pay for this brunch. However, the quality of the food and the exceptional service led by manager Elsa spoke for themselves.
Proof that good things come in small packages.
Tapbrunch, The Cellar, Oryx Rotana
CostL QR 175 (food only) per person and with Unlimited Sangria or Agua de Valencia forQR 275 per person
When: every Friday 12:30PM – 4PM.