Brunch is serious business in Dubai. It’s not a late breakfast – oh no – brunch is a meal that can take up most of your day! It’s breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner all rolled into one and if you’ve got kids in tow, you need to make sure that wherever you pick is going to keep all of you happy!
I’ve never gotten the hang of the brunch thing (so much food and too little time – not a winning combination for this mama), most of my most recent experiences have actually been quite stressful. My kids are still young so need an eye on them constantly, I have permanent plate envy (why is it that everyone else manages to find the one thing you’d love to eat?), and I find the constant bobbing up and down from table to food stations completely antisocial. And then there was the incident with my eldest and the chocolate fountain, but let’s not go into that…
Having said that, a lovely long meal with your nearest and dearest is just about the most perfect thing in the world. The hubby and I decided to give it a shot and booked a brunch spot at Jazz @ Pizza Express in JLT. It’s slightly off the beaten track when it comes to brunches, the Jazz @ Pizza Express option is actually a refreshing change from the main hotel players which – as fab as they are – can all be a little bit same same.
Tucked away in JLT’s cluster A, from the outside this place looks like any old high rise glass and concrete building. Step inside and you’re instantly transported to a lively relaxed New York basement. The space isn’t huge which is perfect for families and mamas who aren’t keen onworrying about where their minis have disappeared to constantly – and the décor is urban and friendly (think exposed brick walls, banquette seating and low ceilings). There’s a large open kitchen where pizza chefs are busy stretching, shaping and topping dough and a bar area lit in pastel coloured hues. Oh yes mamas, if you’re not driving and you fancy a glass of something bubbly, this place is licensed – Prosecco and pizza, could there be a better combo?!
The other great thing about brunch here is that the food comes to you, meaning no frantic trips to the buffet so we sat and waited for our starters to arrive. In the mean time, the boys introduced their dinosaur toys (which are flavor of the month and have to come everywhere with us) to the amazing condiments on the table.
A DJ on a low stage blended beats while we got stuck into a plate of Italian Antipasti (including bresaola, olives, smoked salmon and sweet peppers) and the waiters got their groove on. The atmosphere was fun and the room buzzing, mostly with families although there were a few brave souls without kids trying to ignore the shrieking! After starters, a jazz singer took to the mic and I spotted out of the corner of my eye a glassed off area full of toys, balloons and kids having a lot of fun. Hallelujah! My boys were there in a flash and I was assured that the staff (all from Funky Monkeys) would take care of them while they made their own pizzas and painted clay shapes.
The area isn’t huge, but it’s perfect as the kids are in eyesight and – if you ask for a table nearby – they can easily find you for bites of pizza in between their activities. I do have to mention that the kiddie play zone is right next to the smoking area and the smoke does waft on over – not really great . We were also unlucky in that there were a few larger kids who were misusing the play stuff and pushing the littles around, but the restaurant staff were great at dealing with them!
After mixed salads, a couple of pasta options and a variety of pizzas including a beetroot and goats cheese version (really tasty) and good old Margherita for the kids – we sat back and enjoyed the mellow jazz, the kids bringing handmade mementos to the table and just a little time to catch up (so rare for a family meal out right mamas?!).
The Jazz @ Pizza Express brunch is perfect for a lingering family meal with minimum stress – our young diners had an absolute blast and we weren’t having to chase them around vast hotel grounds as with other brunches! If you’re a serious foodie, then this one might not be for you. Don’t expect bells and whistles – the menu isn’t fancy but the pizzas are really good and the prices incredibly reasonable. Topped off with a little light jazz and a fresh, fun vibe and you’ve got a winning family brunch option mama!
Brunch at Jazz @ Pizza Express happens every Friday from Midday to 4pm
AED 189 including unlimited food and house beverages
AED 99 for the non alcoholic package
Kids under 8 eat for free (maximum 2 per family and AED 60 per additional child)
Jazz@ Pizza Express
Cluster A, next to the Movenpick Hotel, JLT
Tel: (+971) 4 441 6342