On the fourth floor of the WTC mall’s licensed sector, The Hub, the cavernous Bu! has a wealth of seating options in its glitzy interior, while it has also just reopened its equally expansive terrace after a summer break. Its Latin American food and drinks speciality isn’t particularly reflected by the decor, which is more intent on mixing glittering fixtures with abstract slogans than anything that makes you imagine you’re in downtown Buenos Aires or Caracas.
Despite the best efforts of a live band putting a hip-swinging Latino twist on pop hits, Bu! was strangely empty when we visited – a large table of late-30-somethings and a smattering of couples couldn’t help but look rather sparse in such a sizeable venue. It didn’t especially detract from the individual experience, however, and the plus side was never waiting for somebody to tend to our table. Our imposing waiter, built more like a doorman, was a pleasing mix of etiquette-ticking service and steely humour.
Plentiful would be an understatement. Buffets begone is Bu!’s brunching modus operandi, with a two-page Fiesta del Sol (Festival of the Sun) menu of nibbles, starters (hot and cold), mains and desserts – with section and dish titles in suitably atmospheric Spanish. While most buffet-bereft brunches tend to go for full à la carte choices, Bu! has decided that more is more and you’re just brought one of absolutely everything on the menu. Which means a whopping 15 dishes in total. Evidently, listing every last one would be a lengthy exercise, and not everything is a hit, but personal highlights included the pulpo tiradito (octopus seasoned with olive oil, garlic, coriander, white vinegar and paprika) and atun picante patacones (a thin disc of spicy tuna atop a fried plantain fritter). My dining partner, meanwhile, loved the pato arepa (doughy pockets filled with duck, tomato and onion). Best of all, however, was the positively planetary-sized pudding platter, with everything from mini churros to a candy-floss-topped lemon cake in one hub-cap-sized dish.
Who’s it best for?
Lovers of Latin American food and vibes. And really super-hungry brunchers.
You won’t go hungry at Bu!’s brunch, although hopefully diner numbers will pick up a bit so you that don’t feel lonely.
The National was a guest of the restaurant.
• Fridays 12.30pm to 4pm. From Dh250 to Dh450 per person, including taxes. The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi. Reservations 02 666 8066.