Friday brunch at: Loca, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Courtesy Loca
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The location

At the tip of The Galleria mall nearest to the Four Seasons hotel, Loca has soothing views across the water to Le Méridien, and downtown Abu Dhabi beyond it, via its homely terrace. Given that the Mexican restaurant is run by the group behind Abu Dhabi staples Sho Cho and Flooka, both of which are outlets where terraces are king, it clearly comes with some experience in the field. Inside, which is also host to live music during approximately half of the brunch, isn’t quite as airy, hence most brunchers were to be found either outside of in the shaded first row of tables next to the terrace during our visit.

The atmosphere

Things were just upbeat enough to avoid the whole event becoming so chilled-out that you could have a siesta and nobody would notice.

The food

All designed for sharing, delivered to your table and, you might not be entirely shocked to learn, exclusively Mexican-centred. It begins with table-mashed guacamole and tortillas, then graduates onto egg-heavy, breakfast-based items (the huervos rancheros was the personal pick of the quartet, which are served as a set menu), plus construct-them-yourself hard- or soft-shell tacos. The four mains choices are chiefly hearty and heavy in the best traditions of Mexican cuisine. The highlight proved to be the chunky burrito, satisfyingly drenched in ranchero sauce. A generous slice of bedel tres leches – an ultra-moist traditional three-milk cake – completed the journey.

Who’s it best for?

Brunchers who want to eschew the norm and prefer not to drop more money than many people earn in a day on three to four hours of generic buffets.

The verdict

Don’t be confused by the meaning of Loca’s Spanish name: there’s nothing remotely crazy about this brunch deal, which at Dh270 per person for five whole hours, has to rate as one of the best value-for-money – yet high-quality – efforts in the capital.

The National was a guest of the restaurant.

• Fridays noon to 5pm, Dh270, Loca, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Reservations 02 582 3639