It's no secret that Dubai residents love their brunches. But those looking to add extra zing to a Friday or Saturday afternoon (or, indeed, a Thursday evening) can opt for a themed version. From re-enacting scenes from a film to channelling your inner Bowie, a meal has never been so entertaining. Here are some to try.
1. Alice in Wonderland brunch, Olea
The all-day dining restaurant in Kempinski Mall of the Emirates has launched a Friday feast for the whole family. The Alice in Wonderland brunch will feature an international spread, including cute desserts inspired by the beloved novel, plus themed decor. Alice herself will make an appearance, for a dedicated story-time slot to read and entertain children in a room with a theatre-like set-up complete with a mini stage, followed by a meet-and-greet with families.
Friday, 1pm to 4pm; Dh249 for soft drinks and Dh325 for house beverages; Dh199 for children between 6 and 12, children under 5 eat for free; 04 409 5111; www.kempinski.com/dubai
2. Bull of Wall Street brunch, Bull & Bear
New York-inspired restaurant Bull & Bear located in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in DIFC has named its debut brunch The Bull of Wall Street. Boasting a 1980s ambience and paying homage to the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, this themed brunch gives guests a chance to channel their inner Leonardo DiCaprio or Margot Robbie as they enjoy an occasion "fit for Dubai's weekend millionaires".
Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a gold bull and bear sculpture, symbolic of the Charging Bull statue outside the New York Stock Exchange. A band will play favourites from the 1980s and 1990s, while money guns will make it rain cash. On the menu are dishes such as Wagyu beef tartare, beef Rossini and Palamos octopus. For dessert, guests can tuck into The Big Apple, with walnut crumble and apple sorbet.
Friday, 1pm to 5pm; Dh290 for soft drinks or Dh450 for select house beverages; 04 515 9888; firstname.lastname@example.org
3. The '90s Forever brunch, Farriers
Those who have had enough of the year 2020 and are looking to turn back the clock can transport themselves to a whole new era. Meydan Hotel at Nad Al Sheba has a ‘90s Forever brunch at its Farriers restaurant, overlooking the Meydan Racecourse.
Guests can start the weekend retro-style with nostalgic hits. The Thursday evening brunch also includes a photo booth with themed props. On the menu are slow-cooked brisket, Texas-style sandwiches and more.
Thursday, 7pm to 10pm; Dh149 for soft beverages and Dh249 for house beverages; 04 381 3333; email@example.com
4. Picnic brunch, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
Is an al fresco dining experience on your radar now that the weather is getting cooler? If so, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa has a family affair that is reminiscent of a classic afternoon picnic. Diners can sit on wooden benches or picnic blankets and take in the lush green surroundings, as the aroma of live cooking stations preparing barbecued treats and pasta wafts through the desert breeze.
Friday and Saturday, 1pm to 4pm; Dh225 (for soft beverages); children between 6 and 12 get a 50 per cent discount and those under 5 dine for free; 04 809 6100; www.babalshams.com
5. Rock 'n Roll affair, Perry & Blackwelder's
Moonwalk your way into the weekend with this brunch at the Dubai smokehouse in Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Perry & Blackwelder's has introduced a Rock 'n' Roll Friday brunch featuring fancy-dress competitions, live entertainment playing tunes by David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, and face painting to complete that rockster persona, while air guitar enthusiasts who can make the crowd go wild will be crowned "air guitar hero" and win two free brunch vouchers.
Guests will be treated to an unlimited menu of starters, including P&B's popular chicken wings and Texas BBQ nachos. For the main act, a Blackwelder's smokey platter features smoked beef short ribs, cheeseburger sliders, pulled brisket sliders, hot dogs, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and sides.
Three hours between noon to 6pm, Friday; Dh199 for soft drinks and Dh299 for house beverages; 800 666 353; firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Opera-themed brunch, Palazzo Versace Hotel
If you are looking for an upscale brunch, one of Dubai's most extravagant hotels may have just the ticket. The Secret Italiano brunch at Vanitas at Palazzo Versace has an opera-themed spread for discerning diners. Brunch-goers can expect to find Dubai opera singer Joseph Terterian joined by an electric violinist, playing everything from classical opera favourites to modern party tunes.
The menu is a four-course Italian meal, including dishes such as seafood arancini, roasted beef tenderloin and pan-seared sea bass, plus a beef carpaccio station with black truffle. If you are tempted to turn the brunch into a staycation, an upgrade is available for Dh350.
Friday, 1pm to 4pm; Dh345 for soft drinks and Dh445 for house drinks; 04 556 8888; www.secret-parties.com
7. Secret Jungle Brunch, Mama Zonia
Those looking to unleash their wild side could take a trip down to the Amazonian-themed restaurant in Pier 7, Dubai Marina. The lush decor will transport you right to the heart of a rainforest, while a DJ and live entertainment (including the odd dancing animal) add to the fun.
The menu offers cold and hot sharing platters, with dishes such as maki rolls, tuna ceviche and duck gyoza.
Friday, 1pm to 4.30pm; Dh299 for soft drinks, Dh399 for house beverages, Dh499 for the sparkling package; 04 240 4747;www.secret-parties.com