Review: Caramel brunch at St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Truffled Penne Pasta at Caramel Restaurant & Lounge in The Collection, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Courtesy Caramel Restaurant & Lounge
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Saturday brunch at Caramel in The Collection, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, is an extremely low-key affair in plush surroundings - there’s no sign of hungry diners clanking plates around food stations or children stampeding towards chocolate fountains.

Instead, after you’ve had a look at the menu and indicated your choices, the various courses are brought to your table while you sit back and enjoy your drink - and your afternoon - in peace.

Among the cold appetisers, the standouts are the tuna carpaccio, deliciously enhanced with a dash of truffle essence, and creamy crab tacos, a surprisingly light version of what otherwise is a filling snack.

There are hot appetisers, too - wagyu beef kebabs, mushroom and spinach arancini balls (decadent, deep-fried risotto balls), and succulent chicken wings drenched in a mysterious ‘spicy sauce’ (which tastes a lot like tandoori masala).

The main courses, when they arrive, are small portions of yogurt-marinated oven-roasted baby chicken (tender and cooked just right) and Scottish salmon fingers (ever-so-slightly dry), and they are served with interesting sides: mac and cheese popcorn - large, crispy, oozing roundels that are as rich as the risotto balls but twice as addictive; and a slightly cloying spinach yogurt. (For a heavier, coma-inducing lunch, opt for the wagyu beef strips or the penne pasta instead.)

Remember to leave room for the desserts: choose from raspberry cheesecake, mango sorbet and vanilla ice cream, coffee brûlée or cappuccino ice cream. The servings might be tiny but they are not to be missed, especially the creme brûlée with banana and caramel topping, which is best paired with an espresso: the perfect end to a glorious afternoon.

• Saturday brunch at Caramel costs from Dh149 per person, including soft drinks. From 12pm-3pm. Call 02 678 3344