Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s Sambusek launches set brunch

The cold mezzeh, one of the four courses in the Fan Labnan set brunch at Sambusek, the Lebanese restaurant at Rosewood Abu Dhabi. (Christine Iyer / The National)
The cold mezzeh, one of the four courses in the Fan Labnan set brunch at Sambusek, the Lebanese restaurant at Rosewood Abu Dhabi. (Christine Iyer / The National)

Cold mezzeh, hot mezzeh, main courses, desserts. Who needs a buffet when a set brunch can be so delicious and satisfying?

Head down to Sambusek, the Lebanese restaurant at Rosewood Abu Dhabi (it’s on Al Maryah Island), and try the Fan Lubnan, a lunch spread that claims to be a “set menu”. But the never-ending stream of dishes brought to the table belie this description – it easily is one of the capital’s most lavish Lebanese spreads.

The cold mezzeh comprises nearly a dozen items: mixed pickles; impossibly creamy hummus; tahini, aubergine mutabbal; three salads — fattouch, tabbouleh and olive; baba ghanoug; moudardara; kebbeh nayeh; and my favourite – perfectly moulded cheese shanklish, deliciously light and crumbly. On the side was a large basket of hot, puffy, golden Lebanese bread that was topped up as the afternoon wore on.

Next up: the hot mezzeh, a veritable mini-menu in itself – sambusek full of melting cheese; spinach fatayer; potato harra, redolent with fresh coriander leaves; and what easily was the star of the show – chunks of chicken liver in a rich, dark pomegranate sauce and flecked with the fruit’s jewel-like seeds.

But the main course was yet to come, and I distinctly heard one of my dining companions moan softly. Wisely, we decided on a 20-minute reprieve from stuffing ourselves and sat quietly, lost in our food-induced comas and staring out over the glittering water and hazy skyline.

Then we bravely signed to the waiters and they hurried to our table with a mixed grill platter – shish tawook, lamb chops and kofta kebab, served with garlic sauce and grilled tomatoes and onions – and a plate of samki harra, flaky fish in a mildly spiced sauce.

Dessert was equally arresting – a saucer of mixed bakhlawa, a large dish of fruit, and melt-in-your-mouth mounds of hallawa bill jebel.

Also to be enjoyed: the great views over the water, the softly playing Arabic music and the unobtrusive service – all in a mellow, stylish setting.

Sambusek’s Fan Lubnan brunch (noon to 3pm) costs from Dh199 per person, including soft drinks (taxes extra). Call 02 813 5550 to book.

Published: May 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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