Brilliant brunch

Fazaris's Friday brunch has everything you would expect but the great dishes that go beyond your expectations are what make it so special.

Mango cream is one of the dessert selections at Fazaris.
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Perhaps it was written in the stars that an all-day dining restaurant named after the Iranian philosopher, mathematician and astronomer Muhammed al Fazari would eventually launch a Friday brunch. After all, every other all-day dining restaurant in every other five-star hotel has one. But what wasn't quite so obvious, as I discovered on my recent visit, is the attention to detail given to some of the Arabic dishes available at the predictably lavish spread. While most Friday brunch offerings merely pay lip-service to Arabic cuisine, Fazaris attempts to recreate authentic Arabic recipes with an impressive degree of precision and imagination.

Perhaps a token stab at accuracy is all we've come to expect from most brunches. Maybe we've become inured to the mundane too-many-bases-to-cover international buffet-style food that typifies the majority of brunches to notice anything different. But while Fazaris still trots out the inevitably tired sushi and freshly baked pizzas, there's an emphasis on getting things right. Take the seafood station as an example. The selection of lobster, crab, langoustine and green lip mussels is impressive. But the Fine de Claire oysters are huge and freshly shucked before your very eyes - none of those shrivelled, deflated, apologetic pre-shucked molluscs here - and they are served with Chester bread. You could really get your money's worth by eating exclusively from the seafood station, but then you might miss out on some other gems.

Following my admittedly self-prolonged seafood adventure, I plotted a course that took me to the salads, where I found some excellent mohammara, a spicy crushed walnut and chilli dip that was as good as any I have tasted in any of Dubai's Lebanese restaurants. Just because I could, I heaped lashings of it onto crusty farmhouse multi-grain bread which I'd also spread thick with creamy foie gras, producing an interesting, if unconventional, blend of flavours. I also chose some room-temperature Brie from a well-stocked cheese selection. Then it was time for a tour along the cooking stations, from the south Asian selection (a spicy Goan fish curry with tamarind and coconut being the highlight) to the "western" cooking station, where several hunks of meat were being carved with precision, as per guests' instructions. But following the impressive mohammara, I advanced towards the Arabic section with curiosity and determination.

It was there that I happened upon the kousa mihshi, which is a Levantine dish of courgettes stuffed with minced meat and rice, simmered to a state of yielding softness in a sauce of tomatoes, onions and temperate spices. It was brilliantly executed, as was the dajaj makloubeh, a Palestinian stew of chicken, diced aubergines and basmati rice. Also worth a mention was the samak bil furon, with delicate chunks of hammour in a creamy tahini sauce, which was another surprising addition to the requisite grilled meats, goat ouzi and shawarma that I'd expect to find at most Friday brunches.

At Dh350 a head, the brunch isn't cheap. Yet, there's no doubting the quality of ingredients (I'm thinking about the seafood station again) and the careful approach applied to authenticity. Then there's the setting. The restaurant interior may be wholly uninspiring and instantly forgettable, but the outdoor terrace boasts a pleasant green environment full of trickling fountains and birdsong, not to mention a mightily impressive view on which to savour dessert. Fazaris's home is The Address hotel, which at 306m and 63 storeys high, crouches like a Lego model in the shadow of the megalithic Burj Dubai across Business Bay. Book early, request the table nearest the world's tallest building, and think what Muhammed al Fazari would make of the latest attempt in the Middle East to reach for the stars.

The Address, Downtown Burj Dubai, 04 436 8888. The Friday brunch runs from 12.00-4.00pm. Average cost: Dh350 per person.