Review: Vida Urban Picnic Brunch

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We try the picnic brunch at Vida Downtown Dubai

 

DUBAI – The word “picnic” conjures up images of picnic baskets full of goodies, and blankets rolled over green grass. Don’t expect the same in Vida Downtown Dubai’s re-imagined picnic brunch concept.

The urban picnic experience started as soon as my dining partner and I walked down the staircase to the hotel’s dining area where the buffet spread was located. I have to say it’s one of the coolest buffet spreads I have ever seen.

Basically, I can grab any of the picnic baskets in the room and use that to stock up on food I’d like to bring back to the table. Viola, urban picnic! Salad jars and bread baskets add to the cool factor in the food presentation and will make you want to pick up a lot of stuff.

Right next to the landing is the beverages section, with three glass dispensers of mixed beverages, and a big section of bottles of grape and cans of hops that are kept in a refrigerator or in pails of ice. I could see people happily helping themselves to a bottle or two.

Then it’s on to the rest of the buffet, which features a health section with tiny bottles of delicious smoothies (don’t forget to try one) and a massive spread of starters, including a salad section, a cheese section, cold cuts, sandwiches, burgers, desserts and the pizza section where the chef serves your pizza straight from the oven. Servings come in mini sizes, but believe me they’re big in flavour.

House and some pop music from the house DJ keeps everyone’s mood upbeat in the outdoor pool area surrounded by a terrace, which is where most of the cooler crowd prefer to hang out (it’s also closer to the outdoor bar where you can ask the bartender to make you a cool concoction). There isn’t room for boredom here.

There were also guests lounging in the four-poster cabanas near the pool. I was told you can book this spot for a group, with an extra fee of Dh100 per person. They laid out picnic baskets brimming with food and bottles of grape.




My dining partner and I were happy in our corner and made sure we left space for the mains. This part of the buffet is served a la carte on the table. The chef’s spread for the day was composed of juicy grilled rib eye steak served on top of a wooden chopping board. We were also served perfectly seasoned seabass fillet and tiger prawn, a flavourful garlic and rosemary roasted chicken legs and escargot a la bourguignone with sides of French fries, pomme puree, ratatouille and caper and peppercorns. Delicious!

For desserts, it was back to the buffet spread, with plenty of cakes, ice cream, panna cottas and pastries to choose from. I absolutely loved the lemon macaroons, and would have gotten back for a second helping if I weren’t already full.

Service throughout the brunch was unobtrusive, although it flailed a little when the place got extremely busy. But apart from that, the whole brunch experience was enjoyable from start to finish. It might not be a picnic in the park, but it’s my kind of picnic on a laid-back Friday.


What: Vida Urban Picnic Brunch
Where: Vida Downtown Dubai
When: Every Friday
Price: Dh295 per person including soft beverages and Dh345 per person including selected house beverages
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